Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Camera Flash = Good Picture? Really?


Looks like a pretty good shot, no? Pretty nice light, certainly not at all harsh. A fairly hard shadow underneath noses and chins but nothing too crazy. It doesn't seem like something that could be done with on camera flash but it was.

It was our last night of our Okanagan camping vacation and Jen and I were enjoying an absolutely beautiful late summer evening down by the lake. The sun was setting and the light was incredible. I never seem to remember just how quickly a sunset fades until I'm trying to make a picture. Sunset's move fast. Really fast. I set up my gear as fast as I could but I almost entirely missed the amazing red light that was washing over the sand and the water.

The set up for the shot was really simple. Camera on a tripod with a 580EX II flash in the hot shoe. PocketWizard with a shutter release cable connected to the camera and a PocketWizard in my hand. Focus on Jen, tell her not to move and switch the camera to manual focus. Adjust the exposure, take a few test shots and then step in to the picture and push the button on the PocketWizard in my hand.

My secret ingredient for better light with on camera flash? The Lastolite Ezybox Speed-lite. This little puppy is very well constructed (like most everything Lastolite) and it pumps out really good light. Even when you punch the light straight at your subject like I did, it still manages to make it look like you didn't. And, because it's small, it takes up next to no room in your pack and you can use it for even more exciting stuff like the shot below.


The Ezybox Speed-Lite comes with two layers of diffusion to make the light extra creamy. In most cases, including the shot at the top, I only used the outer most diffusion layer. I did so to put less stress on my flash as I was shooting at f/8 and I had a 1/4 CTO gel on the flash head, which also eats about 1/2 stop of light.

The Ezybox Speed-Lite has become my favourite, new light modifier. Check it out and keep shooting.

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