ArminH's blog

Where using a flash can be a good idea

posted by ArminH, Jan 6, 2006 5:22 PM — 2 comments

Years ago in high school I did some shorts of small fish, crill and algues with back lighting that gave a nice translucent image. That again proved to be a good source for some very nice texture or background shots.

See for yourself: Crystal Shot

Scallop Shell

Here's the How-To:

You need a high-power flash, the tiny integrated ones may not produce enough lighting if the material is thicker. If you don't have a flash, try a very bright light or just use your video-beamer and a black thick paper shield with a hole about an inch wide.

Put the light source (in case of a flash with an off-camera shoe with at least two feet of cable) behind the object. Ideal objects are large crystals, shells (very nice), thick and dark handmade glass with all the tiny distortions and so on.

Now use a macro lens, use the aperture setting mode of you camera and go for a high value (I use normally at least 8).
If your camera uses an automatic mode, the images may be a little too dark, if you have a thin object, because the cameras usually try to 'normalize' exposure times for the standard grey value. If your camera allows bracketing, this is a good time to try this function. Otherwise, check the first shot and and use longer exposure times, if necessary. Do not give up aperture value for a short exposure time, these shots definitely require a tripod.

Many object, if seen backlighted and in macro mode, provide a whole new appearance for the viewer. Have fun!

Comments | RSS

1. posted by slonecker, Jan 12, 2006 6:01 PM

If you can find one at your loca library, try to get a book on flash photography by Dean Collins. One of his many specialties was using a single flash with various arrangements of reflectors and diffusers to achieve results that have to be seen to be believed.

I was fortunate to know him as a client who asked for my help regarding copyright. Candidly, we spent half of our sessions talking about photography in general.

2. posted by eSheep, Jan 12, 2006 10:30 PM

You can read further information about using flash at h_photography_tips.htm

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