Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘speedlight

Shiba Royalty

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The Legion of Honor seemed like a fitting place to take Suki’s next image for my 52 week project. I attempted to post one of the images I made from this shoot to Flickr, but ran into a strange problem. Nearly an hour after uploading the photo, the image wouldn’t appear in my contacts’ home pages. I discovered this after noticing the unusually low amount of traffic on the photo after uploading it. After re-uploading the image a few times with no success, I gave up for the night. Maybe the issue will be resolved later and I can proceed as normal. Until then I’m holding off on uploading anything to Flickr.

You wouldn’t know it from this photo, but there were actually a lot of people standing around us during this shoot. Suki drew the attention of a lot of people, who crowded around and watched me photograph her. She’s quite the popular dog!

Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 + SB-900 cam left, SB-800 on camera

Click here for the final version of the photo for my 52 week project!

Josh Visits SF!

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC + Hand Held SB-900 // 17mm f/14 ISO200 1/800 Second

I enjoyed a four day weekend for once this week, and got to spend time with my cousin, who flew in with friends from New York. We had a great time touring them around the city and taking lots of pictures, many of which are still sitting in my computer waiting to be processed! Now that I’m back at work I have so little time. The above picture is Josh on top of Twin Peaks, sporting a D90 and the original Tamron 17-50 that I sold him. It was great to get together and talk cameras, as I don’t have any other close buddies who are into photography!

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-150mm f/2.8 at 50mm f/4  ISO200 1/250 second

Here’s Josh with his two buddies from NY (left) as well as other family members (right), enjoying a break from the frigid weather on the east coast. What’s up with the lollipops? They’re included with every sandwich you order from Ike’s Place, one of my favorite sandwich shops in SF. I have lots more images to upload, but it’ll have to wait. Josh is still in town!

I’ve added these images to my Portfolio. Check it out!

Suki’s Night Walks

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I take Suki on shorter walks during lunch, but we usually go for longer strolls at night. This particular walk was a little more difficult for me because I was hauling some camera gear on my shoulder while out on the town, but I wanted to get a nice night shot of Suki for my 52 week Flickr project. The image above didn’t quite make the cut as my selection for week 3 of the project.  I really like this shot of her, but the fact that it’s ever-so-slightly front-focused bothers me.

Someone on Flickr asked me if I took my latest shot of her using available city light. I was glad he asked, because that’s exactly how I wanted it to look! At this spot, there wasn’t nearly enough ambient to get this kind of image, so I used a couple of carefully placed, gelled speedlights to help me out.

At times I hear photographers complain that they don’t like the look of flash and and so they shy away from using it. I say they’re missing out! Perhaps when they’re referring to “the look of flash,” they mean the harsh, bare, unflattering light that comes straight from camera axis. But “artificial” light can be modified: softened, directed, colored, and controlled to achieve a desired look. Using it creatively opens up endless photographic opportunities that simply wouldn’t be possible by relying solely on the sun or the crummy light radiating from a street lamp.

So get to know your flash! It can take your photography to the next level.

Dealing with “Quick Blinkers”

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Oops! Blinked!

One thing I’ve noticed in photographing Suki using flash: She’s a quick blinker! She has her eyes closed in countless photos I’ve taken of her using my speedlights. On one recent evening I was trying to get a shot of her face using an off-camera strobe, and her eyes were closed up in every single shot. What to do?

When using Nikon’s speedlights in i-TTL mode, whether hot-shoe’d to the camera or fired off-camera through Nikon CLS, the flash will fire a monitor pre-flash when the shutter button is pressed. The camera uses this pre-flash to analyze things like color and reflectance on the subject, and based on what it sees through the lens, it will then send instructions wirelessly to the off-camera speedlight(s) on how it should fire during the exposure.

If your subject is a quick blinker, however, these pre-flashes can pose a problem for you. If he/she blinks in reaction to the pre-exposure flash, their eyes could still be closed during the actual exposure! This is where FV lock can be handy.

FV lock, or Flash Value lock, allows you to initiate the monitor pre-flash yourself, separate from the entire exposure sequence. I have this feature assigned to one of the programmable buttons on my D300s. I simply frame the shot, hit the button, and the flash fires while the camera’s meter reads the scene. Suki blinks, but it doesn’t matter, because I haven’t taken the picture yet. I’ve just let the camera decide what it’s going to do with the remote flash. Now when I hit the shutter button, the camera skips firing the monitor pre-flash and uses the data it already collected from using FV lock to command the remote flash to fire. I can now get light on Suki before she has a chance to blink!

Problem Solved!   –   Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8  -

Once activated, FV lock will lock in the determined flash exposure value in the camera until you either power-off the camera, activate FV lock again, or allow the camera’s meter to shut off.