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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Apr 2008 (Wednesday) 07:32
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Flash Learning Experience

 
Karl ­ C
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Apr 02, 2008 07:32 |  #1

Last night, I did some shots for a local club, in a well-lit gym, which necessitated the use of flash. Due to the previous week's shots with the flash and the underexposed shots, I thought increasing the FEC (up to +2) and using the ETTL distance indicator on the 580 would help correct the problems. My settings were f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 400. Guess I went too far because they all came out bad - lots of overexposure in the foreground. One group shot necessitated a lot of work in PS, made worse since I shot only in JPG (normally shoot RAW).

I won't post any of the shots here as I'm extremely embarrassed with the end result, made worse by what I saw again this morning after the shot was distributed to the club.

Flash requires a lot more experience to nail correctly. A lot more can go wrong and definitely takes a lot more practice. What's worse is I was trying to evenly provide flash throughout the frame. It's readily apparent I sorely lack a lot of experience with flash.

My recent adventures with the camera have been a struggle, at best. I always preach "practice, practice, practice"; sometimes, I fail to heed my own advice.

Frustrating...


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bbulldog
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Apr 02, 2008 07:55 |  #2

which brings up the subject of any tutorials on the use of flash??


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gooble
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Apr 02, 2008 08:14 |  #3

If the gym was well-lit then you probably wouldn't need +FEC.

What +1 FEC will do is flash one stop brighter than the ambient light you've exposed for.




  
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PhotosGuy
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Apr 02, 2008 08:46 |  #4

I always preach "practice, practice, practice";

If you practice the same thing over & over, then nothing will change? ;) If you put the cam & flash on manual & standardize on a given distance, like 8', then you can zoom in/out to frame & you know what you will get because the light won't change.
If you have to shoot at a greater distance, there's only one stop difference in light output at 11', & one stop more difference in light output at 16'. Why?
Take a look at this: Fill light at sunset


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Karl ­ C
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Apr 02, 2008 11:01 |  #5

PhotosGuy wrote in post #5244464 (external link)
If you practice the same thing over & over, then nothing will change? ;) If you put the cam & flash on manual & standardize on a given distance, like 8', then you can zoom in/out to frame & you know what you will get because the light won't change.
If you have to shoot at a greater distance, there's only one stop difference in light output at 11', & one stop more difference in light output at 16'. Why?
Take a look at this: Fill light at sunset

Thanks for the info and link, Frank. I'm admittedly undereducated when it comes to flash and was expecting myself to know more or produce better results.

One question I do have, how do you prevent too much foreground flash (washout) when attempting to provide flash at 10-20'? Or in other words, the people are at a multitude of different distances and I want flash consistency throughout the frame.

As an aside, I have thumbed through the EOS Flash Bible. Guess I need thumb more.


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PhotosGuy
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Apr 03, 2008 11:03 |  #6

One question I do have, how do you prevent too much foreground flash (washout)

At some events, you just can't which is why I suggest you test at 8' which is a more reasonable distance. Sometimes, 5.6' is the best you can do.
OTOH, with less light fall off at greater distances, the difference between closer & farther aren't as big, so RAW & PS will allow a lot of clean up.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
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AndreaBFS
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Apr 03, 2008 19:57 |  #7

bbulldog wrote in post #5244258 (external link)
which brings up the subject of any tutorials on the use of flash??

Someone posted this site a while back and it has been extremely helpful for me.

http://planetneil.com …tegory/flash-photography/ (external link)




  
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Wilt
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Apr 03, 2008 21:21 |  #8

gooble wrote in post #5244334 (external link)
If the gym was well-lit then you probably wouldn't need +FEC.

What +1 FEC will do is flash one stop brighter than the ambient light you've exposed for.

That is what one would expect to be true. But many have found that the way to overcome the chronic ETTL underexposure of flash as a main source of illumination is to set FEC +1 or +2/3 EV


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lungdoc
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Apr 03, 2008 22:33 |  #9

I suspect your basic settings also were low for the ambient light - remember flash is two exposures one of "background" set by your ISO, SS and aperture settings and one of the flash exposure - set by flash output determined by ETTL. Inside at ISO 400, 1/250 and 5.6 you will be get a very dark background and flash will give all the light. In trying to light your distant subject you are blowing out the close stuff. Flash itself will stop the action (as long as background is relatively underexposed say at -2), so you could easily go to a slower shutter speed. Consider bouncing the flash where possible, amazing what these flash units can bounce off of especially if you up the ISO a bit, will usually eliminate the foreground issues.

I don't personally recommend putting the flash on manual for most situations, the camera on manual - definitely unless you KNOW you only want fill flash in which case AV works pretty well.


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Karl ­ C
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Apr 03, 2008 23:45 |  #10

PhotosGuy wrote in post #5252216 (external link)
At some events, you just can't which is why I suggest you test at 8' which is a more reasonable distance. Sometimes, 5.6' is the best you can do.
OTOH, with less light fall off at greater distances, the difference between closer & farther aren't as big, so RAW & PS will allow a lot of clean up.

Thanks, Frank. I'll have to experiment with that. Also, next time, I'll shot in RAW; not JPEG. I did JPEG because it's for the club and they aren't looking for perfection - just shots of the team doing their thing. Of course, I'm looking for perfection. ;)

Wilt wrote in post #5255603 (external link)
That is what one would expect to be true. But many have found that the way to overcome the chronic ETTL underexposure of flash as a main source of illumination is to set FEC +1 or +2/3 EV

When I shot with my Canon AE-1P, I always had to dial in -1/3 EC to compensate for the camera meter being off. Also, due to chimping the previous week and finding out all the shots were underexposed, I went overboard with the FEC.

lungdoc wrote in post #5256012 (external link)
I suspect your basic settings also were low for the ambient light - remember flash is two exposures one of "background" set by your ISO, SS and aperture settings and one of the flash exposure - set by flash output determined by ETTL. Inside at ISO 400, 1/250 and 5.6 you will be get a very dark background and flash will give all the light. In trying to light your distant subject you are blowing out the close stuff. Flash itself will stop the action (as long as background is relatively underexposed say at -2), so you could easily go to a slower shutter speed. Consider bouncing the flash where possible, amazing what these flash units can bounce off of especially if you up the ISO a bit, will usually eliminate the foreground issues.

I don't personally recommend putting the flash on manual for most situations, the camera on manual - definitely unless you KNOW you only want fill flash in which case AV works pretty well.

Those settings were something I picked-up from different posts here. So, I probably was going about it wrong. I tried shooting at f/4, 1/125, ISO 400 but for some idiotic reason, I didn't feel comfortable with that. Probably because the previous week when I was shooting the club in pool practice, the shots when chimped looked good but were underexposed in PP. So, I was overcompensating.

Again, lack of knowledge and experience. Damn. :lol:

I'm not sure how much bouncing would work given the gym ceiling was 35' high. Even the ceiling in the pool was 15' so I just left the flash head facing forward in the 90 degree position.

Right or wrong, I'm holding myself to a standard and expectation that's probably invalid, given my undereducation with flash. I think, "flash should be somewhat easy to manage" only to discover otherwise.

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback and tips. I'll keep practicing. Shooting in ambient light, even if it's low-light, sure seems easier.


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Gipetto
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Apr 03, 2008 23:59 |  #11

PhotosGuy wrote in post #5244464 (external link)
If you practice the same thing over & over, then nothing will change? ;) If you put the cam & flash on manual & standardize on a given distance, like 8', then you can zoom in/out to frame & you know what you will get because the light won't change.
If you have to shoot at a greater distance, there's only one stop difference in light output at 11', & one stop more difference in light output at 16'. Why?
Take a look at this: Fill light at sunset

Good stuff.
Pay no mind if you feel me following you around the forums a bit... I just keep running across your posts answering questions are sparking memory of past experience.


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lungdoc
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Apr 04, 2008 09:38 |  #12

I think you'll find a 580 EX can bounce off a high ceiling with surprising efficacy, especially with higher ISO's - if I understand this table http://www.night-ray.com/PhotoCheatShee​t.pdf (external link) correctly you could be 187 feet away at ISO 800 f2.8 fo example and light with the flash - would need to allow for distance up and back from the ceiling.


Mark
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