Tonight is my last night of my photography class, and I still need to post last week's finished assignment. Last Thursday, we turned in the dreaded flash assignment. Ideally, everyone would've had a shoe mount flash for this, but I think only one or two people have one (not me). I have a thirty or forty year old shoe mount flash that I used to use with my thirty or forty year old Pentax 35mm SLR, but I had no intention of figuring out whether this would be compatible with my digital SLR. My teacher recommended that I do the assignment with the camera on a tripod while holding the flash in my hand. That way, I could manually set off both without buying anything new or resorting to the on-board flash.
Problem: I found my old flash, but it didn't have a button to shoot it off manually--it has to be connected to a camera to work. Luckily, my father-in-law dug through his old camera stuff and he found his old flash which works with or without attachment to a camera. Halloween fell on the day before the assignment was due, so I used Halloween stuff as my subjects.
The trick (no pun intended) that I really wanted to try is called "pulling the flash." Here, you set the camera on a tripod, select a long shutter speed (1+ seconds), and then set off the flash while the shutter is open. The result is plenty of ambient light plus the effect of the flash. If your subject is moving (apparently, this is a cool trick to use at weddings), then your image records the movement along with both types of light. I wish I had an example to show you, but I don't: I went with stationary subjects AND I forgot to bring my (mom's) tripod with me last Wednesday, so everything is blurry because my shutter is so long. I really, really wish I had tortured my friends into moving/posing for me at Cristin and Sean's Halloween party the weekend prior. Oh well. Our teacher was like, "You're all gonna hate most of what you shoot, so just bring whatever you have because each shot will teach us something about technique." These are definitely the least thoughtful images I've turned in so far.
You may remember this classy holiday entree from last year:
Don't they look electrified with the flash? The tin foil does most of the work here.
Alas, I really needed my tripod for these. Most of my shutter speeds were between 1 and 1.8 seconds.
I hand-held the camera and Ron would set off the flash for the following:
For the side bounce, Ron held a glossy, white magazine cover against his chest and angled the flash up at the cover. The flash bounced off the cover and onto the mantle. There's a lot of extra light, but it's much softer:
For the overhead flash, Ron angled the flash at the matte white ceiling, and the light bounced off the ceiling down onto the mantle. I think this one turned out best:
Another student in the class only had her on-board flash, so she used various "filters" to create different effects. One shot had a purply glow after she covered the flash with a gauzy coral scarf. Another had a blue glow from using sheer blue fabric to cover the flash. She even used an onion skin to achieve a pinky-red effect in another shot. I thought it was the most creative thinking in the whole class.
Tonight I have to turn in my last assignment: an "abstract body part" (yeah, I guess that could get really freaky if you think about it the wrong way), and a rural landscape. Seven weeks went fast. Really fast.