Friday, April 10, 2009

Flash experiments

UGH this was HARD. I don't even understand half the "basic instructions" in the manual!
So I set up my SB-600 on my D80 and the manual said to use program mode. Well, I did, but it wouldn't let me adjust ss or aperture at all. The viewfinder said it would be underexposed and it was:

This was taken with the flash pointed directly at the stuffed penguin. It wouldn't take a shot at all when I angled the flash up to bounce off the ceiling!
So I decided to ditch the owner's manual and see what would happen when I went to manual mode.
The first shot, with the flash again pointed directly at the penguin, turned out OK.

But when I tried to angle the flash up to bounce, it wouldn't do a thing. So I decided to switch to a different lens. I had been using my zoom at 55mm, but the aperture on that lens doesn't get too wide. My 50mm 1.8 did better. This is with the flash straight on, I think it is a bit overexposed, though I was able to get it centered in the viewfinder. Any idea why?

And with this lens I was able to experiment with angling the flash up to bounce off the ceiling and not look so overexposed:
90 degrees (straight up)

75 degrees

60 degrees

45 degrees

I don't see a whole lot of difference, just some slight deepening of the shadows in the blanket on the left side of the picture as the angle increases.
And finally, I tried bouncing left and right. I didn't have much of a good reflective surface to bounce from on either side, but I gave it a shot. Both are at 45 degrees:

A bit more difference here as you can see the shadows switch sides.
I need to try this on a human model. I'll see if I can talk one of my kids into cooperating tomorrow.
Some questions if anyone has tips:
1. Why would the owner's manual recommed program mode? I've never used it for anything, ever. Maybe I'm just clueless, but why would I be locked out of changing aperture and SS in program mode?
2. I couldn't get the flash to bounce behind me, yet I hear people talking about that all the time. Is that done with the flash remotely? Or do I just have a model of flash that won't do that?
3. Any good, easy to understand web sites on using this flash?
As for a shot of the week, I've been a slacker. I even went to a conference at a beautiful historic resort in the mountains, took all my equipment, and didn't take a SINGLE SHOT! It was cold with freezing rain so I holed up in my room, ate junk food and watched TV with my coworker instead.
So I'll post a few pictures of the same resort I took with my film camera a few years ago. They are among the first roll of film I ever shot on an SLR:






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