/ They call him Flash

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The Lemming - on 31 Oct 2011
I've got this idea of getting a Flash for my camera as a Christmas present, but I don't have the first idea about camera flashes in general and would very much appreciate any help and advice on this subject.

The flash will be for a Nikon D5000.

All help will be much appreciated.

Cheers
Fraser on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

He, I was about to post a very similar question, for the very same camera, so I look forward to seeing how this one pans out.

My query was going to be about off-camera flash though (ideally wireless), so any suggestions on that score would be appreciated.
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

There is a lot to learn about fill-in flash, how to bounce flash, and how to (in effect) use a double exposure by leaving the shutter open to superimpose a second exposure using the ambient light. This is a fantastically useful technique for taking very natural looking portraits indoors, e.g at night, when you can freeze the exposure of the faces (i.e cut out head movement) with a bright flash that lasts about 1/2500 second, and then leave the shutter open for about 1/4 tp 1/2 second to 'burn' in the 'house' lights, and general ambient glow/colour temperature. Refer to text books. Far too complicated to explain fully here.
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

If you're going to use off-camera flash there's a lot to learn about lighting. You can do a lot with one flashlight on a stand with a 'brolly' typically bounced off the wall and ceiling, but typically you'll need at least another flashlight to provide a key light. Depends on the nature of the shot.
The Lemming - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I understand that there can and will be a large learning curve for what at first looks like a simple process which is why I've shyed away from buying a flash.

But Christmas is coming and I thought that I would take the plunge. Not only is this a complex subject, for me, but there seems to be a large variety of flashes to consider.
murdster on 31 Oct 2011 - cpc7-gate9-2-0-cust289.gate.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to The Lemming:

Gordon's making it sound a bit elitist.

Just get yourself a flash, bang it on the camera, take some photos and enjoy.
The camera will worry about the exposure.
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

Absolutely right. It's one of the few areas of photography (like camera movements/tilt-shift photography) where there is quite a lot to learn technically. The whole point about flash is to avoid making the picture look like it was take with flash, and to get you out of many of the problems of very low light in general. It's particularly useful/ more or less indispensable with old-fashioned film stocks but, even with digital photography, which can handle very low light spectacularly well, it will enhance the results no end.
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to murdster:

Hang on! The Lemming asked about off-camera flash.
ChrisJD on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Fraser:

I posted this on a recent post:

---------------

I'm having great fun learning off camera flash with this:

http://tinyurl.com/3wgppd5

All manual flash (much more fun)


Couple of these:

http://tinyurl.com/43589py

http://tinyurl.com/3k2chp8


Already had one Canon Flash, so bought one of these as a second unit (manual flash):

http://tinyurl.com/3gqkeqe

Very cheap set up (all that for 85!) and great results.
a lakeland climber on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

In addition to what Gordon has said, I'd get hold of a book called "Light - Science and Magic" which goes in to how light works in photographic situations and how to get it to work for you.

As far as kit goes - if you are wanting to do off-camera flash then you have two options.

1. Go the official kit route - expensive but it's designed to work together. For Nikon, you have the SB600, SB700, SB800 & SB900. Set to auto and the system will just do everything for you, the problem is - you don't really learn. Over 200 for the SB700

2. Get a pair of old flash units (but ones you can manually adjust the output of) which will be around 70 each, along with a cheap set of transmitter/receivers - go to a well known auction site and search for Hong Kong radio flash or something like that, I think I paid 20 including postage. This way you have to work out the effect of each light and how strong the output should be etc. Harder to start but you'll learn more.

It's worth checking out the initial postings of David Hobby at http://strobist.blogspot.com/ and click on "lighting 101".

ALC
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Ah, I see now that was Fraser who asked that question.

On camera flash bounced off the ceiling is at best moderately useful. Fill in flash very useful (but most cameras do all that anyway) Generally I avoid flash like the plague, if possible, and then use gentle fill-in flash. Really it comes into its own with off-camera flash.
The Lemming - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to murdster)
>
> Hang on! The Lemming asked about off-camera flash.

I'm getting confused now. I was hoping for a flash to go with my camera because the pop-up flash with my Nikon D5000 does not play nicely with my 18-105 lens. The vinyetting is awful.
ChrisJD on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Fraser:

I love the off-camera flash effect, especially with shots of the peeople/kids. Even with just one (or two units), gives the images a really great 3D feel.

And not using any fancy umbrella or boxes, just straight out of the gun.
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Elinchrom was the make I always used when I was doing professional portrait photography in the late '80s, but I don't know whether they're still around.
a lakeland climber on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Yes they're still around - http://www.elinchrom.com/ - and pricy. They are more suited to studio work though they do do portable stuff.

ALC
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I've got a feeling I sold all my Elinchrom kit (three very good lamps plus stands etc) about 15 years ago, but it's just possible it's still up in the attic ... in which case I will sell it at an extreme bargain price to someone who is keen to use it seriously.
a lakeland climber on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

Blame Fraser!

With the Nikon system you set the popup flash to control the off-camera flash. The built-in popup is fine for lenses in the 35-80mm range though it's low power so not much use for anything further than a couple of metres away. It's also close to the line of the lens so if you slap a wide diameter lens on the camera the light gets cut off.

Pretty well any modern flash gun will "sit up" away from the lens axis to you are less likely to get this effect. You'll still get it if you are trying to light something very close, for which you'd need a ring flash system.

ALC
AndrewHuddart - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

If it's still there, give me a shout!

Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to hindu:

Have emailed.
Dan Lane - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I'd also be interested in anything that Hindu doesn't want.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Gordon Stainforth - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to Dan Lane:

OK, fine. But at the moment I have very little idea about what I've got left. All that dates from about three ages ago in my life, before I even started my mountain books and just after I left the film industry in 1985.
Sean Bell - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

Hey mate


Probably best to find yourself a nice second hand gun that can be controlled manually.Ive used this flash before.sturdy and capable.

http://www.ffordes.com/product/11091610180381

Dont bother with TTL, Auto or any of that, the best way to learn how to work with flash IMO is to work manually and shoot loads, it becomes second nature after a while.

Like Chris has said, buy a cheap set of wireless triggers and a cheap gun and youre off and running.Further down the line you will maybe want to add to the set up (I carry four) but for the time being, get used to working with one gun, using reflectors where possible if required.

I use off camera flash every working day, due to the Nikon D1's I used at the newspaper not being able to go past ISO 400 without being too noisy, we all had to learn how to use our speedlites efficiently, our picture editor at that time also insisted that only live news jobs could be shot with direct flash, so all the snappers had light stands or off camera cables.I use brollies, sto fen diffusers and softboxes on location, but a lot of the time just use it bare aswell.

Use anything you can to bounce the flash, just try to avoid pointing the thing straight on in most situations

Flash can be used obviously or as fill in and being able to sus out when to knock out the ambient or balance the two is an art in itself, there are some great practitioners out there so theres plenty of examples.



A couple of my less than great examples below..


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150409579899129&set=a.10150409574084129.442810.2097554...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150312173359129&set=a.230452949128.171569.209755409128...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150312174739129&set=a.230452949128.171569.209755409128...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=183666

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=171684

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=167229

Any questions just send me a mail, happy to help out.Hows the s90 going btw?



Sean Bell - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to SeanB: Oh, and Gordon, Elinchrom are still going strong.They have a portable flash system called the ranger quadra at the moment, small battery pack, LED modelling light and 400w output.
Amazing for location work, bank manager says no though.

Sean Bell - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming: As I repeated on anouther of your threads.Check out the boulder shots by Mark Savage.Thats a man who really knows how to use a flash.
alex - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to SeanB:

Those quadras look pretty good.... Have you used them at all?
Sean Bell - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to alex: Yeah Alex, I had a swift shot of a mates(He shoots fashion for some of the Scottish press with them) and was really impressed.The light is 'rounder' than a speedlight as expected and the fall off is really nice.Very minimalist kit for the results. I think Calumet do their own version now for about 3 or 400 quid, recycle times are really long though, 3-7 secs.
alex - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to SeanB:

Nice, cheers. Will take a look sometime.
The Lemming - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

Any chance of dumbing this down by quite a few notches for somebody such as myself who has only ever owned a pop-up flash on a compact?

I was hoping to follow the sage advice of keep it simple keep it stupid.

Cheers
Skyfall - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

Admit it; you're just wanting to take shots of you and Ms Lemming in the bedroom aren't you? You smutty little Lemming :)
The Lemming - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> You smutty little Lemming :)


Sorry, macro photography is for next Christmas. :-)
Skyfall - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

You'd need a cable release or whatever the modern equivalent is as well. Back to the drawing board...

Anyone wonder what the reason for all these digicams with 'infrared' settings is?

Did I lower the tone enough?
alex - on 31 Oct 2011
In reply to The Lemming:

You've already had some really good answers. If you want to try flash, buy a standard nikon flash and bung it on top of your camera. This is still on camera flash and will look flat, just like your pop up. If you get one with a swivel head you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or something, but that's about it.

If you want to move the flash off your camera (this is off camera) then you either need a long cord, another flash or a separate radio transmitter to trigger it. This is more complex but is how you get professional looking results. moving any flash off camera will make a huge difference, and the end point of this process is big studio lights and those White umbrellas.

Either way it's confusing to start with and people spend years mastering it.

To start with, Just buy a flash that goes with your camera and turn it on.
Fraser on 01 Nov 2011
In reply to ChrisJD:

Ideal, that's just the sort of thing I was after, and the budget looks good too, thanks. (A friend had told me about YongNuo(?) flashes - that looks like the ones.) FYI, my flash usage would be for outdoors, so no bouncing off ceilings possible for me.



In reply to ALC and Gordon Stainforth:

Without wanting to hijack Lemming's thread any further, thanks for the input.

Re the Mark Savage photos: I'd seen them in the Northumberland Bouldering Guide but for my taste, they're just a bit too extreme. They're nice and dramatic however, for sure.
murdster on 01 Nov 2011 - cpc7-gate9-2-0-cust289.gate.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to SeanB:

> (In reply to The Lemming) As I repeated on anouther of your threads.Check out the boulder shots by Mark Savage.Thats a man who really knows how to use a flash.


Just found his blog with some amazing photos (and a scary video).
I'm inspired!
Why isn't this guy really well known? Or, maybe he is and just slipped under my radar?
ChrisJD on 01 Nov 2011
In reply to Fraser:

This set up is a no-brainer for the price.

And it works on both my Canon & Panasonic systems!

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