Jimi and off-camera flash

December 11, 2012
Jimi and off-camera flash

1/15sec @ f/5.6
50mm, ISO400, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-D 50mm f/1.4
2 x SB-600 Speedlight
SU-800 Commander
5 in 1 circular reflector

I have been experimenting with flash lately and Jimi is our only pet who will sit for long enough and still be interested in the camera. I can shoot hundreds of frames with retina burning flash and he just sits patiently waiting for a treat.

This is a two flash set-up, both off camera. They are controlled with the Nikon SU-800 Remote Commander. If you look close enough into his eyes you can actually see the set-up I have. There is a flash reflected off a gold circular reflector to the right and a flash facing up to reflect off the wall to the left and the ceiling. I can’t remember the power settings I used; however, I am pretty sure both flashes were reduced in power using flash compensation. The main problem with the set-up, and one which I am going to have to experiment with, is the reflection in the eyes. It isn’t exactly the catch light I am looking for.

The background isn’t perfect – that’s what happens when you concentrate too much on the new techniques, it is easy to forget composition.

I do like the back lighting. It is something I have very rarely used in shots. Back lighting on birds never really works unless you use fill flash and I am not a big fan of flash in wildlife photography, partially because I suck at using flash right now! I am a big fan of slow sync flash too. From what I understand the flash goes off just prior to the shutter closing. This allows more ambient light to illuminate the scene. It does however seem to reduce the shutter speed drastically. Of course this would be problematic for fast moving sequences. Using slow sync flash in this shot helped the shot look far more natural, taking in lots of the ambient sunlight that was filling the background.

The gold circular reflector I have is amazing. It adds warmth to the shot without any post-production work. I would highly recommend a 5 in 1 reflector. Using it outside without flash will help both harsh shadows and warming the shot up.