Shooting into the sun on a bright day causes havoc with images, with the SB-900 on it's BL setting the i-TTL mode takes care of business while still leaving room for creativity on how I want the end results to look. Without a flash these images would be dull and lifeless, with the subject dark and washed out and the background blown out. It's unfortunate this kind of shooting isn't better understood by mainstream camera-owners, I see lots of parents shooting their kids with the little pop-up flash on an expensive camera and I know they aren't getting good images given the shooting conditions. Too bad nobody has taken the time to explain to them how lighting can make a huge difference.


Nobody taught me how to use light, I've just done a ton of reading on sites like Strobist and the Nikon CLS forums and such. Reading only takes you so far though, eventually you have to start experimenting. I look for lighting challenges to solve, the harder the lighting problem the more I learn. I do ok sometimes, most of the time I realize how little I know and how many compromises I have to make in order to get close to what I want out of an image. I enjoy the journey more than the results so it's all time well spent. This image below is a good example of a lighting challenge where I had to choose a compromise, I shot Keegan speeding down a slide at the school playground with the sun directly behind him. Balancing shutter speed against aperture which gets balanced against lighting, in this case I had to take a compromise, showing a tiny bit of motion blur from his movement down the slide. I could have notched up the shutter speed to freeze him but then I would have taken a hit on the lighting or aperture. The image turned out pretty good, not great, just good. And that's the fun part, deciding in real time where to take the hit by making the best compromise for the result I'm chasing.


Another good example, shooting below Evan while he was swinging across the monkey bars which had me shooting up into the bright sky. In this case I managed to freeze him, get decent depth of field and still illuminate his face enough via the flash that it all kind of comes together.


DSC_5148Of course anyone who checks into the blog on occasion knows my main interests lie in dramatic light or non-typical shots, a lot of that stuff occurs indoors. This image of Evan down in the basement this morning was shot with the SB-900 remoted and triggered by the D200 in Commander mode. The flash was off to his side and on the floor pointing away from him with the flash head firing at a white door and bouncing the light back at him. Is it technically perfect, not really but I like the lighting and I like it's flaws.

I could have filled in the image some more with the SB-600 off on the other side or coming in at an angle from behind or high-behind but that's not the look I was interested in at the time. Tomorrow I might be chasing that, but that's for tomorrow.

Probably my favorite part of this image is the un-posed nature of Evan. Normally in these kinds of semi-portraits I will get him to smile or at least be part of the shot but in this case I waited until he was thinking about something else, preferring to catch him in his real time presence rather than something I was influencing with the camera. To my eye it is a perfect capture of the moment even with it's technical flaws. Flash geekery 101 done for the day, if you want to see the best tasting 4oz latte I've had in months (from this morning) go over here.