Everything we read about strobing, everything we see about light involves some kind of diffuser to make ‘beautiful’ light. We see giant softboxes, umbrellas, octabanks, and so on that get our juices flowing at the gorgeous light they produce. But, they suck up our power, especially for us small flash users.
A lot of fashion mags use quite a bit of hard light, and it can, when used well make for great images. For today we’re going to focus on using a bare flash for the power it provides.
Fighting a sun that hasn’t set yet is a task for a single speedlight, a hard task. It makes the little guy fire off at full power and eventually shut down or explode, depending on how old it is. Don’t shoot to many pops…
MantiS and I were out shooting for some fun stuff to go with his new work, and shooting into the sun wasn’t making our lovely umbrella diffused flash very happy. Pulling in f/5.6 @ 1/160 of a second just wasn’t going to cut it. So, we ripped the brolly off and shot zoomed to 70mm @ full power, giving us f/11 @ 1/160; much more usable. This created quite a few hard shadows that didn’t work, but by moving both him and the flash around we were able to shoot some stuff worth babbling about.
First, nuclear. You can see by that nose shadow, we were shooting a bare flash. By pulling it in pretty close, we were able to almost completely blow out his face for a cool, post-apocalyptic feel.
Second, straight on. A similar effect to the last one. By keeping it in close, up high, and just out of the frame, we were able to really blow out his face and still keep a lot of density in the surrounds.
Finally, turn away from the light. Here we faced half away from the light and used the hard edge of the shadow to divide his face in half. By allowing the sun to poke through, we were also able to get the amazing stars that the 10.5mm fisheye is able to create.
Get out, have fun. Your little hot shoe flash can fight the sun, you just have to be careful about shadows, and keep it in close. It can take a little practice and a few frames to even get the power right, but you’ll end up with some interesting work.