Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flash & The Fiddle ~ Telephoto Tuesday!

"Waiting On The Music"
(1/60 sec. @ F/4.5, ISO 100, 80mm fl, SB600 off-camera flash bounced off reflector)
(secondary lighting from window diffused with light panel)

Well as promised, I've managed not to smother you all (yet) with peony pics. That's only because I've been waiting for this week's telephoto theme day! Pictured in today's post is my fiddle. Actually, it was graciously handed down to me by my in laws several years ago with the stipulation that I continue to learn how to play the ol' girl. And play it I do, usually late in the day to one of my slower Celtic Cd's on the stereo. Jigs are not my forte. Yet. I've been in love with her full bodied sound, her color, her shape, and her history. So I figured she deserves a much better portrait than what I was able to supply until recently.

I've been waiting for ages to learn how to better use my flash so that I could get a photo of my fiddle in more dramatic lighting. This is my first attempt, and I will continue to tweak my settings in camera till I get the exact look I'm looking for. But this step was big for me, as I finally figured out the nuances of shooting with the flash off-camera. Especially using a light panel to soften available light coming from one direction, and a reflector to bounce the light off of to get light that would skim across the fiddle from near the top down, kissing it's shape without being overwhelming.

It took time, patience, and some experimenting. Especially since the spot I used is in a dark blue room that eats up the light almost instantly. But I knew I wanted deep color and a darker backdrop so it worked out that the one window in the room has an old window seat in deep browns perfect to lay the fiddle on. Low light enabled me to really see the effects the flash was having, and to create an intimate looking still life. To use Nikon's speed light off camera, you have to use your small on-camera flash as the trigger. This meant dialing down that small flash's output as low as it would go so that from the distance I was at with the telephoto it wouldn't give off too much light while trying to get the right light out of the SB600 placed opposite me.

Flash felt intimidating to me for the longest time. But I persisted in watching tutorials online and reading manuals, and playing with light and reviewing the shots later to decide what worked and why. I can already tell you the next time I'll set my light panel diffusing the window light even further back so that I don't get the white shape that's visible in the shot above. In the meantime, I'm happy with how she gleams warmly in the light I used. Like she's waiting to be played....

Thanks for the ramble folks! I'm still swamped with editing but all is going well... hope you're all having a superb week!

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