Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To Flash or not To Flash….

Photographs are straight from camera

After spending many days in bed (I was going out of my mind) with a very nasty virus I am ready to get back to it …slowly. I miss drawing, writing and taking pictures, I really do.
I could not get up and walk around the first few days I could not sit up because of the dizziness, the world was moving in slow motion for me. Something to do with my inner ear and of course a virus to help it along. Not a great feeling at all...on the bright side and there always is a bright side…I did get to see everything in a fresh light and ideas began to form in my head. I wonder if they would mind if I came to emergency with a camera…note to self...bring camera next time to emergency…I didn’t see any signs stating otherwise.

During this horrible sickly time I was also awaiting the arrival of my Alien Bee Ring Flash. I finally got it yesterday and did I put it to work? Yes I did! My daughters and one of their friends were my models. I did struggle with the weight of the flash and camera together. I really wanted to attach the flash to my camera and hold it. But I found out that this would be impossible for me ….much to heavy …camera….ring flash…no go….so I grabbed a light stand and attached the ring flash. I didn’t think the price for just the flash was too high…however, the combination of the battery pack (which you need if you want to shoot outdoors where there are no plug-ins) and ring flash are high. They thought of everything though to get you started; grounded power cord, sync cord, umbrella adaptor, mounting bracket, even a diffuser to protect and for soft lighting and even the screw to attach your camera to the mounting bracket (some free advertisement).

I am also in the process of learning how to use my Canon 50D EOS….loads of incredible features that after using a Nikon D50 feels like I need a GPS to navigate…well, with manual in tow…I went at it. Most often I like to use the try it and see what happens method. I am like a kid, no patience with new toys. Just let me at it. My results…well not exactly what I wanted initially, have to keep at it...but I’m getting close. I found that my aperture was best set at 16-18, at least 10 to 15 feet away. I did not mount my camera on with the ring flash , rather I held it alone and attached the sync cord … I most often shoot Aperture priority( I like to control the depth of field and not worry about the shutter speed so much) but this time I am aiming for manual….something different …note to self, need a longer sync cord…hope I can get a longer cord.

Today, still resting a bit…and a bit of work…I do not want a relapse of the nasty virus. I am going to try something with the ISO that I have never tried before (once I try it I will post my results and what I did). I discovered something before I fell asleep….yes…the truth is out….photography, art, is constantly on my mind. I was not kidding about the hamster in my mind constantly churning… I read something in the Canon manual and in a book that I have been reading, The Hot Shoe Diaries written by Joe McNally. The book (one of six) was part of my prize package that I won for 1st place Wedding/Portraits at Photoshop User Awards 2009 NAPP…my brag moment. Joe McNally goes into great detail of his set up….starting with one flash, two flashes and so on. Seriously, it is a how to book full of diagrams and descriptions. Now, Joe McNally talks Nikon but I do not see how a Canon user cannot follow and apply what he is teaching so brilliantly. In 'The Hot Shoe Diaries' Joe McNally talks about using small flashes and getting big light and quite honestly looking at his images I never would have thought the simplicity of the shots…at first what comes to mind is some type of elaborate set up that I cannot a: afford b: have room for, for instance he gives you a great shot of man in front of some metal scraps…looks great!….I think studio shot, lots of lights, cables… not so…he shows you the set up ..a backyard studio. The backyard studio I have room for! Summer will be interesting (hope the neighbours will not mind). He shares with you the set up and describes in detail how he took the shot. I have not finished reading the book yet but so far it is very interesting… he is very encouraging and humours, which makes it a fun read…there is a lot of tech talk but important tech talk which he shows you how to work through it. He answers the questions that enter your mind. He does not loose your attention. I see his work and it is brilliant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about flashes and using them creatively. I choose wisely.


  1. Love this last adorable shot of your little one! Too sweet. I have a Canon 40d they are probably pretty similar, if you get hung up, email me, yours probably has more WHISTLES:) toot toot

  2. love the wallpaper... where'd you find this? it's amazing!