Assignment 3: Electronic Flash

Swans in flight

In the last day(s) we went over the concept of fill flash and how to achieve it. Using the built-in flash in our camera, set on comparatively low power to shoot a subject at close range, while simultaneously using a slow shutter speed (1/4 second or greater) to give the proper exposure for the background, we can achieve some interesting effects, using the high speed of the flash to clearly make out our subject – while abstracting the background somewhat (depending on camera movement and/or what’s going on in the background)

When we make a photograph by this technique – we are actually making a form of ‘double exposure’ – one is a standard flash photograph of our subject in the foreground by flash – and the second is our background, lit by traditional methods.

The Weekend Assignment is:

1. Make three successful shots using this technique OUTDOORS (important hint: you will need to use the smallest possible aperture – i.e. higher f-number). This is because a wider (smaller number) aperture will require too short a shutter speed to effectively blur the background. Once you get your basic technique down and you feel like you’re getting pretty good with it – pick your framing and subject in a way that will complement the effect you’re achieving (hint: this technique conveys the idea of motion when used correctly)

2. Make three successful shots using this technique INDOORS – preferably where there are lots of people around (if possible). Use an aperture that will allow you to be in the 1/4 sec to 1 sec range, if possible.Now make three successful shots (again – not all the same please!) at the same location but try under exposing the background (by about one stop – yes, that’s right – we need to use a higher shutter speed). Now see what happens when we keep the background properly exposed and we underexpose the flash.

3. Make a series of photographs using a friend in motion – they can be on a bicycle or walking briskly by you – anything will work in this case. Now try making a series of seven shots. Test for the optimal background exposure and then make this the middle of the series you’ll do. So – for example – if the optimal exposure is around 1/4 second, then make a series at 2 sec, 1 sec, 1/2 sec, 1/4 sec, 1/8 sec, 1/16 sec and 1/30 sec. Look at your results now – once you have this completed. What effects do the varied exposure and reduced or increased shutter time have on the final picture?



Billiards with rear curtain synch


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