Flash Questions - Going to Disney World

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by pgowder, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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    I have 2 questions on flash for my upcoming Disney World trip.

    1. How do I meter and set the exposure for shots like this?
    [​IMG]

    This was taken on our last trip the the Disney PhotoPass folks. How do I set it up to light us well, and still get the Castle?

    2. When taking photos of my daughter with the characters many times it is inside in areas not too well lit. On the last trip I did ok capturing those shots but I used the popup flash. So on this trip I want to improve the quality of those shots.

    Here is an example:
    [​IMG]

    In that one I had to crank it up to 800 ISO and use the popup flash. So I'm trying to decide do I carry a full flash with me for those kinds of shots? What would be the best setup for that?
     
  2. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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  3. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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  4. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Meter for the background, taking care to select an f/stop and shutter speed combination that allows for both hand holding and flash sync (greater than min handholding for the lens in use and less than or equal to the max sync speed). You then adjust the flash brightness to work at the chose aperture. In general, when taking such shots on the fly you may find that the camera's automatich "night fill flash" mode is the best choice, though on some cameras, this mode allows the shutter to go too slow for handholding. Read the references in the other posts links and you camera manual to details on its auto abilities.
    What you don't need is a bigger flash. The flaw, if any, in the posted sample is that the background is a bit dark. No increase in flash power will help that since any flash assist to the distant background would overexpose the subject in the forground (Newton's Inverse Square Law, odd how dear old Isaac figured this out over a 3/4'scentury before the first flash photograph ...). The high ISO is the main solution since you need the available light to expose the background properly. The only other "flaw" in this is that the available light is much warmer than the flash. The in-camera fix for this is to filter the flash to match the color of the ambient light and then to set the camera's white balance manually to match ("tungsten" in this particular case). Doing this filtering might make a separate more powerful flash somewhat of an advantage since the filter, in this case, will reduce the flash power by two stops reducing its usable range to 1/2 the distance it would have unfiltered.
     
  5. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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    So you think I should just stay with the popup flash for these photos? And use a gel to filter them?

    How about the puffer?
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    The thing that struck me the most in the second image was the different WB. Definitely use a 1/2 CTO or even full CTO gel for such a situation, as Dwig touched on (those are two gels that would change a daylight-balanced light to a tungsten colour, the half CTO being less orange than a full one). When you get into gelling the flash, start carrying a CTO and a Window Green gel. The CTO for tungsten, the green for fluorescent. Those are the bread-and-butter of colour correcting your flash. (Other gels, like blue and magenta, are used much less often, but I've found occasional use for them on some odd, wonky fluorescents.)

    As for softening the pop-up, I am personally very reserved about those devices. I mean, the flash is what, an inch wide? The puffer makes it two or three? Not that big of a difference really; you're just turning it into something akin to a direct hot-shoed flash, and cutting it's power a stop or two while you're at it. If you want to soften the light then I really would suggest using an external flash unit and bouncing off something. (But then, in the world of bouncing, things get more complicated, most so because the light will pick-up the colour of any surface you bounce off-of. When you have a lot of different coloured-walls, things get messy... *sigh* ... I hate it when someone decided that four different colours on the walls was a good idea.)
     

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