When we talk SLR, I’m a Nikon shooter. That means that I have the capability of doing pretty cool things with my flash. While yesterday’s photo may have been a bit on the weak side (it was a spur-of-the-moment photo), it was made possible in the first place by Nikon’s remote flash system. How I pulled this off:
I was in a hurry, before the backlighting on the flowers left (lots of clouds), so I only had time to grab one flash. This was an sb-600, and I slapped on a flash-mountable softbox to keep light from spilling away from where I wanted (note to self: use barndoors in the future). This was positioned to camera left, about 8 inches from the flowers. I’m standing facing the flowers, and the sun is behind the flowers, leaning towards camera right. This gives me backlight, but the tree itself keeps lens flare away.
So, if I’m at 6 o’clock and the flower is at 12 o’clock, the sun is roughly at 2 o’clock and the flash is between 7 and 8 o’clock. It’s a light sandwich.
The flash is an sb-600. Set to channel A, it’s at an even 1:1 manual power setting. No choice: the light is cut in half (to 1/2, so literally) by the softbox. If I kick into high-speed sync (which I needed, as it turned out), then it’s going to be much weaker – like 1/16, effectively. The camera: a Nikon d200 with high-speed sync enabled. The sb-900 is mounted as a flash to control the sb-600, and I have the 105mm macro lens mounted.
Start by setting f/stop. I know, it’s a little backwards – but I kinda need it for controlling the flash. Tighten down the iso as far as I can (100), and move the shutter speed up until I can control the backround. Once I get the clouds looking OK, I then speed up the shutter until they’re coming through extremely dark. I I’m at f/9 and 1/4000th at this point.
Fire off a shot. Pretty dark, but that’s expected. Open up the f/stop, ending at f/6.3. Find that it works, as a balance between depth of field and letting in light from the flash. Still on the dark side, but OK.
Thank you photoshop! Using post-processing, bring up the light on the flowers slightly. Quick pass of sharpening, and I’m done.