Fuji Kyle Figures Out Flash

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
Yesterday morning, the Boston Cyclists Union (of which I am a member) sent out a call: "Our photographer backed out last minute, can anyone shoot the event tonight?" I was already going to be there, and I had my rig in my bag already, just because... I always tend to have it, lately. I had the XT1, the 23 f1.4, the 18-55, and the 50-230, which wouldn't be of much use. But I ALSO had both flashes and the commander... :)

So I got there a little early, set up the flashes on the front corners of the speakers on stage, each one pointing back across the stage towards the center. I set one to Group A, and the other to B, so i could dial them up and down from the camera by remote as people moved left and right on the stage between setups. When I wanted flash, I flicked the commander on and BOOM, I had flash. When I didn't, I turned it off. Nothing goofed, everything worked, and I really didn't even have to edit the photos. These stage shots are SOOC. They were happy this morning, and I'm thrilled.

No flash
KBRX6913
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX7359
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

Flash
KBRX6985
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX7011
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX7123
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX7152
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX7207
by gordopuggy, on Flickr


I really, really wish I'd had the 35 and the 56 with me. I used the kit zoom a little, and it was fine with flash, but it struggled in the crowd. The 23 was, frankly, pretty fantastic for that work. It's pretty soft wide open -- most lenses ARE, but not most of the magical Fuji XFs. But it's sharp enough, and it focused well, so I moved and worked quietly and happily. Oh, to have had that 56 for the stage. :( Just didn't want to bike home first, THEN bike up the hills there.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
And I quickly got good at lining up the opposite side flash BEHIND the person, so they had brilliant rim lighting. You had to be quick, but when it worked, it was awesome.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
124
bart
I'm a complete lighting noob in that i only ever use the camera's built in flash for fill, but the rim lighting does look nice in these shots.

In the photos of your daughter, the texture on her cheek in the 3rd one really gives it something extra.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
I decided to sell an old guitar amp I have. The only time I had to clean and photograph it was at night, AND my wife was out of town, so I decided this was a great excuse to make a giant mess in the den and turn it into a studio and Use Flash Again. I still don't own any stands or modifiers (other than the little 8" one that velcros on), so I had to pick a spot that had a way to rig a light above it. That more or less dictated one place in the house, where a swag lamp hangs.

The room, with settings ready for flash, with the flashes off:
KBRX4895
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

And with the commander back on:
KBRX4894
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

And the results...
KBRX4878
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX4864
by gordopuggy, on Flickr

KBRX4867
by gordopuggy, on Flickr
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
Note the big sheet of white packing paper clamped to the light fixture, to act as a modifier. That flash had a full CTO gel on it, I set WB to be ready for that color, and I put a chocolate gel on the far light, which was zoomed in to 70? and aimed right at it.
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
I swear one day, I'll delve into the "black arts". I bought a Fuji flash a month ago hoping it would help my eBay photography. It didn't. Apparently I need to understand HOW they work. They are not just magic.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
They're almost the opposite of magic... With magic, you just stand there and get amazed by some inexplicable, wonderful outcome. With flash, you do it wrong 134 times til you finally figure out what

- aperture
- shutter speed
- ISO
- white balance
- flash power(s)
- flash gels
- flash modifiers
- flash placement

...actually get what you were looking for, if you do. There are some basic rules that helped get me there a lot sooner than 134 last night, but it was still 30 or 40. I used 4 different lenses (on purpose, but still). I struggled to isolate the item from its background, and only sorta succeeded. There WAS no dark, blank space with an overhanging thing to dangle flash from.

A stand and a good umbrella would've made this SO much easier.
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
I forgot to say that the photos are great.

Yup....flashes are the total opposite of magic. I have mucho respect for those who have mastered it. I think I'd love to just take a couple one hour lessons one on one with some dude that is a good teacher and I'd be good to go. But reading about it does NOTHING for me. I'm more of an experiencial learner.
 

KillRamsey

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2012
124
Hood River, OR
Kyle
Luke, I would guess you can actually do more than you think. Once you get a flash in your hand -- and I would say not just a flash, but a remote setup like I have, because getting the flash off the camera is 99% of the goodness -- you just start here and tweak til it looks right:

- Shutter speed at 1/180 (for the XT1 anyway)
- ISO at 200
- WB manually set for something in the middle
- Aperture around f4
- Flashes set to 1/8

...and see what you get. The tweaking then happens to correct:
- WB
- The light from the flashes being right for the subject (aperture, ISO, flash power, and flash location affect this)
- The non-flash ambient light coming up or down (shutter speed affects this, and does NOT affect light level from the flash)

...and then you just dial it in and fine tune it. Once you do it a lot (I'm not there yet), you get closer to "right" with your first guess at settings. OH -- and you have to change your EVF, assuming you're using it, to NOT preview WB or Exposure. Tell it to lie to you, and make everything look wonderful in the eyepiece, because of course it has NO idea what's gonna happen when those flashes fire.

Now that I type all that, I see why it looks daunting. But seriously, get an off-cam flash and a remote. The Yonguos I got were cheeeeeap, and they've worked very nicely.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom