New to flash photography, need suggestions.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by rberry65, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. rberry65

    rberry65 Member

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    I have never used flash. Most of my images are shot inside old abandoned homes and require long exposures. Long exposures = an increase in grain, which is fine in some cases, but lately I have been wanting less grainy images, so I decided to use flash. I do not know anything about flash at all (what shutter speed I should use, waht apature, exectera). I don't know how to meter, of'course it wouldn't do me any good any way being none of my camera's have a working meter and I have never used one any way. I am attaching images so you can get a general idea how the lighting is in the old homes.
     

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  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi there ,

    what kind of camera do you have ?

    - john
     
  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have done long exposures and did not experience any increase in grain. Unless you shoot digital and had more noise.
     
  4. rberry65

    rberry65 Member

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    I use a Minolta XE-7. I only use my digital camera fro snap-shots of my kids, lol. If long exposures are not to blame, then what could be? My film is Addox CHS Art 25. It is a very fing grain film. I do not have any problems with grain when I shoot outdoors in good lighting. I only have the problem when using a long exposure.
     
  5. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    Like your work. How can I be of help?

    Fill me in on a few things, like 35mm, 6x6 or larger?
    The type of flash you have and do you have any accessories for it, or are willing to create some.

    Flash might be nice to paint light with inside some of these locations but do not stray away from the natural light look too much.

    So, if you are using a 35mm camera you have shutter sync issues to deal with if you are doing fractional speeds. Some cameras sync at 1/125 or maybe 1/200 (the shutter is open all the way when the flash fires, else it leave a black band from the closing shutter curtain). Shooting long exposures does not have this as an issue. Open camera shutter, fire off flash, close shutter.

    Shooting with copal or other iris type shutters in the lens can be synced at any speed, but again the issue is not a factor on long exposures. So it really comes down to how you want to paint light.

    In your image on the left, there are shadows caused by natural light. If you were to up the light in the room you will want to think about where you place the light so shadows look good. The light from the flash will help elevate the light level but hopefully not look like a happy snapp photos from the flash.

    Bare bulb flash (depending on what flash unit you have) is a nice way to evenly raise a room's light level. If you have an on the camera flash like a Nikon SB model it will not do bare bulb but you can fake it a bit with a white plastic grocery bag. Puff up the plastic bag, put it on the flash head like a bad wig, (See photos of Donnald Trump) and start with low power seting (1/28 or something like that)to throw light to all locations in the room when your shutter is open. Remember the orientation of the flash as a light source is important.

    Also a flash / ambient light meter is a nice tool. It can give you the ratios of how much natural light vs. what the flash gives you. Start to use one and you will love it.

    TMI, probably. Experiement, keep good notes and enjoy.

    Lee
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    are you wanting to keep the same ghostly feel to your images ... ?
    a flash may change all that completely and introduce shadows and contrast where you had none before .

    what kind of a flash do you have? can you choke it down and reduce its output and direct the light up or to the side?

    does it have a pc/cord or only a hot-shoe ?

    your camera is "sync'd " where you see shutter speed with an x or its red ( 60? 125? 250? )
    so you can shoot with your flash at that speed or slower

    i you can effectively paint with light, with your flash if you want as well... depending on
    how long your exposure is ( seconds? minutes? ) you put your flash on low power
    and get some tracing paper to mute it even more ... and burst light on the parts of
    the scene that you want to have more light.

    you might also try developing your film with a different developer to reduce the grain
    that might help enough so you won' t have to even bother with a flash ..

    good luck !
    john
     
  7. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    Your camera was the first 35mm I bought a long time ago. I always used a Vivitar 283 with mine and had no problems at all. What you can find now for not much money is a Vivitar 285. Have one, great little flash that replaced the old 283. The instruction manual will give you directions to figure out what f-stop you need if you go full manual, but you might as well as use the semi-auto (as I like to call it) ranges that you simply dial up your film speed on the side of the flash, that gives you a color coded scale that you can see how far your flash can reach out with each specific f-stop set. Start shooting. Easiest way to go with this old camera and it is what most people used in the day.

    Yes, there are other options, but why not use your hotshoe and be done with it. Vivitar did make a 3 foot cord that allowed you to take the flash off the camera but still use it in it's automatic and manual modes (it allowed you to bounce the flash to the left, right or any other direction you normally could not get to go). Hint: creative use of flash.

    Bob E.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    There is a lot of useful information on the Strobist site: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/02/welcome-to-strobist.html

    Some of it is limited to digital cameras, but most of it will work fine with any camera.

    It is a bit cultish at times, and can certainly be overly complex for a beginner at times, but you might find that it gives you a flavour of what techniques are available.
     
  9. rberry65

    rberry65 Member

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    Thanks for all the info. I may try just a roll or two with flash, but from all the advice given to me, I believe I will be better off finding a different way to reduce film grain. I did buy a different developer, Acufine film developer. I am about to go try it here shortly.
     
  10. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    That's fine, but listen carefully to Matt.....his comment to look at the strobist website will be very useful for you, maybe not tomorrow, but if your trying to pull off shots that you showed us, just a little bit of light from one or maybe two directions will only add to your photos, particularly since you need more....not much more, but some.


    I would encourage you to borrow a flash or rent one that can be put off camera or if you can get something with a remote just to try, I think it will open the door enough for you to really start seeing what just a little flash will do to make those great photos of yours pop just a little more or add that sense of drama you already have even more.


    Bob E.
     
  11. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Look for the book "Light:science and magic" by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua. Tha book alone will give you and understanding of light that may change photography for you forever.
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Flash won't help maintain the mood of your pictures. Especially on camera flash.
    If the increase in grain has only become apparent with this film/developer recently,
    has your agitation, temperature or time changed? Was there an error in dilution of the developer?
    Over development can make grain more apparent, temp difference between chemicals may cause reticulation.
    Usually you need a drastic change in temp to do this.
     
  13. Dan Quan

    Dan Quan Subscriber

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    flash is a bit like salt, a little can go along way and it's easy to add too much. flash has a relatively short duration and can be very difficult to judge without experience or chimping. have you considered a rechargeable spotlight? they can be diffused easily and the effect is easy to see. they can bounced off white ripstop or punched through for more contrast. many even have 1/4-20 or 3/8 threads for stand mounting and they run the gamut from lightweight to pretty powerful, inexpensive to hundreds of dollars.