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  1. #1

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    Fill Flash - Convince me

    Ok...so I am traveling to India in a week an I am having a "moment" with my equipment. Basically it is flash or no flash...that is the question. I am very much a natural light photographer, but I do expect high sun in the sky and strong shadows, and am wondering if I am going to regret not taking it with me for fill-in images.

    What is the view out there? I am 50:50 at the moment, and need something to push me over the edge either way. Maybe you couldpost an image to show me, where without fill-in you would have lost a great image.

    Many thanks.

    Rgds, Kal

    PS images will be a mix of colour and B&W
    Kal Khogali

    www.kal-khogali.com


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    "Wake up, dream, and photograph what you have seen.
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  2. #2

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    If you don't understand I'm not going to try to convince you.

  3. #3
    goldenimage's Avatar
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    the only type of photography i use fill in is portrait images, reason being is putting catchlights in the eyes, I sometimes use my flash as main lighting and let the ambient light be my fill. my scanner decided to put a funky line down the middle of the image
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img415.jpg  
    "Why thats one of those old black and white cameras aint it?"

  4. #4
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    For B&W, how many stops 'under' do you set fill-flash? For color?
    f/22 and be there.

  5. #5
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    IMO, don't bother at this point. Your trip is a week away...and, personally, fill flash would not do me much good unless shooting a staged and controlled photograph. I can't think of a situation in which I would use it while traveling. However, you and I likely shoot differently. If you will be doing planned shoots with models/subjects, then there could potentially be a lot of use for fill flash...but even then, you would be learning to use it a week before leaving on your trip, and your results would likely be spotty without enough time to spend on it when shooting. However, you might as well have a flash with you if it is not too much hassle. Try some. What the hey. I always being a flash (Sunpak 555 and filter kit) on my road trips, "just in case", and I literally have not used it once. When it comes to anything not staged, I prefer to just shoot it as it lies, without any fill light.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Do your cameras have leaf shutters, or synch with flash at high (1/250 or shorter) shutter speeds? If not, fill flash can be quite difficult to use, and I wouldn't suggest trying it for the first time on a trip.

    A better idea would be to pack a foldable reflector, and an assistant .

    If you are going to experiment, and the ambient conditions permit use of shutter speeds that you can synch flash with, and you are shooting with negative film, than I usually recommend using it at one stop less than the main light.

    Matt

  7. #7
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    I cannot convience you. It works if done right. Set the f/stop or one or two numbers highrer [smaller aperture] then the guide number calls for. As noted before, you need to do this before you go on the trip, because you need to see the results.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1234 View Post
    If you don't understand I'm not going to try to convince you.
    That reply was meant to have a smiley face... It takes time to get a true feel for what works best in a given situation... each situation is different.

    Fill flash can often be a good thing if done properly. One common method is to underxpose the scene/subject by 1/2 stop and underxepose the flash by 1/2 stop so the combined exposure on the subject sums to proper total exposure. This really softens the shadows and adds highlights in the eyes while bringing the subject forward a bit by underexposing the background that little bit. But that's just a rule-of-thumb and that mix isn't always appropriate nor is fill flash always desired. You'll need a powerful flash with complete exposure control and a very fast flash synch speed on your camera/lens if you shoot in daylight. I always shot manual camera and manual flash to give me complete control. Synchro sun and combining any ambient light with on-camera flash can take some time to learn to do correctly and quickly. Add the ability to remove the flash and aim where you like or use bounce methods and the complexity is compounded greatly. How far away is the wall your bouncing off of and how far is the wall from the subject? What is the reflectivity of that wall? What are you tring to accomplish with the added light? Multiple slaved fill flash just adds another dimension especially if you're adding color. How deep in this rabit hole do you want to go?

    The point is you're going to have to experiement and I strongly urge you to take one shot without fill flash and then another with. Experiment a lot before your trip.
    Last edited by Mike1234; 12-28-2009 at 02:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    lxdude's Avatar
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    I suggest taking a foldable reflector or two.
    You can purchase one with sides of different colors, like white or silver or gold, which open and collapse with a twist. Or a reflector can be as simple as a piece of white cardboard, mat board or foamcore or even two to four smaller sections hinged together with tape, so when held with the taped sides at the back they will make a reasonably rigid single card. Covering with finely wrinkled foil can increase reflectivity. If the subject can hold the reflector for a face shot that makes it simple. Holding it yourself while shooting is somewhat awkward but possible. You can put it on top of your feet to reflect up and maneuver it how you want with slight foot movements, if your subject is seated or is not standing closely.
    In a pinch, even a newspaper can be used as a reflector.

    One big advantage to using a reflector, especially if you haven't used flash much, is you can see what you're going to get before the shot, so exposure and modeling will be known quantities.

    One big disadvantage is the need to have a subject who is either interested/patient/cooperative/helpful enough.

    On the other hand, you don't have to explain why you're using flash in broad daylight.

    If you do elect to use flash, you should follow the advice to experiment a lot before you go.

  10. #10
    eddym's Avatar
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    Leave the flash at home, unless you think you might need it for indoor shots. Fill flash is a non sequitur for street shooting.
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

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