Quote Originally Posted by pharquarx
Very interesting and hopefully continuing discussion.

I have been very reluctant to use flash for my subjects as my limited experience, and probably simplistic approach, yielded very flat looking images, which is not bad for items such as phalaenopis, miltonias, vandas and the like. However, I like the use of the lights on stands (four total) as, when I light frontally with two and move two to the sides, the texture and three dimensional quality of the flowers is emphasized in the final photographs. One exciting aspect also is to selectively backlight some of the orchids such as cattleyas and Chinese paphiopedilums as they have wonderful veining and, with the cattleyas, the front surface under these conditions takes on an almost irredescent (sp???) glow. One of my cohorts (Greg Allikas) who does the photography down in Florida uses flash very successfully and I believe that Charles Marsden Fitch up in New York also does the same. Google their names to see some of their work as well as go to the American Orchid Society website.

Hope this proves informative. Have fun.


P.S. I do not use any filters, I even remove the UV protector when I photograph.
Charlie, what can be done with hot lights can be done with flash. The most painful aspect of using flash is that when using flashes that don't have modeling lights you have to have faith that the light will do what you want. If, that is, you're using film and have to wait to see the results. My preferred films for flowers are KM with the Nikons (there's still some in the freezer) and EPN for 2x3. When the KM finally runs out I'll probably switch to E100G for both formats.

FWIW, my flash rigs all incorporate a pair of flashes. The flashes are anywhere from one to three focal lengths from the lens' axis and are angled in at around 45 degrees. This lighting gives good relief and brings out texture well at the cost, sometimes, of the dread double shadows. I'm not using a poor man's ringlight.

If you're happy with your current approach -- and you seem to be very -- there's not much reason to change what you're doing.