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Subject: "Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?" Previous topic | Next topic
BrawlerO Registered since 01st Nov 2012Mon 05-Aug-13 12:56 PM
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"Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"


Wokingham, GB
          

I'm scared of my SB-700! There you go, I admit it

Seriously though, I am now onto my second Nikon DSLR and think I have made good progress in different aspects of our great hobby and have got used to a variety of different lenses for different types of shots using different metering and focusing methods. Even if something doesn't go well I can see why.

Now flash. To me it is like Maths, I start to read up on it and suddenly it just becomes white noise and my head can't take it in. I think it is the dual metering stuff (camera doing one thing and the flash unit doing something else that gets me).

There was a great article on this very site recently and I thought 'A-ha!' at last I will get my head around this tricky subject but alas I am still not much wiser. I feel guilty every time I open my camera bag and see the SB-700 sitting there and even when the bag is closed I can feel it looking at me saying 'you paid a lot of money for me dummy, why don't I get used?'

So is it just me or is this a common thing? If so are there any good books anyone can recommend to try? Because it isn't getting easier over time

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
luckyphoto Silver Member
05th Aug 2013
1
Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
Isonychia
17th Aug 2013
9
Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
HBB Moderator
05th Aug 2013
2
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MEMcD Moderator
05th Aug 2013
3
Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
Cookies35 Silver Member
06th Aug 2013
4
     Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
HBB Moderator
06th Aug 2013
5
     Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
MEMcD Moderator
08th Aug 2013
6
          Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
BGD600
15th Aug 2013
7
               Reply message RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?
Betty L Silver Member
17th Aug 2013
8

luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Mon 05-Aug-13 02:14 PM
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#1. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 0


Port Charlotte, US
          

It's just you! (LOL) Absolutely not just you. Flash adds to the learning curve and can be intimidating, but it can also take your photography to the next level.

Crawl, walk, run. Start slow and practice. There are many good articles/books that introduce you to flash photography and great photographers on this site to help with your questions. The more you practice with your flash, the more the monster will become a pet.

Here's one good article to get you started - http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Isonychia Registered since 19th Apr 2009Sat 17-Aug-13 04:08 PM
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#9. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 1


Huntington, WV, US
          

I prefer the term "strobophobe." lol

Seriously though, I cannot recommend the Strobist website strongly enough. David Hobby breaks off-camera strobe techniques down to their very basics with a Lighting 101 course (newly revamped to allow for newer equipment) and continues with a Lighting 102 course. In addition, he has an "On Assignment" series in which he outlines how he solved various lighting scenarios he found while afield.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberMon 05-Aug-13 04:28 PM
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#2. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 05-Aug-13 04:59 PM by HBB

Phoenix, US
          

Rob:

No need to confess!

You have lots of company.

When I first started to get serious about flash photography, it was very intimidating. I bought my first breeding pair of SB800s when they first appeared many years ago. The instruction manual was 125 pages, and it took me the better part of two days to begin to see how it all worked. The SB700 manual is about the same size.

Shortly thereafter, I started doing night photography of law enforcement officers in various tactical scenarios. Before long, the initial pair had become a herd of an even dozen. Now, I rarely capture images, even in daylight, without one or more speedlights.

You are on the right track: flash images are, in a sense, two exposures captured in one frame: One from the ambient illumination, and a second from the speedlight. With practice, you will be able to mix the two in any desired ratio.

Start simply, with the SB700 on the camera and get familiar with its operation in the basic modes. I suggest placing your camera in full manual mode, then capture an image of a back-lit subject with aperture and shutter speed selections that is properly exposed. Then place the SB700 on the camera, turn it on and place it in manual mode also. Finally, leaving shutter and aperture settings alone, manually select different SB700 power level settings until you find one that provides the right level of fill in the image. It may take several tries before you find the right power level. In this mode, shutter and aperture control the ambient illumination, and the SB700 power settings control the flash illumination. Play with various combinations until you are comfortable that you understand what is happening. Then, you are ready to move into the more automatic modes.

Give yourself time to absorb the instructions in the user manual.

For a look at what can be accomplished when you get carried away with speedlights like I did, go here, post #6. It took me a while to reach this level, but my persistence paid off.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Mon 05-Aug-13 05:35 PM
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#3. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Rob,

It is natural for us to fear the unknown.
The best way to overcome fear is to jump in with both feet.
Knowledge is power and practice makes perfect.
Keep in mind that i-TTL flash control is very easy to use since the camera does all of the calculations for you. When the flash will be the primary light source, use TTL mode.
When using the flash for fill light, use TTL BL mode.
Don't be afraid to use bounce flash or a flash diffuser to soften the light.
When you have a few minutes experiment and see what works best for you.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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Cookies35 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Apr 2007Tue 06-Aug-13 11:32 AM
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#4. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 3


NL
          

>Keep in mind that i-TTL flash control is very easy to use
>since the camera does all of the calculations for you.


As someone in your boat, I have to disagree with the learned masters. For them, i-TTL is easy. For me, yes, the camera makes all the calculations for me. And it produces absolutely horrible pictures.

I don't mean "not creatively interesting," I mean absolute garbage. Faces blown out kind of stuff. Still haven't figured out how to get my SB-600 to produce mere fill light outdoors.

Almost all the resources I've seen that truly try to teach lighting (as opposed to how to operate your speedlight) tell you to "put everything in manual" that you can both take (creative) control of the situation and actually learn what's going on. So I use my flashes in manual. But I'm not remotely learning what's going on. And I leave them in manual, not because I understand what's going on, but because I have no idea how to make TTL do what I want it to do. TTL decides what the proper exposure is supposed to look like, and so (it seems like) no matter what dials I turn, the camera "compensates" somewhere else in the exposure triangle and I still get the same ugly results.

If my flashes are all in manual however I can randomly turn enough dials on camera and/or speedlight, I eventually end up with something that works.

Since I'm doing this with still lifes, I have that luxury.

What I really and truly want is to be able to use flash with people, who (usually) don't have the patience for me to get to version 17 before I get the light right.

I've learned absolutely everything I know about photography so far from books and Nikonians, tons and tons and tons of each.* I've tried books on lighting (Light, Science and Magic, books on Nikon Speedlights (Mike Hagan's book on The Nikon Creative Lighting System, and who knows how many others, in addition to the camera and speedlight manuals. I am coming to the conclusion that using speedlights may actually be one of the few things I can't learn from a book. This may be something I'll only really GET if somebody shows me.

In the meantime, I have stumbled upon and become a fan of creativeLIVE. Was thrilled to death when they offered Scott Robert Lim's Crazy Stupid Light. I learned a heck of a lot. I still can't use my speedlights properly, but I understand a heck of a lot more now and understand far more often what I'm doing wrong. It only takes me until set-up number six or seven to get my lighting right. :-O

I was still frustrated with all this emphasis on multiple speedlights and manual control though. I want multiple speedlights to be a stage I graduate to, not a stage I start at because anybody's who's serious with flashes uses multiple speedlights. Even in his segment on shooting with one speedlight, SR cheated (IMHO) and was showing you how to use the sun as one speedlight and your own as the second. Also, I want to be able to use them in TTL mode, and do it well, for those times when I'm on the fly, happen to have a moment where a bit of flash will truly make my day (or save me an extra hour in post processing). Just the basics, so I can figure out (as you say) what the camera is doing and what the flash is doing, and having ME be in charge of the situation before the food fight gets out of control.

Was ecstatis when creativeLIve then offered a course on TTL lighting course. By the time I checked in with Day Two, however, they were already doing stuff far beyond what I need to learn first. Fair enough, it was Day Two after all. When I get an extra $100 I'll probably put it there next to see if it was indeed The Missing Resource. But if you've a spare $100, maybe you can check out it out for me and get back to me? :-D

Anyway, that's a long answer to, I have no idea how the respected elders of flash learned, but something tells me it's far closer to a few years in the School of Hard Knocks than most anything else we can now teach ourselves via the internet. They're all trying to distill it into an article or seminar day or three, but I'm not sure it can be.





**As a side note, I think it's high time I change my profile from Beginner to Intermediate. Boy do I wish Nikonians had an "Advanced Beginner" category, in part because I feel like a fool calling myself an "Intermediate" when my SB-600 et. al. show me even less respect than your SB-700 seems to show you. Seems like they had the same parents, little-to-no proper home training.

But the truth is I haven't been a "Beginner" by any stretch of the word for a very long time now.

So I'm giving myself a promotion. Yay. Me.






— LaDonna, feeling very dubious about her new status but finally sucking it up and deciding to deal with it …
_________________________________
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberTue 06-Aug-13 06:25 PM
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#5. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 4


Phoenix, US
          

LaDonna:

Thanks for joining the discussion.

I really admire your spirit and sense of humor! These wonderful attributes will help you conquer the dreaded "Flash Photography" beast.

You bring up a good point: Everyone has their own, preferred learning style. Some can read a book and get it, while others need a hands-on classroom session or three. Still others must watch someone else, or take an on-line tutotial, before the lights come on. (pardon the pun, I couldn't resist. )

When I started with my intitial pair of SB800s, there were no local experts, books, classes, tutorials, etc. I had to brute force my way through the two days or so mentioned earlier. It finally came together.

Another thing to consider. When shooting with available illumination only, the photographer can control three exposure variables: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO as required to achieve an acceptable image. This can be done in full-manual, or full-automatic mode, your choice.

When you add fill-flash (speedlights) to the mix, now the photographer can control four exposure variables: aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and supplemental illumination. This can also be done in full manual to full automatic mode.

The distinction between ambient only versus ambient plus fill-flash illumination is important, and assumes a solid working knowledge of shutter, aperture, and ISO relationships.

Yes, the Nikon speedlight instruction manuals are a bit cryptic. In my view, they could have done a better job in getting first-time users started.

My SB700 came with two instruction manuals: 1) the big one with everything and more, which I view as a reference manual. 2) a smaller (22 page, 4 x 5 inch) pocket sized booklet titled: "SB700: A collection of example photos. This booklet introduces various SB700 flash techniques and example photos." This latter booklet is much simpler, showing speedlight setups and liberally illustrated with color photos.

You may be the type that will learn most rapidly with one-on-one instruction. If we were closer, I would gladly volunteer. Last year in November, Karen Willshaw, Nikonian moderator, came to Phoenix from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean and spent two weeks with us. We had a wonderful time, including a trip to the Arizona Grand Canyon, etc. Lots of one-on-one time together, including incident exposure metering, color temperature metering, speedlights in on-camera and remote configurations, soft boxes, beauty dishes, etc. If you should be coming this way anytime in the near future, let me know.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 08-Aug-13 04:01 PM
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#6. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

Hi LaDonna,

>Anyway, that's a long answer to, I have no idea how the
>respected elders of flash learned, but something tells me it's
>far closer to a few years in the School of Hard Knocks than
>most anything else we can now teach ourselves via the
>internet. They're all trying to distill it into an article or
>seminar day or three, but I'm not sure it can be.

I learned how to use flash when 100% Manual exposure control and 100% Manual Flash control was the Standard for 35mm film photography before cameras had Auto exposure modes much less TTL, or even Auto Flash mode. One had to wait for the film to be developed before being able to see the results. That could mean anywhere from a few hours to more than a month after shooting the image, So School of Hard Knocks would be appropriate. The instant feedback that digital cameras provide reduced the learning curve by several orders of magnitude especially since the Exif data can be viewed any time. In the film days you had to remember your settings or write them down in a note book.
When Auto flash control was introduced the sensor in the flash unit made using flash much easier. When TTL flash control was introduced, using flash got even easier to capture a well exposed image.

I suspect that you don't like the "Deer in Headlights" look using direct flash.
Try bouncing the flash off of a white ceiling or wall. You could also try using a diffuser, bounce card, or other light modifier. The true magic happens when you take full control of the light by getting the flash off the camera. Wireless CLS gives you the option of using TTL or Manual flash control. Like anything else it takes experience and practice to be proficient.

If your subjects face is constantly over exposed, dial in some negative flash compensation.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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BGD600 Registered since 19th Sep 2012Thu 15-Aug-13 02:07 PM
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#7. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 6


GB
          

Like some of the posters above, I had read a good few books on flash without really getting it - quite frustrating that most of my attempts were hit and miss at best.

Then I had the good fortune to read Bryan Peterson's book on off camera flash, which provided the much needed lightbulb moment. I can't recommend it enough

  

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Betty L Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Aug 2012Sat 17-Aug-13 03:16 PM
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#8. "RE: Is 'Flashaphobe' a term?"
In response to Reply # 7


Oklahoma City, US
          


When I first got into serious photography, back when the D70 was new, flash stumped me, too. At that time I was mainly shooting birds in my back yard. I needed fill flash to bring out the feather detail and colors.

I consistently blew out the birds. I posted my feeble attempts on the Nikonians in the Wildlife forum. I got all sorts of advice and tips about various things, but not one person said a word about using negative flash compensation. I continued to blow out the birds.

Finally, months later, somebody told me to dial around minus 1.3 to 1.7 on the speedlight (I play with this a bit depending on how far away the bird is from the flash) and wow, did that make a difference.

Now, whether I am shooting birds or people, I am a dedicated compensation photographer. With people outdoors, I can use my Gary Fong light modifier or just minus comp without the modifier for fill flash. The secret is just using enough power to get a natural looking image without obviously thinking, "that was flashed". With birds, I adjust the compensation up or down, look at what I get with the first shot and adjust again if needed. It's very easy on my SB800, there is a + and a - facing me on the flash and while the flash is active, I press those buttons to get what I need. If I'm shooting people indoors at family gatherings, I try to bounce the flash if possible. You need a white wall or ceiling for that.

Like you, the flash was probably the hardest thing for me to understand. Camera? No prob. Photoshop, OK, got a Kelby easy-to-understand book.
I'm not a manual person. I just can't seem to glean what I need to from manuals or understand it. Recently (very) I began getting into CLS. I now have three SB800s. I very recently tried off camera flash for the first time with two and love it, and am eagerly awaiting experimenting with three. I still have to buy another light stand, something with a hole in it so I can use my umbrella.

The people on this forum have been great to answer my questions, so you've come to the right place.

Betty

  

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