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Fill Light

Posted by
john4jack (Corvallis, Oregon, United States) on 3 July 2009 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

This delphinium shot used a little bit of off camera flash fill light. I used what I learned in my Nikonians workshop. (I set the on camera flash in Commander Mode and disable its power output. Then I set the camera flash mode to Rear Curtain sync if I want to show the background, and use Normal sync if I want the background to be black. With rear curtain sync, I adjust the exposure compensation on the camera for the ambient light. A diffuser dome is put on the flash, which is held externally. The power of the flash is dialed down for fill flash. There is a constant playing with the numbers, which I hope that experience will reduce.)

"Photography is like a meditation for me. It is such a concentrated moment." Stephanie Torbert

NIKON D300 1/320 second F/8.0 ISO 200 157 mm (35mm equiv.)

Lydie et Roland from BESANCON, France

Blue blue blue.... I lke it ! A beautiful floral composition.

3 Jul 2009 5:44am

@Lydie et Roland: Thank you; the delphinium are stunning in the garden; photographs don't do them justice.

Nicholas from Shah Alam, Malaysia

Light looks a bit harsh but I think I like the effect. Nice.

3 Jul 2009 5:50am

@Nicholas: I softened the light a slight amount.

Dulcie from Danville, United States

Beautiful blues and lovely background. Worth all the effort, though I don't understand any of it. I find it a little challenging to get good photos of flowers on tall stocks. You have done it. Very inspiring. (PS: I like your blog page color!! ;-)

3 Jul 2009 6:59am

@Dulcie: Thanks, Dulcie. The background is similar to the one in Lightroom. What color do you use?

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Beautiful shot.. lovely light and the dark background makes it more interesting!

3 Jul 2009 7:57am

@Sarito: Thank you.

Sof from Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Très bel éclairage

3 Jul 2009 8:05am

@Sof: Merci.

zOOm from Paris, France

I like teh way this flower seems to attract light onto her petals. It's simply amazing and utterly nice. Well done too for the black background, revealing her elegant shapes.

3 Jul 2009 8:31am

@zOOm: Merci, Flo.

Marie-Hélène Ammor from Casablanca/Paris, Morocco

beautiful ! The line from angles is superb , the light ,details DOf are marvellous !

3 Jul 2009 8:42am

@Marie-Hélène Ammor: Merci, Marie.

MrsAmber from West Wickham, United Kingdom

Wonderful detail on the petals and a glorious colour!

3 Jul 2009 8:56am

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

You've taken it perfectly, how beautiful they are, and that Royal Blue is to die for, well done and thanks for sharing your technical expertise :)

3 Jul 2009 9:34am

@Lorraine: Thank you, Lorraine.

Elena Kotrotsou from Drossia, Greece

Absolutely beautiful! I love the dark background!

3 Jul 2009 10:12am

Marie LC from Voiron, France

Très belle mise en lumière et des bleus extraordinaires

3 Jul 2009 11:24am

@Marie LC: Merci, Marie.

dj.tigersprout from New York City, United States

a wonderful balance of delicate light, color and form! beautiful!

3 Jul 2009 11:28am

@dj.tigersprout: Thanks, dj.

Vachel from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

nice composition and beautiful flower..

3 Jul 2009 11:47am

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

This turned out wonderfully! The flash looks so natural Thanks for sharing the "How to." Hope you and your family have a great 4th :)

3 Jul 2009 1:12pm

@Tracy: Thanks, Tracy. The 4th festivities began with granddaughter, Fiona, overnighting last night; she is a kick. She should have a new sister by this time next week. Tomorrow is the parade, Bar-B-Q and fireworks.

Betty from New Jersey, United States

Your lesson worked very well, Jack! It sounds very complicated, but the result is fantastic!

3 Jul 2009 1:24pm

@Betty: It's actually not complicated at all. Once my default numbers are dialed in, I make necessary adjustments based upon my initial shot. It's actually no more time consuming than available light shots. In many ways, I like the Ring Ray (see tomorrow's blog} better than fill flash.

xavier cardell from menorca-barcelona, Spain

Good light and composition Jack. Great!

3 Jul 2009 1:39pm

@xavier cardell: Gracias.

B. Thomas from Arlington, Texas, United States

Sounds a lot more complicated that putting a hankie over the flash. ;-) Very intense colors.

3 Jul 2009 1:59pm

Irene from Les Coteaux, France

I love composition and light !

3 Jul 2009 3:00pm

@Irene: Thanks, Irene.

Don from spokane, United States

Your developing technique has produced a fine flower shot. I like the description of your procedure. As you gain more experience you'll probably develop a few alternates to keep in mind and vastly reduce the computation aspect.

3 Jul 2009 3:11pm

@Don: I have a default set of numbers. Already I am aware to some degree with what changes need to be made for different shots. The good news is that once I look at the LCD, I know what changes, if any, need to be made. Where it gets complicated is with multiple external flashes, especially when doing portrait work; fortunately, I don't do portrait work.

mo.langel from Courtelary, Switzerland

Splendide image Jack, la couleur et les fleurs sont magnifiques!

3 Jul 2009 3:19pm

@mo.langel: Merci, Mo.

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

Honestly, your explanation was way too complicated for me right now...... All I can say is your result is extraordinary, so whatever you're doing, it's working well!!!! Have a great weekend!!!

3 Jul 2009 4:24pm

@Susan: It really is quite simple. Set up the flash menu in the camera. Set up the external flash with the appropriate power. Put a diffusion dome on the flash. Hold the flash with an extended arm. Push the shutter button. Look at your results and make appropriate adjustments.

khadi from New Delhi, India

Beautiful. I really like how the black background sets of the blue blossoms.

3 Jul 2009 4:45pm

@khadi: The flash created the black background.

sawsengee from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

magnificent macro, beautiful lighting & colours.....the flowers seem to pop out from the dark background

3 Jul 2009 5:37pm

@sawsengee: Thank you; you are very kind.

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

A really nice job. You got the numbers right. :-)

3 Jul 2009 6:02pm

@Steve Rice: Thanks, Steve.

MARIANA from waterloo, Canada

Excellent balance between light, colors and composition .

3 Jul 2009 6:41pm

@MARIANA: Thank you, Mariana.

Onlymehdi from Wayne, United States


3 Jul 2009 7:49pm

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

nice diagonal fram ,jack ,beautiful flowers again !!
friendships !good week end !

3 Jul 2009 9:45pm

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

Thanks for the info. What external flash did you use? By the way - great composition here.

3 Jul 2009 10:41pm

@PD: Thanks, PD. I used the Nikon SB-600 for this one. My primary flash is a SB-800.

k@ from Paris, France

Oh yes, that light ! First time i saw such a vegetal lamp !

3 Jul 2009 11:10pm

Mary from PA, United States

This is lovely Jack!!!! I'm very fond of blue flowers :)

4 Jul 2009 1:04am

@Mary: Thanks, Mary; you strike me as being fond of all flowers.

Scott Schilling from San Martin, United States

Wonderful with the blue and the deep background - I also like the little one in the background that is lit up - it gives an added dimension of depth to the image! Great work with the flash Jack!!

4 Jul 2009 2:29am

@Scott Schilling: Thanks, Scott; I still prefer to work in available light, but there are times that a flash really helps.

willow from Chelsea, United States

Beautiful! Sounds a little complicated for me, but well worth the effort.

4 Jul 2009 3:03am

Nicole from Komono, Japan

I agree with willow... sounds too complicated for me to understand, but love the result!

4 Jul 2009 3:47am

@Nicole: Sounds more complicated than it is.

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

I just love this colour...somewhere between blue and on the verge of purple. The ligh tis amazing!

4 Jul 2009 4:18am

Francesc B. from région parisienne, France

Exquisite light and blues... dark background works well.

4 Jul 2009 9:08am

Yvonne Simons from Tilburg, Netherlands

Gorgeous!! beautiful blue!

4 Jul 2009 10:00am

Lesley from Lincoln, United States

Stunning colors! I love delphs. Unfortunately, so do the rabbits that live in my garden. :(

4 Jul 2009 3:01pm

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Beautiful light and colors

5 Jul 2009 12:51pm

Sarah from Suisse, Switzerland

Can really get a sense of the texture on this one. Great.

5 Jul 2009 2:27pm

Tammy-Cricket from United States

Oh so soft and lovely. I love anything blue in my garden.

5 Jul 2009 7:05pm

Barbara from Florida, United States

The color is stunning. I like the black background eliminating any distraction. I can appreciate your explaination on your use of light. The light really brought out the textures of the petals.

6 Jul 2009 4:58am

Toni from Eastern Washington, United States

The delphinium is beautiful, Jack. Such a gorgeous blue.

6 Jul 2009 7:01am

JamesC from portland, United States


6 Jul 2009 3:38pm

alice faletto from cuneo, Italy

very beautiful!!!!!!!!!!

6 Jul 2009 8:58pm