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Thread: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    On Friday evening 28 of us from Glenfarg hired/rented a coach and went off to the 'Sheip's Heid' pub in Duddingston, Edinburgh for a night at the Skittles Alley that's attached to the pub. I think Skittles is best described as 10-pin bowling without any of the high-tech. This is back-room of the pub stuff ... and great fun.

    Anyway, this was my first serious outing with the 580EX II flashgun, since I got it. And this is so far outwith my comfort zone that I would really welcome constructive comments. This was a learning exercise. So, please let rip and say what you think. It will all be valuable learning.

    I don't usually post a set like this, but I'm interested in broad comments about style/approach/general competence. If you wish to comment on one or other image individually, please do.

    Because it was a bit of fun, I went a bit overboard on PP, including vignettes, just to see what I could do.

    These are some examples from the 16 that I retained and processed through to a final image.

    #1
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #2
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #3
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #4
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #5
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #6
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #7
    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Thanks for getting this far down the post!

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    I like #2. If you are serious about flash stuff, you could get a softbox on a stick, or/and a couple of portable reflectors, a radio trigger and some help to hold the softbox.

    Should only cost a couple of hundred but then you can go to town. I don't do much flash because it's stuck on the camera, bouncing is difficult and the nearest person is going to be the brightest.

    Bouncing is difficult because walls are coloured and I tried bouncing of a mirror once and completely missed the subject. But you could get a 1 metre reflector and bounce off that; softbox is the best way though.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Steve

    Thanks for your comments. I was working with the flash unit off-camera via my 3m ETTL cord. I do have a Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsable. However, given that I had taken stuff out of my big bag and put it in the smaller bag for the purposes of the exercise, I was half-way to Edinburgh when I realised I had not packed it. So, I was working with a bare flash, albeit there was a convenient white(ish), sloping and not very high ceiling I could use for bouncing.

    The morale of the tale - Don't forget to plan properly!

  4. #4
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Donald, nice first efforts for sure. I could tell you that fall off is less when the flash is further from the subjects, but I imagine you already know this. I don't see Anything blown out or glowing retinaes so that is good start!
    Off subject a little - did you consider other flashes? Do you have other flashes? I was wondering what swayed you on the 580 as I am considering one of these myself. Also the 430. If you would rather stay on subject, please do so and ignore my questions

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Off subject a little - did you consider other flashes? Do you have other flashes? I was wondering what swayed you on the 580 as I am considering one of these myself. Also the 430. If you would rather stay on subject, please do so and ignore my questions
    Brian - No problem. That's the beauty of this forum - we just follow wherever the subject goes!

    This is my only flash unit.

    I actually thought I wasn't really someone who wanted or needed a flash unit. But this thing has been gnawing at me for a long time about wanting to do a project about my community - and that would involve people at work in the village and relaxing. I'm not or ever will be, a studio photographer in the way that Colin, for example, is, nor an 'expert' people shooter, in the way that he and Kay (wilgk), as another example, are.

    I never have got properly into that project, primarily I have to admit to myself, because of a self-consciousness that they will think 'Who does he think he is?'. But that's me, not them! For example, all those folk on Friday evening were quite happy for me to be flashing away all evening! And they are all my friends.

    Anyway, that's not what you were asking.

    Once I'd made up my mind to get a flash unit, I was in the fortunate position of being able to buy what so many people and review sites were saying was the best for Canon users, the 580EX II. I know I don't, yet, use it to it's full capability or capacity. But I've got the chance to grow and it will be ready and able for me to grow into it.

  6. #6
    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    #2 for is the best but I like them all. I really enjoy the way you have captured the expressions of everyone. It looks like everyone is enjoying "Duckpin Bowling". It never crossed my mind to convert to B&W with a flash. I am not sure I have seen this done lately. I also have bought a 580exII within the last couple of months but am failing miserably using it.

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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Don, I think it is a pub, i do not know it is a English pub or Irish pub, i like the atmosphere, because i used to be a bartender in a pub. pubs are the best place to recognize the different cultures belongs to different nationality.i went back my past when i see this pictures, i believe that you have captured nice shot even i can feel.
    expressions and gatherers are very natural. great work Don .... I NEVER FORGET THESE PICTURES.

  8. #8
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'm not or ever will be, a studio photographer in the way that Colin, for example, is, nor an 'expert' people shooter, in the way that he and Kay (wilgk), as another example, are.
    Donald - you are too kind! but you are a naughty fellow - I am not an expert in any field, I am a passingly good sports photographer who likes learning new things, so am trying to improve my people photography... Now that I've told you off, and forgiven you
    I will join your thread because I had a wee practice on the w/e as well, just on the other side of the world.
    To set the scene: after my seussical the musical cast portraits were done, I then made sure I was on the program design team, so that they looked good (or at least as I had submitted them) in print....
    well that seemed to work as now we have a music evening coming up and I have been asked to do a cover shot.

    I have some ideas and am trying to take a leaf out of Wirefox's Steve's guidebook here and have a plan for my end result before my wee finger hits the trigger...

    My plan is to highlight 1 student in that early evening time using tungsten white balance to get a moody blue sky but have an off camera flash firing at them with gel on it to correct skin tones.... this is a common sort of shot done for sportsmen portraits or guitarists with the guitar over their head....
    my idea is to do it with a classical musician student in full uniform but with the rock star guitarist pose... or a tiny wee student with a recorder and a yr 12 senior with a flute maybe...

    anyway part of any project is the planning - I plan to buy some gels!
    - but in the meantime I picked up some orange cellophane and went with that

    Of course my main model Miss fashionista was at work and the lad has no inclination to assist as a model so it was to man's best friend I went..

    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    now this was with me holding the flash off the camera and clearly by the model's reaction I was getting nowhere fast..
    Also the blue of the tungsten isn't showing up in this background (lesson 1 in portrait school = backgrounds)

    So I waited till Fashionista returned home and had to wait even longer till she got changed by this time I felt it was just past the time of evening I wanted and fractionally too dark... anyway I also enlisted our Japanese exchange student as a VAL and off we went..

    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    this one was the start - but still needed the sky...

    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    right about this point I remembered the never work with family rule, as she was 'cold' - 'hungry' 'tired' and in no way whatsoever was she going to sit on the ground in her new jeans or heaven forbid climb over the fence into the paddock where the cloud formation and grass would have been perfect!!

    So anyway we packed up for home, but I took a wrong turn and drove up next to some grass on the roadside, no fence climbing required

    Please I whined - just 1 - it's never just 1 with you she said, but ok and as a true model said I'm staying in the car till you have everything ready!

    So here is the final shot - not a true portrait pose as we shouldn't be looking up their nose, but with a musical instrument, and perhaps 2 students, I think the wide angle from down low might work...
    anyway the lesson from all of this, aside from life with a teenager! - is that when using flash you now have 5 variables in your exposure instead of 3...

    I say this as I have botched it on this one - the aperture, shutter speed and ISO are now joined by flash power setting and distance of flash from subject....
    this is too bright in the flash area... so should have either moved it back or reduced it's power either manually or by FEC
    I could say I didn't know the words for move back in Japanese of course

    This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    I'll keep you posted when I venture on the next step on this path..
    Sorry Donald I have forgotten to comment on your pics and made this reply all about me..... hmmm sorry mate -
    the guy with the hat is terrific for mine, maybe the shadow on the first one detracts from the pose/stance which is again super and the candid ladies spectators are lovely..

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Donald - you are too kind! but you are a naughty fellow - I am not an expert in any field, I am a passingly good sports photographer ...
    And she also does understatement!

    Thanks for coming in on the thread, Kay. Nice to see Fashionista again. Haven't seen her for ages. Working?

  10. #10

    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Donald

    I think you have done a great job with this series. No 3 is a favourite and I assume in no 2 the barmaid was bending over to change a barrel. You have used the flash to its best advantage for these situations and they are good documentary photographs. I can fully understand you wanting to capture this community...not many will get together to play skittles these days and I suspect we will soon lose scenes like this. I prefer the conversions in the first 3 but I am wondering what they would look like with the contrast bumped up a tad. It may give a more substantial gritty feel (nearer to No 4 but keeping the tone).

    you are too kind! but you are a naughty fellow - I am not an expert in any field, I am a passingly good sports photographer who likes learning new things, so am trying to improve my people photography... Now that I've told you off, and forgiven you
    And she also does understatement!
    You two have had a fistful of the same bashful pills. You really should get together and underrate your own works as a duo. If you have got it flaunt it, (but please keep the kilt on Donald).

  11. #11
    wilgk's Avatar
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    Re: This indoor stuff with artificial light - All so new and challenging

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    And she also does understatement!

    Thanks for coming in on the thread, Kay. Nice to see Fashionista again. Haven't seen her for ages. Working?
    Thanks Donald - yes, she is a busy wee thing nowadays, she has university 3 days per week, studying Journalism, media and Indonesian language... I am thiinking this might lead her to a career in Canberra, I am sure the government could use someone with her forthright nature to work on behalf of the refugees.
    She also has a new job, having moved from the fashion store to a telco store... Retail is very slow here currently so she was very fortunate to make the move, as the new store is always busy .....

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