Monday, June 25, 2012

Flash vs Flashlight

     Ok, so I got a speedlite.  Big whoop!  I never thought learning about flash was this hard.  I read people say it's easy.  And I had a couple of shots using it.  But really, it's mostly frustrating.

     I called Mint to hang out in Meow's quarters (without Meow and Meow's permission... so I had to be quick).  The puppy was excited and kept moving around.  I should not be surprised but there really is a difference when taking pictures of a cat, over a dog.  At some point, I finally got to calm Mint down and settled on Meow's bed... yes, I know it's a crime.

     I started off with some lighting positions I'm familiar with.  Trouble is, Mint is a dog!  I can't make her stay still for a couple of seconds.  This is very bad when trying on some dramatic lighting.  So I decided to go back to basics.  After all, I have not done many of those, so I need practice.  Flash mounted on camera, I started clicking away.

All For The Eyes
When I was taking pictures of Mint before, I got frustrated that I don't see much of her eyes.  It was pure black that time.  This time, it's still black but apparently not so much.  I decided to break some rules and overexpose the image, just to show her eyes... Well, it worked and I liked it.

Fake Tired
I can not stress enough how difficult it is to take pictures of an energetic puppy.  This was my last shot of Mint as he lunged and licked the lens right after I hit the shutter.  Phew!

     With so many clicks and yet getting not much results that I like, I decided to move on.  I believe there's no learning happening when you keep pushing it, but leads to nothing.  So I thought I'd go out and revisit the abandoned factory.  I knew there were 2 spots I needed some light on, to take shots.

     Walking up to the factory, I passed by a scene that kept bugging me.  The first time I saw this, I revolved around it, above and below, near and far, trying to make a composition out of the subject.  There's something about this subject that's screaming my name but I just can't envision a good shot out of it.

The way I see it, this fridge is done with alcohol and started vomiting soju.  Yes, this shot is horrible and I even made it worse through post-process.  I hate it but I like the scene.  I too, have been sober for years now.

     At the factory, I already know where to look.  It's just a matter of using the speedlite.  Now, back when I did a photo-walk with some fellow photographers in Seoul, one of them was using his flash off-camera, using a shoe cord.  Although I much prefer using the camera's assist, I still got curious on how to work with such set-up that I bought a shoe cord myself.  So off to this particular subject and I clicked as many as I thought ought to be, with the flash at different angles and distances that I could think of.  It is very much opposite to what I'm used to (I don't like wasting so many clicks) but I think this is the only way to learn with this flash thingy... I hate the process, I'm liking the results.

Left Alone
I don't know who put this wood up there.  I don't know its own story.  But I find it very interesting and creepy.  I could only imagine what it looks like before this factory went down.  What this drawing of a girl (seems like) has seen.

     Later on, I realized I'm not liking what I'm going through.  I have one more subject to shoot and it's crucial that I get the results I want on each shot.  I decided to use a large flashlight with this.  I have more control over the range and flow of light, and I have a bit more experience with this.  Post-processing will surely be a nightmare if I keep taking pictures of the same frame with different experimental speelite flashes.  So constant light, it is.

Electronic Ghost
Shooting in total darkness, using long exposures, light painting, and 8 frames, this is one of my pride and joy.  I love the result but it's the process that I'm mostly proud of.  I got the exact results from each shot, without retakes.  The only part that wasn't on my plan was that light coming from my headset.  But I liked what it added to the image.

     At the end of the day, I realized that fields are easier to learn by others.  I've read some articles and forums where people complain about light painting using a flashlight.  I've also read some articles stating it's not that easy once you go in-depth with strobes.  I think I belong to those people.  The ones who just can't execute ideas without seeing a preview first.  Still, I want to learn more about using flash.  I'm sure there will come a time when I have no choice but to use it.

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