One of my favorite times to shoot landscapes is when a thick fog has descended on the land and engulfed everything in sight. It is a magical thing to experience, and for fine art nature photographers it doesn't get any better. We all love to shoot scenes with brilliant, saturated colors and crystal clear air typical of well-known national parks like Bryce Canyon and Monument...
There are many fun and creative images you can create with flash if you allow yourself to think outside the box. In the past when we all shot film, we had to wait until the film came back from the lab to see the results. If the pictures weren’t what we wanted, we’d have to start over and figure out how to improve the images on the next roll of film.
You have several Exposure mode choices on the camera, and they affect the exposures you get when using flash. They even have a bearing on the color balance in your pictures. For example, notice in the picture of my wife and Rexie, our great Pyrenees, that the color of the light in the background is yellowish while the lighting in the foreground is white without any apparent color shift. I was able to do this because I used Aperture Priority to choose a narrower aperture which, in turn, forced the shutter speed to be slower. Av helps to give you a correct exposure not just for the light emanating from the flash, but it helps make the ambient light in the room expose correctly as well. In so doing, it picks up the color of the room lights. In this case, since I was using a daylight white balance (which is the same WB as for flash—it correctly balances light that is 5500k degrees Kelvin) the tungsten lights in the room turned out yellowish.
To fully understand your flash, there are some basic principles and definitions I need to explain. When I start discussing how to be creative with your flash, you will know what I’m talking about with this information under your belt. Flash is not difficult once you understand some fundamental principles. I will start from the beginning and take you step by step to the point where it will seem like no big deal to get excellent flash pictures.
We don’t normally speak of soft drinks and flowers in the same sentence, but there is a very cool technique that brings these two unlikely subjects together. Actually, you can use any kind of seltzer water or flavored water that is carbonated. Put the carbonated clear liquid in a glass or plastic container with clear and flat sides, and when you submerge the flowers in the liquid the bubbles cling to the petals. This is a unique subject matter for macro work, and with dramatic lighting the results can be quite beautiful.
You can create remarkable multicolored and monochromatic abstracts by dropping individual drops of food coloring in to water. The way the color mixes with the water is endlessly fascinating, constantly changing, and it produces images that are worthy of being framed.
I live in Tennessee, and in this part of the country it doesn’t get cold enough in autumn to see colorful leaves frozen in local rivers. When I first moved here, I had been hoping to get shots like that, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t going to happen. I came up with an idea to get the shots I wanted, though, and it worked out quite well. I was able to create artistic and colorful macro shots in which I had total control as opposed to finding beautiful patterns serendipitously.
There are many situations that you will encounter in your travels domestically as well as internationally where picture taking is prohibited. It’s a constant problem. One of the things I’ve learned over many years is that permission can often be granted to allow you to take the pictures you want. It just takes time, perseverance, sometimes money, and always luck.
Digital technology has revolutionized photography. So much has changed. The terminology is different, the ability to make our images perfect after the fact is a new concept, and the instant gratification of seeing our photos in a microsecond allows us to correct our mistakes on the fly. At the same time, the digital world is fraught with challenges, and photographers have never had to deal with...