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.
Digital cameras allow photographers to stretch the boundaries of what we can capture like never before. Using extremely high ISO settings like 25000, in-camera noise reduction algorithms, and expanded dynamic range capability, we can now photograph in low light situations and expect to use shutter speeds fast enough to take sharp pictures. This is truly revolutionary. However, there is a price to be paid, and that price is image quality. You just can’t expect a picture taken at ISO 25000 to be as sharp and to show fine detail with tack sharp clarity like a picture taken at ISO 200. There are limits to what advanced technology can deliver.
When we all shot film and our exposures were not perfect, there was very little we could do about our mistakes. All that has changed, and now we can make meaningful adjustments to the contrast, exposure and the color cast. It is a great time to be a photographer.
A vocabulary word I still remember from high school chemistry is immiscible. This refers to the fact that some liquids can’t mix together to form a homogenous solution. Oil and water are an example. When oil is mixed with water, no matter how long you stir, they will never blend together to become one liquid.
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.
It is disappointing when you travel somewhere hoping for beautiful weather, and instead of sunrise and sunset lighting, beautiful cloud formations, and comfortable temperatures, you face a rainstorm, a dull sky, or even a blizzard. While the pictures that you had in mind may not be possible, there are always great photographs that can be taken. It’s just a matter of expanding your thinking.
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.
One of the more interesting projects I’ve explored in photography is shooting birefringent crystals. Birefringence is the splitting of a light ray by a crystal into two components that are at different velocities and are polarized at right angles to each other. What this means in terms of photography is that when light passes through the crystals, you can see rainbow colors in the unique and beautiful forms that make up the crystal.
If this were a perfect world, ice cream would be good for you, celery would be fattening, and camera manufacturers would arrange the controls on all flash units in the same place. It’s too bad on all accounts.
Even though portable flash units have buttons and dials in different places, the basic functions of the various features are the same. In this section, I will go over them and explain when to use them. You will probably need to consult the manual that came with your flash to identify where the features I discuss reside on your unit. Whenever you travel away from home, it’s a good idea to have this manual with you because if you don’t use a function for a while, it’s easy to forget where it is and how to use it.