Sunday, May 2, 2010

Flash + ambient, indoors (part 1)


After that doggy break, back to the lighting exercises. This time I’m trying to balance flash and ambient indoors. It was late in the evening, so my ambient was 100% artificial lighting. I adjusted my flash until the vase looked Ok (1/8th). In looking back, I think the above exposure was just right, but I wanted the vase just a little bit brighter, so I dialed up the flash, resulting in a lot more spill in the background, as you’ll find out after the jump.

Here’s the ambient-only exposure at f/5.6 (Note to self: f/5.6 because my zoom lens won’t go wider when fully zoomed) and a shutter speed of 1/200 (all were shot at ISO 400):


As I mentioned, I wanted a bit more light on the vase, so I finally went with for 1/8th + 0.7 for the flash (my 430 EX II). Unfortunately, that amount of flash also caused a bit more light spill to the background wall:


Now I started adding more ambient, a bit at a time, by opening up my shutter (using a slower shutter speed to allow more ambient to register in the final exposure). Here’s 1/100:


And 1/50:


You can clearly see the yellow halo spreading out on the wall and ceiling there in the background. The only change is my shutter speed, I’m still at ISO 400 and f/5.6 (Self: Dude! Thanks for the note on why you used that aperture!).

Let’s skip 1/25 and take a look at 1/13:


Now let’s look at 1/6th and 1/4th:



Here, the lamp is clearly blown out, and the background is quite yellow (you can even see some yellow reflections on the vase), so the ambient is now affecting the exposure on the vase itself (Do’h, I forgot an ambient-only photo at these settings).

And here’s the setup shot:


This was a very interesting exercise, and I enjoyed it a lot. I made some mental notes for my next indoor balancing exercise, mostly having to do with avoiding spill on my background. Stay tuned!

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