Fill in shadows with fill flash

Filling in harsh shadows with flash and other handy tips.

 

Ah, summer. The crushed up Tums worked, the tomatoes turned green with no more rot, and now we have started eating them. What a sweet gushing taste, the taste of the sun and the earth in a perfect tomato.

The Ford Explorer that is new to us has turned out to be an incredible machine that happily takes us where we want to go.

Speaking of going places, if you plan to photograph outdoors when the sun is at its peak—creating harsh dark shadows on the subject—you will need Mr. Phil Flash, also known as Fill Flash.

Now you might be thinking, “Hmmm this guy has been in the noonday sun for too long, why would I use a flash outdoors on a bright sunny day?”.

I call it fill flash but you could also use a sheet of newsprint, a white cardboard, a white sheet, an electronic flash, or anything that will reflect or lighten facial shadows. No fill flash will give you deep sockets where the eyes should be and dark areas under the nose and chin, making the person look goulish.

If you are using the newsprint, paper or reflector type of fill, then you will be able to judge the effects as you get closer and angle the reflector.

Don’t overdo it; remember that you are filling in deep shadows. As for using a flash, try setting the flash to one stop less than the camera is set for. You do not want to overpower the existing light, just help it along.

I decided that I was going to photograph our trailer, also known as the “Travelling Bordello”, using fill flash.

(The trailer name came about because Les made all new red and gold lounge cushions and curtains to go along with our hand-crafted Wynan’s red mattress and bench cushions.)

I wanted the light to evenly fill the 6×13-foot space but it had to be soft. I put the flash on a monopod with an SP17 cord to my Nikon hotshoe and bounced the light up off of the white ceiling.

The Nikon was set manually at ISO 400, shutter speed 1/125, aperture f11. The flash was set to f11, allowing for one stop lost due to bounce. That means that the amount of fill flash falling on the subject would be f8.

Here are some more tips you might find useful during your late summer travels.

Ten inches of duct tape or in a pinch, Scotch tape, wrapped around your hand, sticky side out, is great for removing cat and dog hairs, and especially lint and dust from a photographic subject’s clothing or fabrics.

When setting up a tripod on a slippery floor, a double strip of duct tape fastened to the floor in front of the foot of the tripod leg will prevent slipping and sliding.

Cans of compressed air that are sold for photographic use are fine for blowing dust off old negatives and slides and blowing out camera bags. But they should be used only on the outside of the camera, because inside they may damage the camera sensor or stain the mirrors in reflex cameras.

Use a small hand blower or syringe to blow out the inside of the camera. Because the blower is manually operated, the amount of pressure can be controlled and the long snout will enable you to reach into those hard to get areas.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net.

Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in Port Alberni.

Just Posted

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Port Alberni council looking at nearly 4% tax increase for 2019

Policing, bridge rehabilitation and impending cruise ship visits all jostling for funding

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Australian woman killed in avalanche while snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but the woman died in hospital

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Most Read