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In this installment of the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist.com publisher David Hobby employs compact flash units to light an outdoor environmental portrait of a beekeeper and his bees. For the portrait, David balances the light from two strobes with late-afternoon sunshine, using a snap-on grid to focus the light from one strobe and adjusting his camera's white balance to add warmth to shade-lit skin tones.
Next, David addresses a more challenging subject: a humming hive of honeybees. Working quickly for obvious reasons, David uses his camera's automatic, through-the-lens (TTL) flash-exposure mode along with a ring-light adaptor for the strobe. The course concludes with some insights on David's approach to lighting and his choice of subject matter.
So, I'm going to grab a flash and an Orbis, and I'm going to do something that a lot of people would consider heresy, but I really don't, and that's go into TTL mode. my thinking is, I want to be able to get in very quickly, shoot the picture, and get out. In fact, we may only do one or two frames, just in case this light upsets the bees, totally self-preservation. So rather than working out lighting angles and, and, and flash intensities, f-stops and such, I'm going to go to f11 to give me plenty of depth of field. I'm going to let the Orbis, which is, which is something I normally use for fill. And I'm literally never without this thing when I'm shooting people.
And I'm going to let it work as a macro ring light. And I think I'm just going to go straight TTL. I don't even think I'm going to use a second light. Because I don't want to make this any more complicated than it needs to be. I'm going to let the camera drive. Bees are close to medium grey. So, just going to go in, boom, boom, boom, on TTL, and get out. And he can put them back in, and hopefully, nobody gets stung. First thing I'm going to do is go back to daylight white balance, because I'm not using the sky as my light source, anymore. So I'm going to white balance onto daylight, going to ISO 200, because that the best quality ISO on my camera, and what I've got is a flash with a TTL cord.
I'm using everything on TTL. We're to go in nice and tight over the bees, But the first thing that I'm going to do before I shoot the bees is shoot something as a stand in so I don't have to spend any more time right over these guys than I need to. So I'm going to focus nice and close. And rather than focussing with my hand, this is an old 55 mm micro, I'm just going to come in until they're in focus. So, lean in just like this. (SOUND) And shoot. This ring light is going to give me a really cool macro light. I'm using it in the classic ring light mode which is not the way I normally use it but this is normally used as a fill light.
Right now, I'm using it as a main and only light. It'll give a really cool look to these bees in very close, and because we're working on TTL with an off camera TTL cord, it's going to do all the math. And all I need to do is bend in until this is in focus, fire a couple of frames and back out. And we're good. So the timing that I'm going to look for is, I'm actually going to look for the bees in a little bit of an interesting formation. That's the only variable I have. Everything else is solved. And I really just don't want to be hang, hanging around figuring out lighting ratios when there are bees two, three inches from my hand so. That's when I go to TTL.
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