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08-23-2010, 03:19 PM   #1
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Using flash to "freeze" action.

A lot of us know that you can use your flash to freeze action in a situation where there is movement. My question is.... Will the freezing affect be degraded if the flash if filtered? By filtered, I'm referring to shooting through an umbrella, softbox, etc. I was doing some shooting using my umbrella, and the bee that was in the picture still had some blurring. Could be he was just out of the focus area, but I'm not 100% sure. Thoughts?

08-23-2010, 04:21 PM   #2
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The freezing effect stems from the fact that there's so little ambient light that regardless of the shutter speed, the only source of lighting in your photo is the short (yet strong) burst of the flash. I would therefore assume that if you diffuse the flash, you'd not only reduce the lighting on the subject itself, but also light up potentially-undesired areas of the photo. If any blur is introduce, however, I'd guess that it would be from reflections due to the diffuser.

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08-23-2010, 05:12 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by eccs19 Quote
A lot of us know that you can use your flash to freeze action in a situation where there is movement. My question is.... Will the freezing affect be degraded if the flash if filtered? By filtered, I'm referring to shooting through an umbrella, softbox, etc. I was doing some shooting using my umbrella, and the bee that was in the picture still had some blurring. Could be he was just out of the focus area, but I'm not 100% sure. Thoughts?
Was the flash on full-power or manual mode? Most flashes have a flash duration of around 1/1,000 second in full-power mode. That may not be enough to stop a bee. Those little suckers are fast. I'm sure it isn't fast enough to stop his wings.

I wouldn't think that the motion-freezing ability would be affected by an umbrella or softbox, other than the fact that you're probably shooting at the flash's longest duration of 1/1000 second. Umbrellas, softboxes or even colored gels won't affect the flash duration.

When used directly, you may be using the auto functions, which can reduce the flash duration to as little as 1/30,000, which, of course will be much more effective in stopping motion.

If you are using full-power, maybe stepping down to 1/2 or 1/4 power will help. Flash tubes can't really control the light output, so the flash unit controls the exposure by reducing the flash duration. So, if full power is 1/1000 second, half power should be 1/2000.
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