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12-01-2022, 03:50 PM - 9 Likes   #1
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Clackers' Beginners Tip 50: Using on-camera flash outdoors

Good morning all. I feel like we're friends, and can tell you this: I have a fear of speed bumps.

But I'm slowly getting over it.

And I know my friends are talented. One of them has designed an invisible airplane.

I can't see it taking off, though.

This week, I want to mention the use of speedlights.

They're compact and light compared to studio strobes, have more power than your inbuilt flash and ones like the Pentax 540 can have their heads spun around to bounce off walls and ceilings. They do lack power compared to studio strobes, so you have to be close to the subject or the ambient light levels have to fall, and at full or half power, they take time to recharge and you have to slow down your shot taking. But speedlights beat strobes when you're travelling or shooting events because of the convenience. You will often see press or wedding photographers with a flash seemingly glued to the top of their camera.

I advise getting a flash that supports Pentax P-TTL ... that's a method by which the flash power is set automatically after a test flash is fired. There are some circumstances where people can blink because of that test flash, in which case you would change the flash to manual mode. I think the flash is much better than using continuous light like a reflector because if it falls directly on the face instead of, say, under the chin, anyone but an experienced model ends up squinting.

Examples of P-TTL flashes are Pentax's own 360 and 540 series, the Shanny SN600FGZ, the Godox TT350P and Yongnuo YN585EX (which only works up to 1/180s or 1/200s shutter speed). Flashes can often be purchased secondhand because like musical instruments and exercise equipment, people often buy them without the discipline to learn how to use them properly. Their loss, your win!

If you like, you can use ND filters outside to make sure your aperture stays high and you can get subject isolation without making the shutter speed very high, which is draining on the flash.

In Beginners Tip 45, I talked about the principles of getting a nice exposure of a subject outside with built-in flash, and those principles remain the same with hotshoe flash. Get the exposure right for the background before turning on the flash.

I normally then set it at one stop under using the Exposure Compensation dial. Then take a picture of your subject with the flash on and see if it is too bright or not bright enough for what you want it to be - key light or fill.

Using the camera's Flash Exposure Control, dial the flash up or down according to taste and review the test pics - I often begin at -1 stops for the subject as well. Note that you can also use the flash's own Flash Exposure Control dial cumulatively with the camera's.

On a bright day, you may prefer matching hard light and have just bare flash like in the picture below with the K-1 and DFA28-105 kit lens, while on an overcast day you might like matching the diffuse light by putting a portable softbox over it. You may find your setup changes dramatically throughout the course of the day suiting the conditions.

To finish with, there's the story of the man who wants to become a Buddhist monk so he goes to the monastery and talks to the head monk, who says,

“You must take a vow of silence and can only say two words every three years.”

The man agreed and after the first three years, the head monk came to him and said, “What are your two words?”

“Food cold!” the man replied.

Three more years went by and the head monk came to him and said “What are your two words?”

“Robe dirty!” the man exclaimed.

Three more years went by and the head monk came to him and said, “What are your two words?”

“I quit!” said the man.

“Well,” the head monk replied, “I'm not surprised. You've done nothing but complain ever since you got here!”





Find the rest of the series here: Clackers' Beginners Tips (Collected) - PentaxForums.com

12-02-2022, 03:08 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Holy crap! FIFTY tips already!?!?
I've survived chuckling through the dad jokes this far, so it looks like I'll make it out alive!

I always want to say, "Oh, hey, that was a great one, Tom!" or Bob! or Billy-boy! But since I don't know your name, I'll have to say, "Thanks Mr, Clack! Another good tip!"

Thank you in all sincerity. These are good.
Chris
12-02-2022, 03:38 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
I always want to say, "Oh, hey, that was a great one, Tom!" or Bob! or Billy-boy! But since I don't know your name, I'll have to say, "Thanks Mr, Clack! Another good tip!"

Thank you in all sincerity. These are good.
His name is Ian. Clark. Hence the typically Aussie nickname.
And I concur with your accolade
12-02-2022, 04:07 AM   #4
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Thank you, Sandy! And thank you, Ian!


12-04-2022, 04:38 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
And thank you, Ian!
I appreciate it, Chris. It's coming up to a year of me producing this weekly crap.

Don't know how much more legs it's got, but at the moment, it's still fun.
12-05-2022, 01:11 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Very useful Ian. Daylight on-camera flash can turn a flat image into an interesting one. I hadn't thought of using bare flash with a very bright day, I might give it a whirl.

Also experimenting with filters on the flash can give some impressive results.
12-07-2022, 09:25 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Also experimenting with filters on the flash can give some impressive results.
Yeah, those gels become very useful when the ambient light is a sunset or a tungsten lamp or whatever.

The key thing there is to really use the minimum power needed from the flash, because if too bright they go right through the coloured filter still white.

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