The Dark Side

The Dark Side

f/11, 1/80, ISO-100, 50mm

For two years I’ve been studiously avoiding flash photography. I’ve used the pop-up flash on my camera occasionally when I absolutely had to have more light, or to experiment with. But 99% of my photography has been without flash. I’ve challenged myself to get photographs using only the available light and my wits, and I think that over the months the challenge has proved useful.

But I had a request to do an early morning portrait, like 30 minutes before sunrise portrait, in the middle of a wooded area, and I was out of tricks. There will be no available light, there won’t be any way for me to bring my own ambient light. So I went to the dark side, and ordered myself a flash. I have exactly 3 nights to learn how to use it before I have to do the real thing.

This is my first attempt. The location is the middle of my living room. The flash is on a tripod to the left and slightly to the rear, and pointed away from the scene. I used a white reflector to direct the light back to the subject more softly. Despite the months of resolve to not use a flash, I have at least made myself familiar with the theory. I can see I have a lot of room to improve, but for my very first attempt I’m very pleased with this result. A special thank you to my lovely wife for suggesting the subject. Tomorrow I’ll have to come up with a way to challenge myself further.

This entry was posted in Flash Lighting, Holiday, Indoor, Photography and tagged , , , .


  1. LyndaMichele January 23, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I have those exact same reindeer, and I’ve had them for almost 30 years! I love them, they are one of my favorite Christmas decorations 🙂

    • AJBopp January 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      These originally belonged to my mother in law. My wife enjoys them so much she has them on permanent display in our china cabinet.

  2. csd7227 January 24, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    I had the same reservations about flash. I still don’t use it a lot, but it has helped me make some interesting images.

  3. naturephotorehab January 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Well done. Flash photography of glass objects is very difficult because of unpredictable (sometimes uncontrollable) and distracting bright highlights. You have an image that many pros would be proud of.

    • AJBopp January 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Wow. Thank you so much for that encouragement. I know so little about this stuff sometimes that it didn’t occur to me that photographing glass would be terribly difficult, but now that you mention it I understand perfectly what you mean. I guess a little ignorance can be a good thing sometimes 🙂

  4. Michele February 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Wow! That’s fabulous! Hard to believe you hardly ever shot with flash before. I know what you mean though. I also have been shooting almost exclusively natural light, or lamplight or computer light; any light except flash.

    • AJBopp February 4, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks! I clearly need some more practice as my results are inconsistent at best, but so far I am enjoying flash photography.

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