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Thread: Flash fill light for birding

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    Flash fill light for birding

    Do you ever use flash fill light for birding in deep dark bush or late afternoon?

    Do you turn the flash output down? Do you use a diffuser?

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    Found this article that answers heaps of my questions -

    http://www.australianphotography.com...wildlife-shots

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    I use an on-camera Speedlite in the rainforest.

    Generally, I apply the following:

    • If it is very dark (i.e. very often...) I just set ETTL II on the Speedlite and dial in Flash Exposure Compensation as required.
    • If there is danger that the camera will try to set a too low shutter speed (i.e. 1/30 sec or less), I set TV Mode and choose 1/200 sec, wide open and let the Speedlite ETTL II do all the calculations.
    • If the bird(s) are darting back and forth, I always set ETTL II on the Speedlite.
    • If the subject remains at the same distance, then it might pay to experiment with Manual Mode so you can control the flash output for a better balance with the ambient.


    Ideally, I would like to get the Speedlite off the camera but have not yet found a decent walk around bracket for this.

    Cheers

    Dennis
    Dennis

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    Appreciated Dennis, thank you.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Good advice from Dennis.

    I often use fill flash, nearly always on an off-camera bracket attached to my tripod. Fill flash is a really, really useful tool.

    Exposure is challenging. I start by dialing in -2/3rds flash exposure compensation (FEC). I quite often adjust to less fill than that (e.g., -1 & 1/3rd FEC, whatever provides a nice balance) but only seldom any more - too much fill and you start to get unnatural looking pictures a lot of the time.

    So -2/3rds FEC and aperture priority set flat or (more often) - 1/3rd EC. That's the start where you just want to lift the foreground a little. When it's too dark to do that, I switch to manual exposure, still leaving the camera to figure out the flash (aka ETTL) and adjusting both the FEC and the manual exposure settings to get the lighting I want. It takes a bit of practice but the results are very, very rewarding.

    One tip: whenever you are in doubt, take a few test shots of a leaf or something before you have a real bird in the frame.

    Good luck and enjoy!
    Tony

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

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