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Thread: How was this photo taken??

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    How was this photo taken??

    Hi all,

    I stumbled across this photo and thought it was really cool...but I couldn't work out how the photographer managed to get the fire trail together with a fairly crisp image of the fire twirler???

    http://1crazynite.smugmug.com/galler...72619583_EvGzy

    I would have though that a longer shutter speed would have resulted in much more blur around the edges of the person?

    Any ideas?

    Andrew.
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    flash maybe

    The brightest subject is the flames, the flame twirler would have been quite dark, during the exposure if a flash was triggered to light the twirler, that would imprint the 'still' twirler.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Maybe rear curtain flash? Ive seen a picture by Barry Danial of a couple in a ballroom dancing comp. The number on the back of the guy was perfectly in focus and the dress, feet shoes etc were swirling about. Lovely effect.

    Neil

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    That makes sense Rick. I hadn't thought of that. Something to remember for when I (eventually!) buy a speedlight!

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    I reckon I'd punt for second curtain flash as well
    Cheers David.

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    I'm going to have to google 'second curtain flash'...

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    second curtain flash is when you program the camera and flash to make the Flash fire just before the shutter (read curtain for simplicity) closes, rather than the usual firing when the shutter opens.

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    Yep, definitely flash and a fairly closed aperture, so the ambient light from the flames on his face do not expose his face any more when the shutter is left open. Also DOF looks pretty good too to suggest that.

    As for front or rear curtain, i guess it depends on which way he was twirling
    Neil
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    Is it too late to say that it was because of flash?

    I like some of the stuff this guy's done.

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    I would definatley lean towards second (or triling) curtain sync with the flash
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    Leading or trailing curtain flash. I would say the flash was set to quite a low power (1/4?) above and to camera left. The shutter speed would have been around 1/2-1" I would guess. Probably a smaller aperture like f/8 or smaller to compensate for the long exposure time.

    Here is a shot of mine giving a similar effect. I think the settings were Manual mode, 1/4", f/5.6, 18mm and flash in TTL mode. There is a whole gallery of shots there, but this is the closest to this effect.

    In the example you've posted the photographer is trying to expose for the fire rather than the person so the flash power would have also been preset.
    Adam.


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    How do you get an invite to a party like that?
    Cheers,
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    I reckon!

    The world of flash photography is pretty intimidating. Seems to be one of the trickiest aspects of photography in the digital age!

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    It really isn't any trickier in the digital age than it was pre digital. If truth be know with the advances in TTL technologies it could even be easier now than it was ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ploddy View Post
    How do you get an invite to a party like that?
    Hahaha, it was just a friends birthday. I got lumbered with taking photos, but it wasn't all bad...


    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    It really isn't any trickier in the digital age than it was pre digital. If truth be know with the advances in TTL technologies it could even be easier now than it was ??
    I think the biggest thing is you can review instantly and adjust settings on the fly. The days of carrying a notebook, for jotting down frame number and SS & aperture, are all-but over.

    I hated flash 18 months ago. Honestly I would never use it, despite having two external flashes. Then I worked out that dispite leaps & bounds in camera technology, they still aren't that smart and the less you give them to think about the better. That is the key. There are 4 elements to flash photography, know what to do with each of them and you'll be sorted.

    My first rule of flash photography, never use Auto-ISO. The camera simply isn't smart enough to cope with a 4th variable. Start off with ISO-200 and go up as you need to.

    Second, pick your shutter speed for the effect you're going for. If you are shooting a party then a slow (1/4-1/2") shutter speed is awesome. As you take the shot you twist the camera and any light in the background becomes a feature. Because of the slow shutter speed you've effectively given youself trailing-curtain flash, even if your camera body doesn't support it. If you are shooting a corporate function, or family portraits then you don't want people to look like they are spinning so bump up the shutter speed to 1/60-1/100.

    Third, pick an aperture that gives you good DOF. I rarely go below f/5.6 and try to hover around f/8. No matter what quality of lens you have it is going to be sharpest in that range. In addition, the added DOF, rather than shooting at the lenses maximum aperture, means that focus doesn't have to be 100% and the subjects will still be acceptably sharp. The other factor that determines aperture for me is the flash power required to expose the shot properly. Few people can handle having a flash gun firing a 1/1 into their face without blinking. I try to keep the flash on as low-power as I can get away with, 1/4 is great, 1/8 is better, 1/2 is a last resort. I would bump the ISO up before I went to 1/2 typically.

    Finally the flash itself. All those shots in the gallery I posted a link to are using P-TTL (Pentax's TTL flash metering system). This is a pretty poor system, but I told the camera SS, aperture and ISO so all it had to think about was flash power, and you know what? It worked! Make sure you're set to centre-weighted metering and you're away. Failing TTL metering just set the bugger manually as I said in the previous paragraph.

    I hope this helps anyone daunted by flash photography like I was. These are my observations with the gear I've used, but I truely cannot see why it would work for everyone on every camera.

    PS. 5th rule, lol, always shoot RAW, it gives you scope in PP for when you didn't quite get it 100%. Also remember it's easy to push an under-exposure, but blown highlights are gone forever.



    EDIT:

    Just read through that and forgot to add, GET THE FLASH OFF THE CAMERA! Even if it is only 30cm it makes a HUGE difference. Lash out, buy a TTL cord, you will never look back.

    Also, I always use a diffuser (Stofen Omni Bounce or equivelant) and have the flash pointing the ceiling at about 30-degrees from vertical, facing the subject. This gives a nice bounced light from the ceiling and mostly-diffused light directly onto the subject.

    Let me know if you don't understand what I mean and I'll draw a diagram, lol.
    Last edited by BLWNHR; 19-06-2009 at 8:08am.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Thats a pretty good explanation.

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