Sometimes a more unique photo is waiting in the guise of a dreary downpour.
Bored yesterday with working on design-for-print projects, I took a break at lunchtime, put on a macro lens, a ring flash and sat on my front steps pondering the rose bush growing there. It was a high-overcast with wonderful diffuse light – the kind photographers dream about. I didn’t like it. Overpowering the ambient light by ISO’ing down, stopping down and cranking up the shutter speed, I was able to find a look, using the ring light, that made me smile.
This shot was taken on a Canon 20D with the 100MM F2.8 Macro lens and the Canon MR-14EX ring light. The shot was taken at noon.
1/250th of a Second
Ring light on Manual at 1/4 Power
I set the camera to manual for maximum control and hand-held the shot. Several shots in the series turned out quite nice but I still didn’t have the shot I was looking for. Rain was in the forecast and I decided to see if nature could deliver a little ‘wow’ to my photo.
Fast forward to 9:30 PM. The ambient is gone, save for the bleed coming from my office window (Daylight balanced compact fluorescents). The rig was the same and the settings were the same, only the flash had been changed to protect the delicate. Here the flash is on 1/32 power so that all those lovely raindrops wouldn’t blow out to white. It seems counterintuitive that with less ambient light, I need much less flash but so be it! If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the ring light in the droplets. In the intervening 9 hours, the flower also opened a bit more, revealing a slightly different character.
Every state seems to have the adage: If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change. The same is true of photography. If you don’t like the scene, the light, the flower, wait and it
too will change.
Rikk Flohr © 2009