Early Xmas Gift



No, it wasn’t the doll. It was a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight from my father. He wanted me to be able to use it on xmas eve and xmas day to take some family photographs. I’ve been reading about and testing this flash for the past few days. Just finished a book called Nikon Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide which I highly recommend to anyone with a new Speedlight. The built-in flash of the D80 is utterly useless for anything other than fill light. Below are some examples of different lighting situations:

All of the photos in this post were shot in the same ambient light. The photo above was taken with no flash. Looks pretty good, right? No shadows, evenly lit, etc. The catch is that the shutter was open for 13 seconds just to get that level of exposure. Not even a professional model could stay as still as this inanimate doll for 13 seconds. Any human portrait shot this way would have been a complete blur. On to the next example.

The above photograph was shot using the D80’s built-in pop-up flash in TTL mode (through the lens metering). First, the light is too harsh and dare I say a little too even on the subject. Second, the contrast between the subject and background is too high, creating an unnatural look. Third, you can see the shadows projected onto the wall behind the subject. NEXT!!

This image was taken with the SB-600 mounted to the camera. The flash was pointed toward the white ceiling for bounce flash. The shadows are gone and the contrast between foreground and background is better but the subject could use a little fill flash. The shadows are a bit too dramatic. Ideally one would want two separate flashes at least. Here is where the SB-600 really shines.

One of the coolest features of Nikon’s Creative Lighting System is that my D80 can control the SB-600 wirelessly. How the hell does it do that you ask? The D80 flash sends out pre-flash pulses to the SB-600 before the exposure that communicate the necessary flash output based on light metering from the camera body! This is all done in an instant and is virtually imperceptible when you fire the shutter. I can use the built-in flash as communication only or as fill light (ie, a second flash head).

This one was shot with the SB-600 on a tripod at about 3 feet above and 4 feet to the left of the subject. The flash head was facing the ceiling for bounce and the built-in flash was used for fill. The same technique was used for the very first portrait above. Too bad I didn’t have this thing when we were doing holiday portraits! Damn, oh well, maybe next year. Check out Olivia’s website @ olivia.thelucaslife.com for some real photographs using my new toy.


3 Responses to “Early Xmas Gift”

  1. 1 Susan
    December 22, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    That’s not Polly, is it?!?! :)

  2. 2 DO
    December 23, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Well Dan, if your marriage doesn’t work out between you and susan i am sure that this hot little number would love to be your woman. I am curious why uou didn’t use bratz instead of this hooker barbie?

  3. 3 Susan
    December 31, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Alyssa and Sierra aren’t allowed to have Bratz – otherwise I am sure he would have. They are much sexier than Barbie. LOL

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