Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shooting into Darkness

This weekend, we all went to the Academy of Science Museum in San Francisco. It was really crowded, but we all had our expectations set accordingly, so we were ready for it. I brought along the Nikon D90, my SB600, and a snoot in case I needed to throw light at a subject far away.

Controlling the flash off camera
Both Nikon and Canon offer a wireless system whereby the camera body and flash negotiate the amount of light to output while you press the shutter button. The whole conversation takes about 10 milliseconds. In the Nikon World this is called the "CLS" or Creative Lighting System. For Canon, its called the E-TTL system. What these systems do is pretty amazing, allowing you to place the flash many feet away form the camera and really control the direction of the light to add more interest to the Image.

The Albino Alligator
In the main hall there is a pit about 15 feet deep with an albino alligator in the swampy bottom. The pit was fairly dark and the alligator was laying motionless. It made for an interesting challenge to photograph, so I wrapped the snoot around the flash and asked my wife to aim it into the pit. I stood a few feet to her right and zoomed in on the gator. The snoot really helped blast the light down into that dark pit. The result looked pretty cool.

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