The Easy Way Out

untitled-1I use speed light and studio electronic flash a lot. In some cases it is because I want clear sharp results and in others it is because I am too mean to purchase large-aperture lenses for my Fujifilm system. Either approach is valid.

The chief obstacle to be overcome is the resistance of the subjects to flash. Particularly in today’s professional world, people have been sold upon the idea that long lenses and a high ISO’s eliminate the need for light. Anything can be captured in perfect colour with no movement or noise and really great bokeh, with no-one ever seeing the camera in operation and rainbow unicorns and hot chocolate everywhere.

Well how now, brown unicorn? Or how in the heck are we to illuminate the dim?

A recent enquiry to a client heartened me greatly. I asked permission to use portable flash during a dance show and mentioned the previous occasions when it had 1t had not been on. The client said that she had never noticed it anyway, so therefore it was not a problem. Thank you, M’am – that halves my worries in the future.

I shall reduce them further. The TTL connection is frequently thought of as being only between the camera and the flash, but in reality there is an even more important component of the system; the subject. Okay, you say – the TTL removes this as a problem since the system can readjust itself every time it goes off – but this flexibility is at a price. It takes time, and flashes, and electrical charge to make that measurement and control decision – and that reduces the chance of an instant response as well as reducing the overall battery capacity.

What if you did not have to be flexible? If you had a constant subject at a constant distance under a constant illumination. If you could keep your shutter speed fixed at 1/125 second and leave the aperture at the optimum medium size. Why, you would have a camera that reacted instantly with no auto-searching or microprocessor decisions.

Thus my next setup for a dance show today. Speedlight on a stand with a radio receiver set to 1/8 manual power. Camera with a high ISO but the focus, speed, and aperture set by trial and error and fixed. The only thing that will need to be attended to is the zooming and framing and I may just opt for a 35mm f:1.4  prime lens after all. If I can reduce my duties to watch and press, there should be some chance of capturing the peak action.

It’s not laziness, folks, it’s science.

The science of laziness…


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