To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 253 - Patience Is a Virtue!

I had no idea what I would shoot today - I was almost going to call it a dry day when I realized that I needed to finish the last two sips of Grand Marnier.  This way I could pitch the bottle out and make room on my kitchen counter.  My cooking classes are going to start at full blast and I have to clear up and clean out my kitchen ASAP.   So, the irony was that it did turn out to be a not-so-dry day(no pun intended).

That's when the idea came to me - shoot the wine splash!  And what better way to practise my flash photography than to do some speed shots.  Out came the glass, the wine, the ice cubes and the flashes!  And within minutes, I was all set up.  I should have used my white seamless background, but honestly, I keep forgetting I have one.

Camera Setting: 100 mm, 1/200s, f/9.0, ISO 100, WB set to Flash
Flash Settings: Right flash at 10 deg., 50 mm, 1/32 power; left flash at about 35 deg and rest similar to the right flash

 However, I had a few challenges I had to overcome, first.  I set up both my flashes to bounce light off the wall at the back into the glass, rather than flash the glass, which would cause a glare.  I got perfect light right behind the glass, but found a darker band at the top of the frame. like so:

Next, I found I got some strong reflections on the glass, so I got out the polarizer.

After a little thought I realized that the light wasn't reaching the top part of the frame and that was what caused the darker band at the top.  My flashes were set on manual, with the zoom set at 85 mm and power level at 1/32.  So, I adjusted the angles of the flashes so one was pointing at the wall at about a 10 degree angle, and the other at around 35 degrees and adjust the zoom to 50 mm so the light would spread a little bit further (that's what the zoom on the flash does - works exactly the same way as the zoom on the camera lens).  And that did the trick!  The light evened out.

The rest of the shots were taken on the previously mentioned settings, and I was just trying to get the timing right.  I kept missing the moment when dropping the ice cube because continuous shooting wasn't an option as it wasn't giving the flashes enough time to recycle.

It took me about 30 odd shots to get four or five I could keep.  But the patience to get the timing right paid off.  I had been really out of practise with speed photography for a long time.  I don't remember when I last tried it.  Thus, the slow ramp-up to getting the shots right.

I still have a lot to work on this as I need to figure out a way to remove the vignetting.  This is obviously being caused by the light fall-off as well as due to the lens.  Oh well!  I will just have to keep trying. 


  1. wow!!! that's some great details going on..thanks for sharing the information of how you took this shot. i wanted to do the same thing but minus the flashes (since I don't have any)...LOL... great shot, Toni!

  2. Great work! Read for Shutterstock!

  3. Incredible shots! now see I don't really have the patience for that nor the equipment.

  4. Thanks everyone! It's great to see so many of you actually thought this was good and not goofy! :=D