Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tom Jung - Flash Trendsetter!

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The San Francisco Chronicle July 11, 2016
This photo was taken by Liz Hafalia,  a staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, to illustrate the increasing popularity of Pokemon Go, an on-line game that's getting very popular. I'm not into gaming, but apparently these young people are, and as this photo illustrates, they can play sitting, or walking.

When I first saw this photo, I was was struck by how much the results reflected the approach I've been taking when photographing subjects in bright sunlight. If you look at the gamer walking to the right, you can see how little detail the shadows would have if a flash was not present. It appears to have been feathered (turned away) to prevent the leftmost (nearest) subject from being burnt to a crisp. All in all, a very nice piece of work!

If there a moral to this story, it's that sometimes a flash is the only way you can produce a usable image. Having a flash to add detail to the shadows means you don't have to compromise your exposure. The sky is exposed to give an appealing blue, while the flash gives light back to the underexposed shadows.

I made this photo about four years ago with a Nikon D70 and a shoe-mounted SB-800. I admit that working with cameras in the 24 megapixel range has spoiled me to these six megapixel images made with a camera that is for all intents and purposes is too low in resolution to take on a real assignment. But when coupled with that single speedlight, it make images like this much more reproducible in the newsprint world where I normally work.

So keep a good flash with you at all times. I has saved the day for me more than once!