|Photo #1: 1/125, F 5.0, ISO 1600. Gary Fong Light Sphere on SB-800 with CTO Gel. In camera WB set to Incandescent.|
- is reasonably composed,
- is properly exposed, and
- provides context clues about the nature of the event.
Tactics: The shot was made in a period of less than a minute, starting the moment my subject stepped to the podium and ending when she began her acceptance speech. I actually walked across the hardwood dance area and stood up, something I only do when it won't distract the audience too much, and when a few "in your face" flash would have been a tolerable, and temporary, inconvenience. I could have given them instructions to improve the photo, but my voice would not have been heard over the applause. The shot was a gift, and I accepted it. I'll manage the photo a little more next time.
|Photo #2: 1/125, F 5.0, ISO 1600. Gary Fong Cloud Dome on SB-800 with CTO Gel. In camera WB set to Incandescent.|
Gary Fong Collapsible Light Sphere and have found the improved speed mounting system to be the most secure to date. I do not use the Gary Fong Gel Filter Sets because the orange gel, supposedly the equivalent of a full CTO, doesn't accurately match the Incandescent preset of my Nikons, and I have no use for the other colors.
In Photo #2, you can see that the underexposed chandelier in the ceiling is rendered as white, a good sign that the ambient light was close the the Incandescent preset. As you can guess from these first two photos, this room is really dark from a photographer's perspective.
It's appropriate to remind you shooters that making multiple flash images can become something of a bother to the subject. After all, some portion of the on-camera flash is aimed directly into the subject's eyes, light modifier notwithstanding. If you're trying to capture that perfect expression, a ceiling bounce is much less distracting for your subject, although care must be taken to avoid blinding anybody unlucky enough to be standing next to, or behind you.
|Photo #3: 1/80, F 5.0, ISO 1600. Gary Fong Cloud Dome on SB-800 with CTO Gel. In camera WB set to Incandescent.|
The Takeaway: Consider this when using the Cloud Dome:
- The dome does not rely on bounced light from above, but does benefit from white ceilings and walls.
- The size of the dome provides a softer edge to the facial shadows.
- Exposure is best used when all the subjects are the same distance from the camera.
- When appropriate, a CTO gel on the speedlight plus an Incandescent white balance preset in the camera can help blend the two light sources.
- Closer is better, but keep all of your subjects away from corners of the frame to prevent "stretch face".
- Watch your background. The light will fall off drastically when the distance between the flash and the subject is significantly less than that of the flash to the back wall.