Off Camera Flash

Friday Night Photography Quote:

..the thing that is magnificent about photography is that it can produce images that incite emotion based on the subject matter alone.
— Brassai

A lot of talk about using Off Camera Flash going on in the Photo Groups on Facebook lately. If you’re not used to or haven’t tried it yet you should! It’s an important tool for us to use when the situation might arise.

First up and this is Important!
Natural Light is the Best Light!

Let me repeat myself. Natural Light is the Best Light! Sometimes it does need a little bit of Help! This is where the External Flash fits into the scheme of things.

We will need a few things to make this happen though:
Stand: A method of supporting the Flash whether it be a Flash Bracket or
Light Stand
Trigger: Something to Trigger the Flash to make it fire.
Light Modifiers: Modifiers can be anything from Umbrellas to Diffusers.
A Softbox to a Color Gel

The first and most important thing about all this is “Cost”!
You/We Don’t Have to spend a whole Lot of money for this.
There are several places on the Net that is there to Help!
One is that a Lot of things can be hand made to do the same things that store bought can!
Because this whole Off Camera Flash mentality has become so very Popular. A lot of camera stores now have a Strobist Dept. What is Strobist? Strobist is a place that has become Number 1 when it comes to using Flash Off Camera. Tutorials and learning challenges. Directions on where to go and what to look for. In acquiring the needed equipment for a reasonable price!
Go here and check out the Strobist pages:

Next up is a great store that I can honestly recommend is dependable and trustworthy. I’ve purchased from them a few times and have been very pleased with my purchase. It’s called Midwest Photo Exchange: They even have a Strobist Lighting Dept.

The Strobist Department is here:

Now what do we do with all of this? We practice! We Create! We Study and Practice some more.

One of the places on the Net that has wonderful Ideas and Tutorials besides rating the equipment is Neil’s place. He calls it Tangents and if your truly interested in learning the Ins and Outs of Lighting. He is the Man!

Neil van Neikirk also has several books out and you can check them out over at Amazon. I’m going to link to one book that specializes in Off Camera Flash. But Neil has several other books as well.

In closing. Let me share an Image from my archives of Off Camera Flash in use as an example: I used a Nikon SB900 in a Silver Umbrella mounted on a light stand.
This is Only using the One Light. Which is slightly high and to Camera Right.

Have a Great Weekend Everybody!
Like always. If you have a comment your free to post. You have a question you can either post it here. Or contact me through the link.

Grandpa Lou


Friday Night Photography Quote:

..the thing that is magnificent about photography is that it can produce images that incite emotion based on the subject matter alone.
— Brassai

Happy Mother’s Day

Wishing All
Of Our
Friends and Family
A Very

Happy Mother’s Day


Categories Uncategorized

Conversions to B&W . . .

Friday Night Photography Quote:

36 satisfactory exposures on a roll means a photographer is not
trying anything new.

— Freeman Patterson

There is a question posted in one of the Photography Groups with a follow up discussion “If anyone is still interested in B&W Photography”? In the discussion someone had posted a comment about De-saturating the image to be able to control and change the exposure on the Color Image to help in the preparation for the B&W conversion. I believe there are other ways to do this to create better Contrast and to control the highlights. But I feel by even mentioning De-saturating the image might lead someone in trying this for the full Conversion. That Is Just Wrong! It creates a very bad Tonality and Contrast. This is just or almost as bad as setting Our Cameras for Shooting B&W! Don’t do that either! Grey Tones and Contrast will be very “Off”!

The simplest and easy way is to shoot and create a Raw Image. Then in your Raw Converter/Editor Use the Color Channels to control the different “Zones” for your purpose. But that again might not be the best Method. Using one of the many Photoshop Plug-Ins can help in creating an Absolutely Wonderful B&W Conversion.
The Google Nik Silver Efex Pro is the first to come to mind. It Is Free along with the whole Google Nik Collection. Let me see if it will come up in a search:

OK got it.

Google Nik Collection on search results

I just want to make a fast mention about “The Zone System” here.
Back in the Old Wet Film Days we had a Lot of problems trying to keep our Full Grey Tones pleasing to the eye. When we got the results back from the Lab the images were muddy and terrible at best. That’s why most of us ended up in our Own B&W Darkrooms to see if we could of course do it better ourselves. We found it extremely difficult. But it was at least better than what the Labs were sending back. In our search remember I’m also talking before the Internet here. We found something that actually is still in use today. Now it’s used in our Digital Darkroom in both Light Room and Photoshop. It’s called “The Zone System”. It was created by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer as a way to help control the differing tones and make them stand out to give us the amazing results that we were hunting for.

Black & White still has it’s place as an Art Form. It lends to the creative mind in exaggerating the mood and less concentrating on the colors.

I’m showing 3 images as examples of what can be done. I used the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 on all 3. The image of the Arno River was also edited in the Nik HDR as well as the Nik Analog Efex Pro 2.

Like Photography itself. All you have to do is let your mind Explore….

Have a great weekend everyone. Don’t forget to check out my Portrait page.

Thanks for stopping by. If you like my discussions. Please leave a message.


Categories Uncategorized


Friday Night Photography Quote:

The ability to make a truly artistic photograph is not acquired off-hand, but is the result of an artistic instinct coupled with years of labor.
Alfred Stieglitz

As long as I’ve been doing this. No matter what I’ve done or have accomplished. It never ceases to amaze me how one of my Images looks Printed large. Really large!
One of the Photography Groups I’m a Member on the Net side called Viewbug had given me a coupon for a “Free Large Print” from an Online Printing Lab called Nations Photo Lab. I’ve heard of them before and have seen Ads through the years. But I’ve never had the opportunity to use them till now.
Gotta tell you. I highly recommend them. Easy to use interface. A good amount of choices to go through depending on the results you want. Fast delivery! Package came today Friday. I had placed the Order on Wednesday Night.

I had sent out my image from “Sunrise in Florence”. I even gave them the opportunity to Color Correct the image as a just in case the printer and my Calibrated Monitor had any differences of opinion. Since it was sent as a Test. I didn’t have it mounted or Framed but I did add a 1″ border to give me a chance to have it Framed in case I really like the end results. All I can say is Breath Taking…
All the Golden Light. All the Details and Reflections are there. Even the enhancements I had made to bring out the details of the clouds are there.
Yeah!!! I’m impressed and extremely happy with Nations Photo Lab!

Sunrise in Florence Italy
Sunrise in Florence Italy

Skill . . .

Friday Night Photography Quote:
…To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters…
— Harry Callahan

Yes!! Experience Is thee best Teacher.
But, you have to understand the basic principles of exposure and composition to even begin to play with your camera.
In this age of technology where we have so many places to turn for information of Photography compared with only a few choices when I was a kid with the hunger of more.

There is obviously more than this but these are some of the places and books I Highly Recommend for someone first starting out:

This is a wonderful book that We as experienced Photographers call “The Bible” when asked for anything for Help by a Beginner.
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

There are a lot of places on the Net for Inspiration and/or knowledge for Photography. “The Photo Argus” is One of the best places for sharing the knowledge and creativity on any Level.

Flickr and Viewbug are both great Portfolio sites. But the really best place for the specialty equipment or Camera is of course “”…

In Photography this encompasses a great many areas. Learning or acquiring the Skill to use your Camera is Only the start of many places you’ll find is a requirement. Things you’ll find yourself looking for as a Necessity are:
Color Theory, Composition, Knowledge of editing aka Photoshop and/or Lightroom.
Speaking to a large group of people (if indeed you start to shoot parties). Or How to control a small crowd to capture the Moment your looking for.. Not only are these obnoxious but one can Not ignore the Basic Rules. Also don’t forget that Lighting will eventually pop up as something you discover you will need..

Now being realistic about it. Everyone now walks around with some kind of camera or something that can take pictures. Some are very good. But at this point what makes that picture a great Picture? I’ve heard what recommendation can you give me that I can take the same level of beautiful pictures you do without learning all this stuff? The best thing I can say is at this point in time everyone has a Word Processor in one form or another. Does this make them a Great Writer??
Everyone owns pots and pans. Does this automatically make them a Great Cook?

What makes an Image Stand out from all the other Images on the Net?
The Answer is All the Things I described above…. Knowledge.

Like this discussion? Hate this Discussion? Any thoughts at all?
Leave a Comment please….
Mark G

What Is “Art”?

Friday Night Photography Quote:

[1864 – 1946] American artist photographer and editor

It is not art in the professionalized sense about which I care, but that which is created sacredly, as a result of a deep inner experience, with all of oneself, and that becomes ‘art’ in time.Alfred Stieglitz

According to my studies: “Art creates a reaction from the Viewer“!
Any kind of a reaction, it doesn’t matter. If the Artwork creates any kind of response including to make the Viewer go Hmmm…… All emotions are also covered when I’m mentioning “Response”. We can get into all kinds of discussions and what Is Incredibly interesting is “Art” means different things for different people..

I had taken an “Aesthetics Class” in College and on my term paper I had chosen “Photography as Art” as my subject. To give you a very fast outline I started with the history of Photography through the ages. Then had touched very lightly on the struggles of Steichen and Stieglitz to get Photography Accepted as an Art Form.

In todays Society the acceptance of Photography as an Art Form has passed into Obscurity.  With all the Smart Phones, IPads and Tablets there is a terrible loosening of Standards on what a Photographic Image should posses. Granted this didn’t start in today’s Technology. It started long before from the late 1960’s with the Kodak “Make Photography Accessible to Everyone Mentality”. I’m speaking about the “Kodak Instamatic” and including the earlier versions like the Brownie Box Camera.
Don’t misunderstand me. That’s how I actually got started. “Borrowing” my mother’s Old Brownie from way back on the floor of her Closet and taking it outside to try my hand at taking pictures. But something got lost along the way. Pictures are either too Dark. Or out of Focus and other things too extensive to list. But the Acceptance of Lower Quality Images just makes those who obsess over Quality shake our heads.
Think I’m a Snob do you? LOL Just look around the Social Media Sites like Instagram and Facebook. Then do a search on any of the Main Photography Sites and try to compare what your looking at?

You know something? I wasn’t going to go this far but the frustration pushed me. I was even considering including a few of my images as an example but I’m feeling that would also be too egotistical to prove the point. But I’m Not going to go there…
Instead I am including a Few Links from areas on the Net that we as Photographers go to for both inspiration to try to better ourselves. As well as places for us to learn a thing or two. Keeping in mind the Old Saying:
The More You know. The more you realize you truly Don’t know!

So I am actually going to ask you my readers to go to your Normal Ares and look around at what is posted. Keep that in mind and then start to click on my links below:

I would like to have a discussion here with your thoughts and comments on what you Think About my post..
Have a Great Weekend Everyone


Why do We Do the things We Do?

Friday Night Photography Quote:

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask “how,” while others of a more curious nature will ask “why.” Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.
— Man Ray

When we get to a certain point in Photography we concentrate on our Subject.
After we get at least Semi-Proficient with the use of the Tool called a Camera. We then start on the creative use of Light. Light and Shadows to be more exact. Natural Light from slightly behind. Natural Light shining through a window. All of a sudden we discover how Beautiful Natural light truly is. Till the light is blocked by the Clouds and or we Attempt to shoot indoors.

This is where artificial light is deemed a necessary evil. Artificial Light is a difficult thing to learn. An awful Lot of people find using any kind of an Artificial Light extremely intimidating. These people will make any excuse as to find a way to avoid using Artificial Light by any means.

One of the basic problems is if not used correctly the image can look fake or simply Not Right if the Light is a bit too bright. The Image can look Unnatural. This might end up being one of the excuses. That using any Artificial Light will render an Unnatural Image. So they wont use it under any circumstances. That sounds to me like it’s too difficult to change a Flat Tire on my Car. So I wont use my car!

Artificial Light is like any other Tool. It needs to be researched and Mastered to render a beautiful Effect. Nothing is easy. If it were that easy then everyone would be getting the benefit of Using something that can enhance and help you perfect your Image.

I’ve seen some interesting comments this past week. One person had mentioned that they Only Use Natural Light like it was a Medal or something. Even for an Indoor Shot! Though they weren’t really happy. Seems that they weren’t happy cause the Camera was Not able to deal with the extremely dark conditions in a proper way.

The Term Natural Light as if you didn’t already know is the Round Nuclear Glow we see in the Sky commonly called “The Sun”. Natural and the other name we can interchangeably use is Ambient. Ambient is also the existing or background light.
If we measure the Natural or Ambient Light within our image. Then set the Artificial Light to a drop lower power than the existing Light. This will change an average image into a Great Image.

I’ve mentioned them before through the years. You know the places on the Net that can help us Learn All there is about Natural or Ambient Light.

The one comment that makes me go crazy is “Oh I won’t Use any Artificial Light. It makes the Image look Fake!” With a Attitude like using any Kind of extra Lighting is beneath them or an amateur way.. Nope! It doesn’t work that way. All we need to do is find out what the problem is. Then try and find the Fix to that problem.

There are so many great places on the Net that discuss Lighting that it makes me feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the emotion of Extreme Joy!

  • Creative Live
  • Kelby Training
  • Neil Van Niekerk has a Blog about Lighting called “Tangents”
  • Strobist
  • Youtube is another great place with all the tutorials

Neil has a very interesting article on his pages about using Video lights that I felt I needed to include the link here. Otherwise all the others can be searched on the Net.

The first thing we learn about using Lighting is to Get that Light Away from the Camera. But if we move the Light Off Camera then How can we get that Light to Flash in Sync with the Camera’s Shutter? We use what’s called “Triggers” or “Flash Triggers”. These are Wireless Radio Controllers that will set off your Flash.

Why do we go through learning all of these things? To make our images be the best that we can! All of these things for “Off Camera Flash” are Our Tools. Tools that will enhance these Artificial Lights. Filters, Reflectors, Soft Boxes and Umbrellas. Soft Boxes come in many shapes and sizes.

Before I say anything else I would also like to mention that Neil Van Niekirk has several books out over at Amazon that are very good. A few are about explaining Off Camera Flash.

Have a Great Weekend Everybody!
Like my Post? Don’t Like my Post? Have a question?
Post a comment so others can see what’s on your mind.