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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zuiko and the Balancing Act

In my class, I cram my students with many photography nonsense. Especially with the mantra, "When outdoors in the hot sun, shoot with your flash on and 100% direct." Most of the time, my students will show blank stares disbelieving what I just said.

There are many other mantras, and one of them is, "If you don't like a person in a group picture, please use a wide angle lens." Well, this may be a good topic for another blog. For now, let me stick to the hot-sun-flashing-shooter thing.

Ah, well... I give them the assignment, and these are the results.

E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD + FL-50R Flash
33mm, f/11, 1/250s, ISO100, -2ev, flash +1ev

My approach is simple. Most of the time, the camera using Matrix metering is quite smart enough to detect the background exposure. Thus, by dialing down the overall exposure compensation to -2ev, the background is darkened. The flash, then is set at higher compensation, say +1ev, to illuminate the darkened scene. In total, the image has a composite of -1ev exposure, which is just the right balance for portrait with landscape picture.

The above image uses slow x-sync flash that limits the shutter to 1/250s; thus, entails for small aperture exposure. In this case, it is f/11.

E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED14-35mm F2.0 SWD + FL-50R Flash
14mm, f/3.2, 1/4000s, ISO100, -2ev, flash +1ev

Say that you are a sucker for shallow depth-of-field, or bokeh-anywhere type of shooter. Then, you can dial up the aperture to f/2 for example, and the shutter speed will still jam at 1/250s. In this case, the Matrix metering is dumb! The picture will be overexposed. The only way to jump the shutter up is to use high-speed sync, in Olympus language it's FP Flash. Be careful though when using this method, as the bulb tend to be abused with low power but long bursts of light. I killed my FL-36 during a wedding once due to FP abuse, and it was not nice!!

Notice the blur effect due to the larger aperture even at wide angle 14mm? I should have used f/2.0 to get more blur. Doh!!

Using the same exposure principles of the first picture, the second image is recreated with the same exposure balance.

1 comment:

nazli said...

I just hope that one day I could learn how to properly use my DSLR camera with you. Until now, I just learn by my own...Need to wait until I back to Msia, probably early of 2012...hope so...