Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

Today we learned a little bit about Harold Edgerton.

Here is what Wikipedia says about him:

Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton also known as Papa Flash (April 6, 1903 – January 4, 1990) was a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is largely credited with transforming the stroboscope from an obscure laboratory instrument into a common device. He also was deeply involved with the development of sonar and deep-sea photography, and his equipment was used by Jacques Cousteau in searches for shipwrecks and even the Loch Ness monster.

The relevance to this class and this talented man is the fact that he is the ‘man that froze time, he invented the electronic flash – which allowed him to capture things the human eye cannot see.

Here is what Stephen Dowling said:

Edgerton’s iconic images would be difficult enough to create today, even with computers on hand to open and close the shutter and fire the flash. But Edgerton took his pictures in the days of analogue, recording them on a motion picture camera converted to shoot at previously impossible speeds, and lighting them with an electric flash he invented himself. Intricate geometries happening so fast the human eye is incapable of comprehending them were suddenly captured for all to marvel at.

Here are some examples of is work.

Harold Edgerton

And a little video on him after the ad!

 

In this instance with flash photography we are concentrating on a slow shutter speed.  This is what Harold Edgerton amongst many other things excelled in.  Nowadays you can see fun examples of slow flash photography, for instance my friend DesleyJane who is Scientist/Photographer, what a great mix, one that can produce photographs like these…

You can find more of her photography here:  Musings of a frequently flying scientist

WaterSlowShutter-1 shot at ISO200 f/2.8 1/60s

WaterSlowShutter-1 shot at ISO200 f/2.8 1/60s

BalloonBursting 66 shot at ISO400 / f/2.8 1/1000s

BalloonBursting 66 shot at ISO400 / f/2.8 1/1000s

BalloonBursting 4 shot at ISO400 / f/2.5 1/4000s

BalloonBursting 4 shot at ISO400 / f/2.5 1/4000s

Slow Shutter Speed Flash Photography

So on my Nikon on the manual priority I will have the following settings:

  • red eye
  • nothing
  • rear

In manual it automatically has front

On aperture priority setting it will have:

  • red eye
  • slow
  • rear

Red Eye

The pupil opens when dark to let light in, so when you use a flash normally and in a darkened situation the pupil will be very open, behind the pupil are lots of blood vessels and when the flash goes it will capture the lens open and the blood vessels, thus causing the red eye effect.

Using a double flash deletes this.  The first flash causes the pupil to constrict, the second flash takes the photograph with the pupil constricted, therefore obliterating the red eye effect, clever huh?

However, we were advised not to use the red eye setting because people very often move after the first flash thinking the photograph has been taken and it is much easier and sometimes more natural in effect to just alter it in camera raw, lightroom etc.

Red eye reduction Setting

This is as described above when the flash is used before to reduce the size of the pupil.

Slow Setting

This is only apparently on the Nikon, not the Canon as a separate setting.  It is also just on the aperture priority setting.  The canon is slow syn by default so does not need to have this as a separate setting.

You can adjust the shutter speed in aperture priority.

Rear Setting

During a long exposure you can make the flash trigger at the beginning or the end of the shot, this will capture light motion before or after as shown below.

high-speed-synch-flash

Homework

For our homework we were asked to practice more with our flash photography.

Here are some examples taken in class.

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

Next for my actual homework I tried to emulate this photograph…

slow sync flash

My version isn’t quite the same as you can see, but there is movement detected, just not as dramatic, which is a shame.

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

Next we moved on to my sons beloved spinner, I thought this would work well, in hindsight if my son had spun and moved it around it might have worked better.

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

So then we decided to have a bit of fun.  I was super happy that my eldest son had agreed to help out, so rather than him getting bored doing repeated hand shots which took quite some setting up, balance and health and safety making sure the darn bedspread precariously hanging on the door would not fall down on top of us and all, I let him go ‘off piste’ so to speak and move around, make faces etc.

Though this might not be what our teacher was looking for I thought I would share as quite fun, more ghostly than light trails but they made me laugh and I thought quite cool!

Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 11, Slow Sync Flash Photography

I did a bit of tweeking in lightroom with some settings I found further down once black and white to help highlight and accentuate what was going on.

If you have just started reading my NCFE photography classes you can catch up on the rest here:  NCFE Level 1 Photography

I look forward to your comments and feedback, Justine xxx

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