First Steps into Flash Photography

| December 14, 2010

Three Pears

These are Harry and David pears and we want to eat them. I told Donna not until I was able to take a few shots with my new strobe photography gear! This is my first shot using a Canon 580EX strobe mounted to a Lastolite 24 inch square Ezybox Softbox. As you see in the photo below, you can take a Speedlite strobe (also known as a bounce flash) and mount it to the bracket on the Ezybox. Once mounted, you flash the strobe through diffuser panels to illuminate your subject. The softbox creates a nice soft light as it directs light through the diffusing material. The photo above shows the result.

Lastolite Ezybox

As far as the setup goes, I ended up putting the strobe and box at camera left about three feet from the pears. I had to move the box around a bit to get the look I wanted. The appearance of the shot changed dramatically as I moved the box back and forth and up and down. Since the flash is off camera, I had to use Canon ST-E2 IR transmitter affixed to the hot shoe of my camera to remotely trigger the strobe. The backdrop is nothing more than sheets of black foam core board taped together. For the reflections, I stole some plexiglas from my son’s Dali print frame and placed it on the foam core base under the pears. With his permission of course!

I kept the camera settings pretty simple since I am just now learning how to shoot with a flash. My Canon 5D Mark II was set to program and the flash was set to fully automatic ETTL II mode. ETTL II is pretty slick. It uses through-the-lens metering technology that allows a dynamic exposure control system to properly expose a scene. Electronic sensors contained beneath my camera’s mirror box monitor light reflected from the camera’s imaging sensor to detect when a proper amount of illumination from the strobe is given. As an exposure is made, the TTL electronics instruct the flash in a fraction of a second to provide more or less illumination based on the reflected light. It is not fool-proof but works very well in many situations.

There is a ton for me to learn in this area of photography. I am jumping in with both feet and I plan share my lessons learned as I go. Visually, objects are nothing without light. Whether we are painters or photographers, being able to manipulate light to breathe life into our subjects is one of the most powerful tools we can use.
If you would like to paint this photo, feel free. If you do, please send me a photo so I can see how it turns out!

UPDATE: Horst Hittenberger painted my pears! Nice Horst!

My pears by Horst Hittenberger

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Category: Photography, Tutorials

Comments (1)

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  1. Dana Cooper says:

    Beautiful Lee! The fruit has to do double duty in my house too…happy holidays!!