I never thought I’d want to get a flash. If there isn’t enough natural light, I just wasn’t that interested. Granted, part of that was my memory of the flashes of old, with their long wait times, and the annoying high pitched sounds they’d make as they got warmed up.

Despite my anti-flash prejudice, I recently got a flash. Why be limited to ambient light, after all? I played with it a bit tonight, not really having a clue what I’m doing, just pushing buttons and seeing what results. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with it. I won’t want to always have this extra big thing on top of a camera that is already not discrete, but for indoor shots or certain kinds of outdoor shots, I’ll be very happy to have it along. And the best news is that while I’m sure there is a lot for me to learn to get the most out of this flash, I can get some decent shots with no know how at all. Always a plus in my book!

So here’s how it went: first photo, paid no attention to what settings the flash was on, other than making sure it was turned on. Result: totally overexposed! But…I kinda like it anyway. Makes my wee Tempest look like she’s floating on a cloud (like the princess/goddess she is)!

tempest on a cloud

I then realized that maybe I should look at the settings. I pushed a few buttons (and realized I’d been on “manual”, but being flash-clueless at this point looked for something more automatic), found my way to ETTL and took a few more. I definitely need to learn more, because Tempest doesn’t stay still very much unless she’s in sunbeams or otherwise asleep, so I have a lot of blurry headed shots. Still, I managed to grab a halfway decent Tempest-as-ruler-of-the-world shot.

tempest on high

Not my best shots of my precious, but still fun, at least to me! And no demonic reflecting eye shots!

I’ve been reading a couple great photography books lately as well:

  • The Tao of Photography – this is pretty much what it sounds like, and it is very often the way I take pictures already (unplanned carpe diem shots), but the book not only reinforces that, it reminds me to be open and receptive, which is a lot more active of a process than it sounds, at least for me!
  • Understanding Exposure – this is also pretty much what it sounds like – a solid book explaining exposure. It has motivated me to play with exposure more, to think about the moods of different light, and to try to capture some of this with intent. In playing with fully manual settings, I’ve also gained confidence in fully manual shots, and have thus taken the time to set up and play with the shots a bit more. This isn’t always practical for me – animals are what I love to take pictures of, and it is very often about the moment, so I tend to stick it on aperture priority and let the camera take care of the rest. I’m happy with that much of the time, but sometimes the tricky shots need a bit more help.

Both books also have gorgeous pictures, which are their own motivation.