Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Part 2: Photography with Imre Episode 16 - Flashes Part 4: Slow Sync Flash Mode

I certainly hope you enjoyed Episode 16! I've received some great comments and they're certainly appreciated.

The slow sync flash modes can be a very creative and fun option to use. For the practical, it can enhance your night / low-light shots, and for the exuberant, well... the outcomes are pretty much limitless. To get a vivid idea of what slow sync can do, check out the links I have in my Web Resources section below.

To add a little something, something to my video, keep in mind that your camera will behave differently depending on the mode you're in (i.e. aperture or shutter priority, manual mode). For example, if I set my E-3 to aperture priority and aim it around a dark room, I can see the shutter speed vary anywhere from 1/10 of a second to 10 seconds (and even higher in really dark areas), regardless of whether I'm using first or second curtain slow sync. However, in shutter priority or manual mode, the camera will use whatever shutter speed you set as one would expect.

The question may come to mind as to which mode should be used and to put it simply, there's really no right answer as it depends on exactly what you're shooting, what outcome you'd like to get, or how funky and creative you're feeling. But I do have a few guidelines to offer. If you're not very concerned about special effects and simply wish to get a nicely exposed subject and background, then stick to something like aperture priority and keep your flash in auto mode. You will likely see a pre-flash, but your shot should look fine. Now it gets a little more complicated if you like to mess around with the settings... but then again that's half the fun.

For a little more control, use shutter priority or even manual mode and vary your shutter speed; let's say start at 1/10 of a second and work your way through to a lengthy 30 second exposure. As for the flash, if you would still like to get a good exposure on your subject, then stick to auto mode, but for a something a little more experimental, switch the flash to manual and vary the power output.

At this point it's all up to you to find an interesting place (streets at night tend to be popular locales) and have at it. Oh, one last tidbit. Try motion. Dance with your camera or swing it around (just do try to be careful)! Often it's a little movement that can turn a ho-hum slow sync photo into a holy mammoth dude shot!

Anywho, have a blast! Do subscribe, follow me @BinaryGraphite, become a Fan and I'll see ya l8r!

Web Resources

Search for "slow sync" on Flickr; some very cool shots by photogs there

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