Wireless Flash Triggers Demystified

Wireless Flash

For some reason the whole idea of lighting strikes concerns in the hearts of photographers.  So, the concept of taking your flash off-camera makes a lot of photographers start to tread with trepidation.  Taking things to the nth degree, now imagine introducing wireless triggers for your flashes when off-camera!  It’s pretty daunting for many, and I get tons of questions on what to do from Canonistas, Nikonians, Pentaxians and more!  Getting good results with off-camera lighting and using wireless flash triggers can be challenging for sure, but with the right understanding of the gear, and some of the basics of lighting, you can get great shots too!

Wireless Flash

After experimenting with my own sets of various wireless triggers, and the number of questions that have come out in this area, I’d like to set about de-mystifying the concept of wireless flash triggers.  In doing so, let’s separate for the moment the whole reason for removing flashes from your camera (better lighting, more control, etc.), and for introducing the wireless element (fewer cables to trip over, longer range, etc.)  Let’s instead start where most people like to start – talking about the gear!  There’s basically four competitors out there, and I’ll cover the nuts and bolts of each here: Read more

Night Owl or Early Bird?

Sunrise 2

In photography, there is much to catch in the morning hours – sunrises, dew glistening off everything around you, and the slow to low hum of the world awakening around you.  It’s both invigorating and peaceful at the same time.  I can’t begin to recall the number of times I’ve crawled out of the cozy warm bed in the middle of the dark, all to be at an ocean beach before sunrise, to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park before the morning glow catches the peaks of the mountains, or to catch butterflies and other creatures before the heat of the day scurries them away.

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Sunrise 1
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Sunrise 2
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Sunrise 3
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Sunrise 4
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Sunrise 5

By the same token, there’s also something to be said for the waning hours of the day and the night time coaxes us to our nocturnal tendencies.  The deep blues of the sky as the moon begins to creep over a skyline, the brilliant oranges and blues mix in unimaginable ways through the clouds, and streaks of headlights and tail lights bring a sense of motion to the darkness – they all lull us to stay up and about to catch the images the work-a-days miss.  These are what draw us out at night.  The downside is that your dinner is cold, or your spouse/significant other has already eaten and you chow down alone.  Of course, you may be eating as you pour your images into Lightroom, Aperture, or other photo editor – beside yourself with anticipation of what you’ve captured.

Night Owl 1
Night Owl 1
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Night Owl 2
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Night Owl 3

There are pros and cons to being either an early bird (that gets the worm), or the night owl (that gets…a cricket?).  I’ve enjoyed (and suffered) through both, but would love to hear your perspectives.  Are you a night owl or an early bird?  Sound off in the poll and the comments!

When do you prefer to capture your images?

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Shadows

Boat Mast in Shadows

Most of the time the subject of the a photo is easy to see – whether it’s a portrait, landscape, travel, or architecture. While these subjects are easy to identify, the use of shadows in these topics is not discussed as often as it should be.  We spend so much time trying to get the lit portion of our images in focus, composed to our satisfaction, making sure things are sharp, and all the rest, we sometimes miss the value of shadows in our imagery.

Boat Mast in Shadows

The shadows of an image can be just as important to the composition as the lit parts are.  When talking about how to light images with strobes and studio lights, the use of shadows to give definition is often discussed, but the same discussions can be germane to naturally lit photos too.  Remember, the word photography means to paint with light (photo and graphos), so even the absence of light can be significant in defining our images.

Subtle Portrait Shadows

Whether you shoot portraiture, architecture, landscapes, or even abstracts, shadows can and do play a role in how you compose your images.  Do you look at the shadows in your images?  What story do shadows tell in your work?

Abstract Shadows

Shadowed Helicopter