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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big lenses and small flashes

This post is inspired by my good friend Simon. Simon's not a photographer - he's a real estate agent. And he has to take his own photos. Anyway the company gave him this little point and shoot camera and to take wide-angle photos of the rooms it has this massive great fish-eye lens kind of attachment that you stick on the front.

I mean this thing is gigantic! And it works like a charm until you want to use the flash and then you get photos like this one here.

You see that dark spot in the middle of the man's apron. This is what happens when you forget to bring along your external flash and try using your little pop-up flash with a lens with a big front element - and possibly a lens hood on it as well if I remember rightly! Ok so we all do stupid things.

Anyway I was playing around with Simon's camera yesterday giving him a few little pointers when he asked me about the flash fall-off problem. Pretty sure that the company wasn't going to spring for an external flash to stick on top I grabbed a piece of white paper off his kitchen bench. About half the size of an A4.

And I stuck that piece of paper in front of the flash and lo and behold the fall-off shadow disappeared - and the light also got a lot nicer. Why? Well the paper took the light from the little flash and diffused it in all different directions making it instantly soft. And by sticking it between the flash and that big hunk of glass attached to the front of the camera it also softened the effect of the light fall-off. A simple solution for an annoying problem that is available anywhere you've got a bit of paper (or tissue maybe) lying around.

Pity I didn't think of that when I was at the Sapporo fish markets. :)


Eli Reinholdtsen said...

Thats a great and simple solution. I've made that mistake myself :-)

Paul Dymond said...

Thanks Eli, it's easily done and (at least in this case) seems to be easily fixed. :)