lessons in photography | my own little three ring circus

March 30, 2009

We had a fantastic time at the circus last week. We were invited to a small reception before the show and had the chance to meet and greet some of the performers. Both kids were lukewarm on the clowns at first, but the juggling eventually won them over and we even convinced Jane to give one of the clowns a high-five.

I brought along my camera in hopes of getting some nice shots of the kids with the performers. As long as I have enough space to tote it, I prefer to use my trusty SLR when I'm taking pictures at night (or anytime I don't have enough natural light) because I can use a mounted flash. I can point the flash towards an object (usually the ceiling) and bounce light back onto my subject without creating harsh shadows. It usually works like a charm.

But my first shot came out really dark like this:

I checked the batteries and repositioned the flash to point more towards my funny circus trio. Then I got this:

Neither photo would have been a real keeper but I was puzzled about why the flash bounce method wasn't working.

And then I looked up.

That darn black ceiling stole all my light!

Photographer friends...what do you do to brighten a room with a black ceiling? I have one of these  (which I love) but feel a bit self-consious about using in public :)


Krisanne said...

You can try a flash that pivots and bounce off the wall. In this situation I would have rotated it 90 degree to the right and up 45 degrees to bounce off the white walls. If you have a Nikon, the SB-600, 800 or 900 pivot.

vicki said...

Thanks for rescuing me Krisanne. I never thought of pivoting it to the side :) Brilliant!

BTW...those birth pictures from your blog are BEAUTIFUL http://www.krisanneflynn.com/blog/

Neil vN said...

Vicki ... as Krisanne said, definitely bounce the flash off those walls next to you. In fact, it will make for more interesting lighting than a white ceiling would've, because you can now have directional light come in from the side.

Neil vN

vicki said...

Thanks Neil! And thanks for following the link back. I've got a trip to the aquarium coming up and I'm going to try again (lots of dark spaces).

Should have read your other article too! http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/2007/10/25/directional-light-from-your-on-camera-flash/

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us!

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