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flash aversion :-)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by twalker294, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    I've made an observation in both my own pictures with the E-PL1 and pics I've looked at from others with Pens -- very VERY few use flash. The Pens are so good a available light photography, especially if you have the 20/1.7 or 17/2.8, that flash is rarely needed. I've been an available light lover myself since buying my first DSLR and fast prime so this fits my shooting style perfectly. It's just interesting to see that so few pics from these cameras utilize the internal flash. Of course the fact that the E-P1/P2 didn't have an internal flash probably contributes to that somewhat :wink:
     
  2. Vidar

    Vidar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    545
    Dec 31, 2009
    Bergen, Norway
    "Avoid making a commotion, just as you wouldn’t stir up the water before fishing. Don’t use a flash out of respect for the natural lighting, even when there isn’t any. If these rules aren’t followed, the photographer becomes unbearably obstrusive."
    - Henri Cartier-Bresson

    I never use flash either. But to be honest I don´t know HOW to use a flash the right way, and I never owned a good flash. (I use an E-P1)

    For now I just want to learn how to better use available light.
     
  3. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    I've never seen that quote from Bresson before and I love it -- "...out of respect for the natural lighting even when there isn't any." Excellent.
     
  4. xyzzy

    xyzzy Mu-43 Regular

    I've never seen that quote either - but it is great! I have to admit that I have a flash for my E-P1, but I hardly ever use it, basically only if I am called upon to take family photos for my relatives ... They have to bear with flash if they all want to be in the same picture :)
     
  5. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    I feel the same. When I look through my pictures, most of the ones shot in natural light look better than most of the ones shot with flash. Mind you, that could be more related to my lack of skill than the evils of flash per se...
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I don't use flash either. I spent some time trying to learn flash -- on camera and off -- with my 5D for some portrait work. Found I could not master it, and some simple reflectors were cheaper and easier to manage (because you can see the results before taking the picture. With flash, it's a bit trickier).

    I know masters of flash (the strobist camp) can do wonders, but I've never seen the need, so that's why I'm fine with my EP1 (at least as far as flash goes).
     
  7. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    438
    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    Taking photos without flash (on night out, especially) is what set my photos apart from those of my friends.
     
  8. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    There is a time a place for a flash, I generally avoid them. But if you are indoors and want to get photos of fast moving kids. A flash will yield much better results.

    But this comes down to knowing how to uses it. Most people that avoid the flash either use it as a direct flash. And that will give unappealing flash wash. Or do not understand how to really deploy them in photography.

    When I use the epl-1's flash and I am in regular height room. I use my finger and tilt the flash back to bounce it off a wall or ceiling. I am heading to Hong Kong on my south east asia tour in dec. And will be picking up a nissin di466 to improve the flash.

    I have a very good low light camera in my canon, and a merry assortment of fast primes. But depending on what I am shooting. The flash adds another dimension to my shoot kit.

    Wedding photog that are good are masters of flash work. There is no way to get that kind of results in low light without them.
    Using 2nd curtain flash will give low light action a nice sense of the action. It really is worth doing some youtube workshops on flash photography, there are times it will add to the photos.
     
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    The on-camera flash is a nice thing to trigger studio strobes or to trigger a separate flash (Vivitar, etc.) set on a nearby table and bouncing off a white wall or ceiling. Some tape or a finger held over part of it will ensure that its light does not significantly affect the photo. Once in a while I have even used someone's white shirt or someone holding a white cloth as a bounce target/reflector. It works kind of like a medium-sized soft box. You can get some very nice lighting from it.

    In my experience, it is awkward to get the on-camera flash output onto a wall or ceiling and it generally does not have enough power anyway. Possibly shoturtle knows a trick that I do not.

    Once in a while I have also successfully used an on-camera flash for fill when shooting outside, but usually it does not have enough power for that either.
     
  10. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    The epl-1 flash is good to bounce off a 8ft white ceiling and can push it to 10ft in a tight spot.


     
  11. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    574
    Aug 16, 2010
    Australia
    There is flash photography, and then there is good flash photography! Utilising available light will only go so far, even in reasonably good light. Sometimes available light does not come from the direction that flatters the subject, and it needs a little help from artificial light. Nothing wrong with that! :smile:
     
  12. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    438
    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    I often find myself in situations where use of a flash would help greatly, but would make me unpopular. I carry a flash, and I do know how to use it, but the people I'm usually with simply aren't there to accommodate my hobby.
     
  13. nwbie1

    nwbie1 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Oct 18, 2010
    San Francisco, Ca.
    I agree with Rudi....

    I consider good wedding photographers the "masters of flash photography". I have a couple of friends who shoots weddings and when I see their work...the control and the detail that you get from using flash is very encouraging....even in daylight....

    you can check this guys work and tutorials....he is a well known photographer in the east coast...did some clinic on flash photography at B & H(New York). I've learned a lot from his website and use my flash on every opportunity i get.

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    I originally thought that flashes were evil, and really dug into available light photography when I first started with this hobby 18 months ago. Fast primes and larger sensors certainly make a lot possible, but I feel like I've definitely fully explored the boundaries of what is possible with available light and therefore bought a flash last week and am anxious to learn how to use it to go beyond those boundaries. I definitely want to learn how to use it in such a way that makes it look as natural as possible and from my brief experimenting thus far, that's going to take some practice (just like learning to prosper in the boundaries of available light). I wish everything could be done without a flash, but that's just not possible. I have seen enough examples, as others have stated, of good, very natural looking flash photos so I'm not afraid to figure it out, excellent natural looking photos can be had! :) I do believe it's perfectly acceptable to limit yourself to available light photography if you wish, but then you have to accept that there's some photos you won't be able to get, and I don't want to be limited when the tools exist to go beyond.
     
  15. 996gt2

    996gt2 Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Oct 27, 2010
    Flash is an extremely powerful tool once mastered. However, mastering the art of flash photography (both on and off camera) takes a long time. I think that's why many beginners have an aversion to flash.
     
  16. John Goldie

    John Goldie New to Mu-43

    I prefer at almost all costs to avoid using a flash, but with all due respect to Cartier-Bresson, there are lots of masterful documentary photographers like Gene Smith who used flash exquisitely when it was called for.

    - John Goldie
     
  17. briandforever

    briandforever Mu-43 Regular

    87
    Sep 27, 2010
    agree, nobody likes the flat washed out looking picture taken with on body flash, but there are some limitation that flash is needed to take picture less noise and less blur, besides, on pen on body flash power can be adjusted. :)
     
  18. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    154
    Oct 28, 2010
    I used to try at all costs to avoid using a flash. But I gave up because I found that even with a fast lens at high-ish ISOs, there are many indoor shots that just don't work. Especially when they involve people (e.g. children) who move, making slower shutter speeds impossible.

    So now I'm trying to learn to tame the flash. I'm also learning that a fill flash can make a good shot better, if done correctly. Still a novice though.
     
  19. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    I have to say thanks again for this link and suggest that anyone looking to learn flash check it out. It was incredibly well done and illustrated with examples, very informative for a newbie such as myself, thanks!

     
  20. nwbie1

    nwbie1 Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Oct 18, 2010
    San Francisco, Ca.
    that is what i'm talking about....

    Yup zpierce, that is what I'm talking about, the control that the flash gives you (if used correctly) is very nice. I ended up buying a Metz 48 after reading some reviews. Now I take my flash with me all the time and use it almost 70% of the time, even day time (to fill in shadows). I've seen other websites that talks about flash but Niel's website is so far the best I've seen that is why I recommend it....

    Alan