I’m still experimenting with outdoor flash. And, boy, there is a lot to learn !

Discussing two shots today. Both were done with Canon 5d Mk.II, 24-70 f2.8 lens in “M” mode. Flash was a single 580EX-II, helt in the left hand in E-TTL mode. I did this with PocketWizards but any arm-length E-TTL would have done the same job.

In the first shot I positioned the model right in front of the sun in a way that her head blocks the sun and a beautiful rimlight appears around her head. As a total backlit photo it would be showing only the black silhouette of the model. In this typical scenario a flash can be used to fill the silhouette and bring back the details.

The trick is, to have the flash balanced well with the available light to create a more or less natural look as the human eye is usually not limited by the short boundaries, our CMOS chips in our cameras are.

In the first shot you see a more or less out-of-cam version of the first shot. Indeed I used Lightroom 3 to light up the face a bit more to get a more natural look. Either the E-TTL logic had rendered the face a bit too dark, or (more probable) the 580EX was just vastly overpowered by the sun.The second picture I’ve added a vignette but I’m afraid I overdid it a bit.

For the third picture (or second shot) we moved into an area were the face of the model was covered in shadow. In fact is was actually pretty dark, compared to the blazing afternoon sun before. Here the flash became the main light on the model’s face, while the sun, obstructed by shadow, became the fill.

I totally see that the matter of “natural look” is not yet fully achieved 😉

Still I’m looking forward to any comments on my experiments with outdoor flash photography you may leave below.