The problem with flash . . . .

Studio Photography, Flash, Daylight and Studio Lights, Flash equipment and use
  
24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 00:33    
mannesty
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Post The problem with flash . . . .

. . . and night time motorsport.

I thought some here might be interested to learn how you can use Lightroom to dramatically reduce the uneven lighting effect of flash when faced with a similar situation to mine.

Briefly, I am the official track side photographer for a small oval banger racing club. Many of the race meetings are during the winter months and they start after the sun has gone down necessitating the use of floodlighting. This lighting is certainly good enough for the drivers, spectators, and race officials to see the racing, but pretty darned useless for photographing the event.

To augment the floodlighting I use a bare hot shoe mounted AF540FGZ flash, no diffuser. I'm usually at ground level and quite close to the action, hence I get images like these :-



The foreground is well over exposed and the background hardly lit at all.

So once I've got the images into Lightroom I apply 2 'Graduated filters' which, in the olden days, could possibly have been achieved using ND Grad filters on the front of the lens. Difficult, but not impossible.

Lightroom to the rescue. First, I apply a -3 EV (approx) ND Grad to the bottom half of the image with the darkest part of the filter at the bottom and end up with an image similar to the following :-



Next, I apply another +2 EV (approx) ND Grad to the top half of the image. All that remains is to crop, adjust WB, exposure, & contrast, sharpen and reduce noise as necessary.

The resulting image (below) looks much better than the original I think. I hope you agree.


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24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:02    
Steve_7HC
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

I too use the Grad Filter tool as a positive and negative filter on the same images as required. Using it as a positive filter doesn't come naturally but once you get over the mental hurdle, it's fantastic.

Good set of images to demonstrate the dual use of the ND Grad tool

 
 
 
 
  
24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:39    
layingback
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

Good lesson. I tend to use 1 ND grad and then modify entire image. Will need to give this method a try. Thanks.

(And you have similar ND and gradient options in darktable for those using Linux.)


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24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 13:41    
mannesty
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

I should add that this technique works much better when shooting RAW due to the generous exposure latitude it offers over JPG.


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"Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad."

 
 
 
 
  
24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 20:34    
SteveEveritt
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

Good tips for the grad in LR Pete. I have used it in a similar way in the past but had never thought of using it this way. We regularly have endurance races at the kart track so I may give this a go on the next meet.
Have you tried trailing curtain flash to get the car visibly moving in the first part of the photo and then freezing it with a blast of flash at the edge of the frame.
Might be worth a go Cool


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24 Mar '14 Mon Mar 24, 2014 20:54    
mannesty
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

I do use trailing curtain synch Steve, but I think I use too high shutter speed to show the effect you talk about. I'll give it a go at the next meeting in 3 weeks time.


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Peter E Smith

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"Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad."

 
 
 
 
  
25 Mar '14 Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:45    
Steve_7HC
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

Having just watched part of a web cast on Lightroom Presets, could always use the radial filter for the vignette approach to the problem. Can invert the settings so inside the area is changed rather than the outside. Shape of area can be pulled and pushed to fit the subject better, albeit you still have to work within an ellipse.

 
 
 
 
  
25 Mar '14 Tue Mar 25, 2014 22:04    
sasastro
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Post Re: The problem with flash . . . .

Thanks for the guidance, have to admit to still finding my way around LR


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