I knew in a flash
In my last post I said that I had been researching flash units, and had decided on the Canon EX 320. Well, I picked one up Thursday morning before I went for my daily walk, and all I can say is wow, I should have bought one a long time ago!
This will sound funny, but what I like most about it is how much I can control its output and make my photos look as if I hadn’t used a flash of any kind. I maybe a kook, buying a flash unit so that I can shoot photos that look as though I didn’t use a flash, but I’ll have more on that a bit later.
To begin with, I had the flash mounted on my Canon 60 D body with the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) on it, and spotted some morning glories in the shade, a good subject to begin my testing. I had the flash settings of my camera still set to what I had been using for the camera’s built-in flash, and my first images with the EX 320 were way too dark, a very good sign to me.
The built-in flash of my camera over-powers and tries to over-expose everything all the time, and I have been setting it to – 2 1/3 stops to prevent that. So, I started dialing in the EX 320 for these.
That looked so good to me that I had to crop it slightly.
Here’s a two more to show what difference the flash made.
I was hoping to find some birds perched in the shade under the leaf canopy of trees, but had no luck finding any, so these geese had to do for testing the flash.
I probably should have gone up 1/3 stop for the geese, but that photo tells me what I need to know, the flash has a fairly good range, and will kill the shadows without the image showing that it was shot with a flash.
So, I spent the rest of the day playing, shooting various subject with and without the flash, but I won’t bore you with those photos. I’ll just throw in a two more to demonstrate how well I can control the EX 320 to get a good image with it that still looks natural.
I really, really like the fact that I can use the flash to get the shot without ending up with the very harsh shadows typical of many flash photos! I can set the EX 320 to add just enough light to add a little pop to the colors, shoot at a lower ISO for better image quality, and yet have the image look natural!
I didn’t need the flash for this butterfly, which was shot with the Tokina macro lens.
The last shot from Thursday shows one of the many features of the EX 320, wireless control of the unit. I can have that unit off from the camera and trigger it to fire wirelessly, as this rather crude test demonstrates.
Other features are a constant LED light, similar to the LED light panel that I already have. I don’t know how useful the LED light will be from the EX 320, it has a rather low output. If nothing else, it will make a good work light while I’m shooting sunrises or sunsets and can no longer see the camera controls.
The EX 320 also has a camera remote control feature, useable whether or not I have the EX 320 fire. That will come in very handy and it saves me from purchasing a separate remote control. For sunsets and sunrises when I have the camera on the tripod, I can fire the camera without the flash remotely to reduce camera shake, and for macro photos, I can fire the camera while holding the flash off camera and pointing the flash where I want the light to go. Very handy.
I’m not going to go into how flexible the EX 320 with the Canon 60 D bodies are as far as flash control, that will come with time as I learn to make use of all the controls that I have now. The only thing that I see may be a problem is that the EX 320 may not have a high enough output for when I’m in the Muskegon area trying to shoot towards the sun as often happens. That remains to be seen, but, I can also try firing both the EX 320 and the camera’s built-in flash to get a higher output. But, it doesn’t matter that much to me anyway, I am so happy with this unit’s performance so far for the types of photos that I shoot around home that I wouldn’t think of returning it.
I have a couple of photos from when I was trying to use the built-in flash for examples. Here’s an evening primrose with no flash in the rain.
Here’s the same flower with the built-in flash as best as I could do.
Of course the one with the flash is better, without it the image is just dead and lifeless. But, I think that the image shot with the flash would have been better if I could have dialed down the power output of the flash a little more. We’ll see, I’m almost hoping for more rain so I can try it. 😉
Okay, enough about flash photography for now, even though some of these photos that follow where shot with the camera’s flash. I won’t tell you which ones, or what lens I used, because it’s been a while since I shot these, and I’ve forgotten many of the details. 😉
I’ll start with pillow rock.
I don’t know why I find that rock so interesting but I do.
I do remember that I shot this beetle with the 300 mm prime lens.
Because when I grabbed the second body with the Tokina macro lens, I bumped the plant causing the beetle to fall down to another leaf. It must have been mad at me for interrupting its meal, for it skulked off and wouldn’t pose for me after that.
This is the last rose-breasted grosbeak that I’ve seen around here, I think the rest of them have headed south already.
I don’t usually shoot the house sparrows around here, but I had to shoot this mother and juvenile.
I think that all parents can relate to the look on the mother’s face in this next one.
I don’t know what this flower is, nor have I been able to find it again to get a better image of it.
My model in training, the female northern cardinal.
My lame attempt at an artistic photo of a morning glory.
I spotted a male indigo bunting, but he was perched where I had just the blue sky as a background, and because of it, the bunting’s true colors don’t show up well.
I was having a bad day that day anyway, I was too slow on the shutter all morning.
But then, my luck changed, I spotted the bunting again, but in the shade, so I still didn’t get the photo of him that I wanted.
He must have felt sorry for me, because he hopped over into the sunlight for these next images.
Do you know how hard it was for me not to post every photo of the bunting that I shot? 😉 Those are cropped just a bit, and they are some of my best photos of the buntings.
The Michigan lilies are still blooming.
I was trying to get a photo of this butterfly with its wings backlit.
But a clear-winged moth flew by, and I ended up losing track of both the moth and the butterfly.
It’s hard to lose track of one of these.
A couple of insects on flowers.
I don’t know if this sparrow is an adult molting, or a juvenile.
A few of the other flowers blooming now.
I shot this next one as much for the grass as the dragonfly perched on it.
This next one proves that I’ll shoot just about anything. 😉
Another example that shows that summer is winding down.
I haven’t seen many of these lately either, come to think of it.
And finally, a young red squirrel hiding from me.
Well, that’s about all for this one. I’m sure that I’ll have plenty more about the new flash unit coming up soon, but I’ll try to keep things brief when I do.
One thing that I learned today that has very little to do with photography is that one should be careful with their cell phone. I messed up the outer screen of my flip phone today while lying on the ground trying to shoot a water strider. Oh well, it was time for a new phone anyway, and this one still works, so I’m in no hurry.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!