The Digital Photo Guy

Monday Morning Tip – 6/22/09

by on Jun.22, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips

After 4 weeks of Adobe Camera Raw, let’s move on to Canon flash modes this week. Canon flash modes are deep, dark secrets revealed only to those who have been sworn to keep the ways of Ninja Engineers. In order to preserve this secrecy, those to whom these secrets are revealed are immediately “flashed” with the MIB memory eraser. (If you didn’t see the movie, rent it the next time your brain needs a time-out!) OK, so it’s not that much of a secret but surely the Canon engineers who work in the flash lab have very limited English skills because so little information is available in the written English word. One of the “bibles” of Canon flash is NK Guy’s article Canon EOS Flash Photography. Unfortunately, it has a bad habit of turning readers’ brains into mush that dribbles out of their ears due to the depth and breadth of information. It can only be read in small bits at a time and each part needs to be read, at least, 10 times before it begins to make sense. I’ve been working on absorbing all of it for the past 5 years.

Today’s MMT is a very brief distillation of what NK Guy has written. In fact, it’s probably not more than 2% of his article but I hope it catches some of the highlights of what’s needed by a dSLR newbie trying to improve their flash photography.

As always, the full article is in the Tips & News section and requires a password. Passwords are e-mailed to all registered readers.

Quick Tip

 When releasing the shutter, try not to “stab” it with your forefinger. Those of you who had the pleasure of attending a US military boot camp may recall the DI screaming in your ear as you aimed downrange, “Numbskull, I said caress the trigger, don’t twang it like a guitar string”. A camera shutter release is the same. As you get ready to release the shutter, press the fatty side of your fingertip against the frame of the camera, just in front of the button. Slowly roll your finger tip backwards until the flesh “oozes” over the release and the release takes you by surprise. “Stabbing” the release is a sure recipe for blurry photo.

Torrey Pine Photos

I was at Torrey Pines Gliderport on Sunday. It was interesting but not spectacular. There are just so many photos one can take of paragliders and hang gliders. Since this was the first time I had tried to photograph this sport, I was scrambling for a unique vantage point. A typical eye level  shot doesn’t work worth beans because the sail far above the pilot. This leads to a very small pilot with a full canopy or a large pilot mysteriously suspended in air. I tried to photograph from directly under as they flew overhead but that simply resulted in lots of “butt shots”. Next, I tried a higher perspective from the snack shop balcony but all the pilots are wearing full face helmets so there wasn’t much human interest. It seems the only way to get good photos is to get in the air with them but it will be a cold day in a very hot place before I throw myself off the side of a cliff, hoping the sail keeps me aloft.

There were only a few photos that I thought were worth beans. I’ll have them posted here in a few days since it’s not worth creating a new pBase gallery for them.

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