The Digital Photo Guy

More Flash Hints

by on Sep.11, 2011, under gear, Monday Morning Tips

A Little Light is Wonderful, Too Much is Yucky

On my Meetup site, we recently scheduled a shoot at Cruisin’ Grand, a summer weekly hot rod show on Grand Avenue. I like events like Cruisin’ Grand because it’s a fun, challenging opportunity to practice PJ skills. The crowds make it nearly impossible to make photos without lots of “extras” in the background. Because it starts late in the afternoon and closes after dark, it’s also an opportunity to practice making fast decisions with my flash.

The first two shots of a fire truck are with and without fill flash. Both shots are SOOC (straight out of camera) without any editing except resizing and compressing. Although my main focus was on the flag above the truck, the second shot with fill flash is better because the lighting is more balanced. However, notice how the flash turned the reflective lettering on the trucks white. These won’t win any awards for artistic merit but they clearly show the value of fill flash. The third photo demos use of the catchlight (kicker) panel on a Canon 580EX II. I pulled out the kicker and angled the light at 45°. That gave me enough light to fully light up the engine without harsh shadows. If your flash doesn’t have a kicker, you can do the same thing with a white business card rubber banded to the top of the flash.


You can see more “real” photos on my Meetup site.

The Absurdity of Burning Man

For those who have never heard of Burning Man, it’s an annual “counterculture experience of self expression and discovery” in the Nevada desert (read that as a drug and alcohol fueled orgy.) For those who have heard of Burning Man, here are some interesting thoughts to ponder.

For a “counterculture experience,” the organizers raked in over $15,000,000 dollars this year. That’s fifteen million US Dollars. So, for that kind of dough, what does one get from BM (an apt acronym?) You get the right to squat on a piece of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property for a week with absolutely no amenities except porta-potties. You also have the right to buy (that’s right, BUY) water from the organizers. Everything else has to be hauled in by yourself.

You are NOT allowed to buy or sell anything other than what is offered by the organizers, after all, this IS a counterculture experience. The party line is that BM is a “gift economy” and everything is to be freely given without expectation of anything in return. Of course, this “gift economy” doesn’t apply to the organizers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against any entity establishing their own rules. After all, this is a capitalistic society. What amazes me is the number of dolts who actually pay to attend such an event. Included among these dolts are professional photographers who sign a contract that gives BM all rights to all their photos PLUS 10% of all revenue generated by the photograher. In other words, photographers are BM employees working on straight commission.

Here are some interesting reads on BM baloney:

Electronic Freedom Foundation, August 2009

Burning Hypocrisy, 2003

San Francisco Chronicle, August 2011

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