So, after my last blog post, I read the manual for my Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight Flash when I went to bed that night. Yes, I should have done that sooner! And since it was a gift and I didn't buy it, I didn't even realize it came with fun accessories like gels and stuff! Yes, I had opened the box, but obviously I didn't dig very deeply.
Yesterday I hosted my daughter's weekly playgroup, and took the opportunity to play with the flash a bit. It was all in direct sunlight, and with none of the accessories. But reading the manual did help me understand things a bit better. (It's funny how that happens). So, I love it! Even in the direct sun just using it as a fill flash, I thought it created better photos. I know most photographers that have an artier, non-commercial edge to them, "flash" is like a bad word, something that is only used by amateurs or the paparrazzi, creating flat boring photos. But I guess if you know what you are doing, you can make it work for you. I guess I'm going for something more commercial, anyway, but I still value my fine art background and hope that sensibility doesn't completely disappear!
I was also happy because I think I got some good close-up smiling shots of my daughter, Violet. I have ten million photos of her, but recently I realized I didn't have nice close-up smiling shots with eye contact! What parent doesn't want that? She likes to pose, but if I ask her to smile at the camera, she gives me a God awful grimace, or flat out ignores me. So, yesterday when she was playing on her swing, swinging towards the camera, I just started yelling out, "Elmo!" I don't know why I thought of doing that, but oddly enough I got the results I wanted! With every "Elmo" yelled out she enthusiastically gave me a big smile. If that is something I could pick up in a photography book, it is something I haven't come across yet. So it was a good lesson!
The photo below is an experiment with Photoshop. I realize Photoshop is the new darkroom. I used to feel like using Adobe Photoshop was cheating, but hey, how many hours did I used to spend in the darkroom dodging photographs, reprinting them a million times with different exposures and color variations getting everything just right? I used to think Adobe Photoshop was too expensive (although I've always had it and been a slave to it for other purposes), but I guess in the long run it's cheaper than using a darkroom. I still kind of grieve over the loss of the darkroom, but I'm open to adapting..