Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pardon my pop-up

Today's post is the inevitable cat portrait.  Not what I had planned on today, but when the shot came, I couldn't resist using it to make a minor point.  I have spent the past two years or so learning off-camera flash from the master.  At this point I have a lot of knowledge stored up, but not as much experience implementing it, so please don't think any less of him for what you see in my work. 

Back to my point.  I try my hardest to avoid using the pop-up flash on my camera, because it has all the subtlety of a Will Ferrell movie.  But, when my cat crawled up into my lap in my dim living room, I couldn't resist a shot, and relied on the pop-up to get it.  I wanted to keep her from being blinded by the flash at such close range (and attacking me - cats are mean, people...), so I put my hand in front of it at a 45-degree angle relative to the lens.  This caused the light to be redirected up to fall softly down around her - and might cause me some skin cancer down the road.  Hopefully that is a myth.

The side benefit to this was that her pupils are still beautifully wide open, rather than contracted by the flash.  Note that I did have to bring the exposure up a bit in RAW - my settings weren't quite prepared for the occasion.

The weird object on the left side of the picture behind her ear is my foot - at least the cat knows how to pose appropriately!

Nikon D90
105mm - ISO 800 
1/60s- f/5.6

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