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Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:41 pm

Thanks for the extra output.
But say you use high speed flash sync at a shutter speed just faster than the flash sync speed on your body; e.g. if your flash sync is 1/500th, and you shoot at 1/1000th with high speed flash sync, you probably won't achieve 'frozen' images. This gets even worse with a lot of bodies, since they have a flash sync of 1/200.

I concede this is maybe an esoteric example, but it illustrates the point.
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:26 pm

joshilewis wrote:Thanks for the extra output.
But say you use high speed flash sync at a shutter speed just faster than the flash sync speed on your body; e.g. if your flash sync is 1/500th, and you shoot at 1/1000th with high speed flash sync, you probably won't achieve 'frozen' images. This gets even worse with a lot of bodies, since they have a flash sync of 1/200.

I concede this is maybe an esoteric example, but it illustrates the point.


In the bush you must decide before taking the shot what it is that you want to achieve. If you are looking for frozen action, why play in the grey areas? Go for broke and shoot at +1/2000th.

If the ambient light conditions are such that you just exceed the X-sync rating of your camera, the subject is a yawning lion and you want to fill in the shadows, you have nothing to worry about as the job will be done adequately at 1/500th already.

The point is that with HSS you do not have to fiddle around in shutter speed ranges where blur is a possibility...
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Scipio » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:46 pm

So you basically have a flash at every moment of your exposure, making sure there are no highlights, or darker borders? Like the flash will follow your shutter opening & closing & "filling in" the exposure with "multiple" lightbeams/flashes? In Laymans terms please. :tongue:

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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:21 pm

Scipio wrote:So you basically have a flash at every moment of your exposure, making sure there are no highlights, or darker borders? Like the flash will follow your shutter opening & closing & "filling in" the exposure with "multiple" lightbeams/flashes? In Laymans terms please. :tongue:


Scipio, the flash pulse is so rapid (50kHz) that it can be considered a constant light source. It serves to fill in the shadows that you get when the ambient light is not so hot... you know.. the golden hour you sometime get in the morning... it can now be extended a little with this technology. This technology also opens new possibilities with action shots.
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Scipio » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:23 pm

:thumbs_up: A light just went up. No pun intended. 8)

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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Jane » Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:45 pm

The latest Nikon cameras have D Lighting so you dont need Fill Flash and thank goodness as those delicate Carnivore and Nocturnal birds eyes dont get damaged by cruel flashes which can harm those ultra sensitive and much needed retinas
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:17 am

Jane wrote:The latest Nikon cameras have D Lighting so you dont need Fill Flash
Please explain further

Jane wrote:and thank goodness as those delicate Carnivore and Nocturnal birds eyes dont get damaged by cruel flashes which can harm those ultra sensitive and much needed retinas

Yes, none of us advocate using flashes at night. Fill-in flash is used during the day (by definition, otherwise it wouldn't be 'fill-in')
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby RUMURUTI » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:30 pm

Here's an example of how much a flash can change a picture.

Picture taken without the use of a flsh
Image
and then picture taken with a flash
Image

Both taken with a Nikon D80 - 1/60 sec - 135mm
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby RUMURUTI » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:34 pm

Another example of fill in effects
Image

Nikon D80 - 1/125 sec - 135mm - ISO 100
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:35 am

With respect, Andy... what you are showing us is NOT fill effect, but just straight forward flash effect. You "fill in" when sunlight still provides the main source of light. In your shots the flash has taken over that role as the number one source of light.

Image

Above is a good example of the effect of flash to fill in shadows and to give a glint to the eye as well as high speed sync between flash and camera alluded to earlier. This shot was taken with a Canon 40D and 400mm f/5.6 prime wide open and with shutter speed @ 1/4000th.
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:02 am

Thanks for the illustrative posts guys :)
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Jane » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:10 pm

Andy a Pearlspotted Owl is a nocturnal animal and as such has extremely sensitive eyes and as such should never be subjected to flash photography . The same applies to leopards, lion, Coursers,Nightjars and the like. If you are a Nikon user rather use the Dlighting function...maybe the latest Canon has it as well?? Also it looks like you have used far too much flash as lots of your whites are burnt out??

I know I see stars for a couple of minutes after being flashed and I am only a puny human with inefficient eyes and I dont need eyes to catch my supper...I just open the fridge and cook. Imagine this owl trying to recover its vision which it needs to hunt??
Last edited by Jane on Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Jane » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:20 pm

joshilewis wrote:
Jane wrote:The latest Nikon cameras have D Lighting so you dont need Fill Flash
Please explain further

Jane wrote:and thank goodness as those delicate Carnivore and Nocturnal birds eyes dont get damaged by cruel flashes which can harm those ultra sensitive and much needed retinas

Yes, none of us advocate using flashes at night. Fill-in flash is used during the day (by definition, otherwise it wouldn't be 'fill-in')


Josh have a look at the lion I posted under mammals this afternoon. It was taken 25 minutes before sunrise and would have been an ideal candidate for fill flash as it was darker than the pic looks...rather like the unflashed owl pic above on this page. But my hubby set the D700 up for me before we left camp as we were after this lion and his 2 partners and as it is not ethical to flash any cat anytime of the day he keyed in 3200 ISO and Dlighting Auto. Its in the Nikon manual and the result is a bright clear pic and no flash required...FGASA 1 Lesson 1 Page 1 ...dont disturb the animals...My husband is also a FGASA Guide and doesnt allow any of his guests to use flash on lions day or night for that very reason but other non nocturnal animals yes its not ideal but not life threatening as it is with all nocturnal animals/birds and it doesnt matter if they are photographed day or night they still have ultra sensitive eyes but then you know that
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:07 am

Jane, thanks for your reply.
I can't seem to find the photo of the lion you're referring to.
I still don't know what Nikon D-Lighting is and I doubt my camera has it (unfortunately I can't afford a D700).

I was not aware that using a flash during the day would be harmful to the eyes of nocturnal animals. Do you have any resources I could use to read further on this?

Without having researched Nikon D Lighting at all, I will say I find it hard to believe that it can achieve the same effect as fill-in flash. This is simply not possible, since its a function of the amount of light, and how the light falls on the subject as well as the background.

I would also prefer it if you didn't cast aspersions on my conduct as a registered guide.
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Re: Fill-in Flash for wildlife shots

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:34 am

I've now done some reading on Nikon D-Lighting. My D40X has it as a 'retouch' option, i.e. after the photo has been taken. This is akin to post-processing the photo on a computer. The newer camera have active or dynamic D-Lighting, which changes the exposure before the photo is taken.

Most of the literature I've read suggest this feature (on my camera) is ignored. I will give it a try, but I hold out very little hope for it, and will more likely continue to use flash to get the effect I want.

I will bear the effects of flash on nocturnal animals in mind in the future, but I still have my doubts as to how much it affects them during the day. I will try to further research on the subject.
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