LAST week, I asked for suggestions from readers on what article to write about. I got a few replies and in one email, I found the topic about flash photography quite interesting. Please keep on sending those suggestions and let’s learn together. The email came from Ronniel Abellar. He also gets one back issue of IMAG photography magazine.
When I returned to photography four years ago, everything was already digital. The last time I held a camera was during the 90s when we had to load 36-shot film cartridges. One device that really scares me in the digital era is the flash. I just find it intimidating, especially the buttons at the back.
A device that fires a light couldn’t be that complicated that they have to put a lot of buttons at the back and pack it with intelligence, right? Why do they have to come with channels, groupings, slave and master, and, of course, manual and TTL?
It took a lot of testing, failed photos and people waiting for me to take the shot because I was still setting up the flash. In the end, it wasn’t that complicated. Once you figure it out, you’ll be making the most of it and will save you a lot of time.
Mode refers to the selection of TTL and manual. TTL stands for through the lens metering. This is an automatic mode that determines how much amount of light is needed, while manual lets you decide the power of the flash.
When you select TTL, which is ETTL for Canon and iTTL for Nikon, the flash works together with the camera and both devices decide how much light is need. To do this, the camera instructs the flash to fire a quick test fire and reads how much light comes back. With the data received, the camera sets the flash to the recommended power.
The test fire is so fast that it happens in less than 1/1000th of a second. So if you’re using a mounted flash with TTL and you face it up bouncing the ceiling, the camera will consider and compute for that distance. To override the camera’s recommendation, you can adjust your flash compensation in your camera to add or reduce the amount of light.
Note that in TTL mode, the camera is not only considering how much light comes back but also computes it based on your current exposure settings. Cool right? So even if you are in different creative shooting modes like manual or AV, your flash power will compensate for your exposure settings and condition of the scene.
Setting the flash at “Manual” mode gives you full control over the flash power. Flash power is normally measured in fractions. Full power is 1/1 while half power is ½. Some flash can go as low as 1/128. Maybe not all available external flashes have TTL, but pretty much all have manual controls. Even the CDR-King flash priced at P1880 has manual controls.
I will have to cut this article and continue it next weekend. Please keep on emailing your article suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, the yearly open photowalk organized by Dexter Maneja “Old School Meets New School” is happening on Aug. 31. Gear up and join the photowalk.
Keep on shooting everyone! www.grp.ph