Creative bouncing

Started Jan 5, 2011 | Discussions
agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Creative bouncing

I think this might make for an interesting thread. Post a picture or two where you had to get creative bouncing your flash in order to get the lighting that you wanted.

Here's my contribution:

1. Went for a walk around Old San Juan on January 1st with my family to take pictures. The day was horribly overcast and we were late in the afternoon. The light was already dim and very flat. I wanted to get a nice picture but I knew that with available light it would look kind of "meh" so I decided to use flash. The problem was that I didn't bring any modifiers to use the flash off camera and the nearest wall to bounce off was across the street. I figured I might get away with bouncing it from there but I'd need to tweak my exposure so I chose 1/250th @ F2.8 ISO3200 to get the maximum possible range from my flash and it worked. I'm happy with the result:

I probably could've gotten away with a lower ISO if I had zoomed out the flash head but at that time I didn't think of that possibility. It was a very quick snap.

2. Same day, a little later. Almost sunset. We were walking along the sidewalk when it started to rain. We sheltered under a big yellow umbrella and my cousin asked me to take a picture of him with his family. I bounced my flash up and to my right and got pretty good directional light on my subjects. The umbrella created a yellowish cast on them that when corrected rendered the background blue. Kind of a cool effect I think. I'm also very happy with this result:

LX93 Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
Re: Creative bouncing

Good, even lighting on both captures. No highlights, no harsh shadows, a great argument for bounce flash instead of direct flash.

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Cookster670 Contributing Member • Posts: 850
Re: Creative bouncing

Well..I've already posted these on my thread about bounce flash, but here are my two favorites. Single flash, mounted on camera, bounced

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Ronan_M
Ronan_M Senior Member • Posts: 1,532
Re: Creative bouncing

agc1976 wrote:
I'm happy with the result:

You bounced that to a wall across the street??? Wow...fantastic result. Never tought that of that...

How far away was the wall across the street?

OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

Ronan_M wrote:

You bounced that to a wall across the street??? Wow...fantastic result. Never tought that of that...

How far away was the wall across the street?

Thanks... hmmmm... 2 lanes and a thick sidewalk. I don't know, maybe 30-40 feet?

The key is using wide apertures, high ISO and zoom the flash head to its max.

Oh, and it was just an SB-600 not zoomed in to its max so imagine what can be done with a racked out SB-900

Port Royal Dad
Port Royal Dad Senior Member • Posts: 2,719
My Try.

Single flash, mounted on camera, head swiveled 90 deg, bounced off wall to my left.

Single flash, mounted on camera, head swiveled 180 deg pointing backwards, and angel, bounced off the ceiling behind me.

Regards, Mike

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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Creative bouncing

agc1976 wrote:

Ronan_M wrote:

You bounced that to a wall across the street??? Wow...fantastic result. Never tought that of that...

How far away was the wall across the street?

Thanks... hmmmm... 2 lanes and a thick sidewalk. I don't know, maybe 30-40 feet?

Hmmm... yeah well... sorry and all, but I don't find that credible. The proof would have been a comparative shot without flash. Have you got one of those?

(If you have, and it shows that the flash did add something in the way of lighting, then I will appologise for my skepticism as gracefully as I can.)

Either way, it is a charming shot.

The key is using wide apertures, high ISO and zoom the flash head to its max.

Even so....
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OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

Barrie Davis wrote:

Hmmm... yeah well... sorry and all, but I don't find that credible. The proof would have been a comparative shot without flash. Have you got one of those?

Sorry, I don't have a comparative shot without flash. I do honestly think that the flash contributed to the exposure on her just by the look of her skin. I know how skin looks on overcast light and it doesn't "glow" like it does here.

If you zoom in and look at the catch lights you'll be able to see a small one in the center (the flash) and a larger one to the left (the light bounced from the building).

Here's another example of extreme flash bouncing although I believe not as good. I bounced (believe it or not) off the branches and leaves of a tree above/right of camera. On this one I'm not really sure it made contribution to the exposure but I think it did based on the shadow patterns of her neck/chin. Also you can see the catchlihgts on her eyes that show the big light source coming from above/right:

(If you have, and it shows that the flash did add something in the way of lighting, then I will appologise for my skepticism as gracefully as I can.)

Either way, it is a charming shot.

Thank you very much

Karl Johnston New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Creative bouncing

Those are pretty well exposed pics

Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 14,995
Re: Creative bouncing

agc1976 wrote:

Here's another example of extreme flash bouncing although I believe not as good. I bounced (believe it or not) off the branches and leaves of a tree above/right of camera. On this one I'm not really sure it made contribution to the exposure but I think it did based on the shadow patterns of her neck/chin. Also you can see the catchlihgts on her eyes that show the big light source coming from above/right:

If you did get any contribution from bouncing your strobe off the overhead tree branches and leaves then your original non-white balance image should have a distinct green cast. It should be easy for you to determine this.

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OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

Sailor Blue wrote:

If you did get any contribution from bouncing your strobe off the overhead tree branches and leaves then your original non-white balance image should have a distinct green cast. It should be easy for you to determine this.

I can't tell since I'm color blind. I used the eye dropper in her eye and then warmed it up a little. Final values in Lightroom were:
Temp 4843
Tint +10

Here's the photo using a "flash" white balance to reveal any color cast:

Quantum Help Senior Member • Posts: 1,666
Re: Creative bouncing

Port Royal's are definitely bounced. No question.

I think the OP "believes" his bounce is working but it looks like just ambient light. In the last one, if it was bounced off the trees, there would be a greenish cast to the subject and if he corrected it, there would be a magenta cast to the unaffected background.

To see how the bounce flash would work, the OP should use a higher shutter speed to cut down the ambient light and let the "bounce" become the main light. Then the difference will become apparent.

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OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

Quantum Help wrote:

Port Royal's are definitely bounced. No question.

I think the OP "believes" his bounce is working but it looks like just ambient light. In the last one, if it was bounced off the trees, there would be a greenish cast to the subject and if he corrected it, there would be a magenta cast to the unaffected background.

To see how the bounce flash would work, the OP should use a higher shutter speed to cut down the ambient light and let the "bounce" become the main light. Then the difference will become apparent.

hmmm... I don't think there should be any doubt that the second one is bounced. The first one, well... you had to be there. It was overcast, the light was so flat and boring... there was no way I'd be able to get that quality of light without the help of artificial directional light. Its very sublte, but it's there.

The third one is the one I'm not so sure about. I posted a pic using "flash" WB (5500K with 0 tint adjustment) to see if anyone can point out the green cast on the subject. I'm color blind and am not able to tell by myself.

Photo!Snapper Senior Member • Posts: 1,227
Re: Creative bouncing

Love these, esp the first one. Little things make huge difference.

Use little flag for short lighting.

Bounced off 15 feet away wall.

Well, op try 2 lights and you'll be happier
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Cookster670 Contributing Member • Posts: 850
Re: Creative bouncing

These are nice Images. Were you dragging the shutter? Ambient light is lovely
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PhotographicPhil Regular Member • Posts: 320
Re: Creative bouncing

Nice first shot. I too am sceptical of the effect of the bounce over such a great distance, although I must admit that it does look like flash light is hitting the subject from somewhere.

What strikes me though is how noise free the shot is using ISO3200. When zoomed in I can't see any grain at all. Perhaps I should convert from Canon to Nikon!

Photo!Snapper Senior Member • Posts: 1,227
Re: Creative bouncing

1/30 @ f/3.5 iso 400
yea dragging a bit but 1/30 is nothing much.
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OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

PhotographicPhil wrote:

Nice first shot. I too am sceptical of the effect of the bounce over such a great distance, although I must admit that it does look like flash light is hitting the subject from somewhere.

What strikes me though is how noise free the shot is using ISO3200. When zoomed in I can't see any grain at all. Perhaps I should convert from Canon to Nikon!

I used Lightroom 3 to process the files. Lightroom's NR is pretty good. Also, I've found that when using flash the high ISO images come out with less noise than when using just ambient. Must be due to a combination of the flash color temperature and not needing to fill in the shadows in post. This leads me to more strongly believe that in this image the flash did contribute to the exposure. I wish I had taken one without it to compare...

Zeee Forum Pro • Posts: 19,406
Re: Creative bouncing

I call this fellow the bounce master. When you read his stuff it is amazing what he can find to bounce light off. Even the smallest thing can make a big difference.

http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

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OP agc1976 Senior Member • Posts: 1,713
Re: Creative bouncing

I agree. I've learned most of my flash techniques from Neil's site.

Talking about bouncing from any surface. Here's another example where I had to get creative. There was nothing to my right to bounce off so I grabbed a couple of white outdoor chairs and stacked them to camera right and bounced off of them:

Here's the result:

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