Monday, January 30, 2012

The Cyclops

This photo was a happy accident.  I was trying out a new accessory I had gotten for my flash unit called a "Better Beamer."  The attachment allows the flash to be "thrown" much further than with the flash unit alone, lighting up an object a flash alone could not reach.  It uses a Fresnel lens, the same type used in lighthouses.  I decided to see how it worked on gulls since they are so plentiful on the boardwalk at the local beach.  Because of the attachments design, some care has to be taken to ensure that the flash lights up the middle of the subject.  You may be able to tell that I didn't quite have it aligned properly and the wing on right received the majority of the flash.

In conjunction with the Better Beamer, I had set the camera to "second curtain" flash.  What this means is when the shutter is open longer than the flash duration, the flash will go off at the very end of the image capture.  It is essentially like taking two images at the same time: one for the ambient light and one for the flash, which will freeze that aspect of the image.

I had the shutter speed set a little too slow to produce a motionless photo in this image, so I ended up with a non-reproducible image.  Where little movement was taking place (the wings), the image is fairly sharp.  Where a lot of movement was occurring - the tail and head, there is motion blur.  That had the result of producing a one-eyed gull.

Because the flash was not directly on the bird, the eye doesn't appear as it does in most Better Beamer images which is a dead, white-eyed look that I quickly determined I did not like.  For that reason, I don't use it very often.

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