Eeking passed max flash sync speed (NSFW)

March 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Sorry for the somewhat boring "technical" post. I'm not a very technical guy. I do whatever works.

Someone asks me a setting and I say, well, I adjusted it to look good (to me). If I had to be a critic and study it, I'd say it was blah.

I usually don't care enough about technical settings to be meticulous about them. I did when I shot film because I was learning a lot and needed to know what settings created what effect and didn't have instant view capability. It's totally different now with digital.

My camera's max shutter speed for syncing with a flash is 1/250th of a second.

This means, the shutter curtain, which goes up and down allowing light to reach my sensor, can move up to that speed. What happens when you exceed 1/250th and are using a flash you will see a black (or dark) line or bar across the bottom of your photo. But what if you really need that extra stop of shutter to suppress the light a little? 

This is the answer.

Turn the camera upside down to shoot. The darker part will be on top and that means your sky or top portion of the image is darker. You can see here, a 1/250th shot holding the camera normal like:

See how bright the top is? The tree gets the direct sun, and part of the wall, which means it's bright compared to everything else. But I still need my flash to illuminate the model in a relatively dark corner.

So here is 1/500:

It's a little dark on her face, which can work in circumstances. I actually like the photo despite that.

So dropping it down a tad (that's technical) to 1/400th we get this:

Voila! She is lit by my flash and the tree is "burned down" which means I have the detail because the highlights weren't just blown and unrecoverable at my computer.

This tip is probably old news to most however like many other helpful tidbits of information, this is the stuff that no "great camera" will do, without  a photographer who knows how to adapt to the challenges of the environment with what they know of their gear and what they brought with them.


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