The other day I posted a short piece that hinted that I might go back out to see if I could do a better job of capturing a bee that is enjoying our flowers. I hinted that I might go out when it was cooler with the hope of catching the bees when they might be moving slower. Well, as usual, I got the urge to go try again when it was anything but cool (90 degrees) or more evenly lit. I went out along our driveway and into the full-on mid-day sun that was baking the concrete, me and everything exposed. If it was anything it was BRIGHT… did I mention hot? After a couple of shots that just looked awful due to the bright background I almost gave up. Then I remembered about FP high speed sync flash… pardon my Nikon-talk. I thought it would be a good time to see if I could take all the bright out of the background and put some directional light on a bee and a blossom. So I set up the tripod with the D700, 70-200mm lens with a Canon 500D supplemental lens to get the macro I wanted. I put a single SB800 flash on a small background stand and fit it with an 8″ Honhl snoot to focus the beam down to a contained spot. I zoomed the flash to 105mm. After setting the popup flash on the D700 to Commander mode and “off” I switched over to manual exposure mode and dialed in 1/8000th of a second for the shutter speed. Think about that…. 1/8000 th of a second. Ambient light doesn’t stand much of a chance. I focused in the bloom and waited for the bee.
While I’m not real happy with my overall composition I am really happy with the clarity of the bee and the light in the frame. Just amazing to me given that this is the brightest part of the day and everything behind the flowers was really quite bright. No… I did not put a dark background behind the blooms.
Lest you think this all for fun I took a step toward a new technique that will undoubtedly come in handy at future location portrait and wedding shoots. Bring down that very bright background and keep your subject well lit with controlled light quality and direction. Cool (even if it was HOT).