Our university lecture today was learning how to use light and flash appropriately. We were shown images taken by the likes of Bruce Davidson and Brian Finke, who both use flash in various ways in their images. Davidson takes photos in New York, and the body in work which we were shown were predominantly on a Subway. This small dark space allowed for use of flash. Being a small area, the flash tended to bounce off of walls and ceilings, allowing for the image to be a lot brighter and have a lot more than just the main subject in focus. We have concluded that he uses a speed flash at f/22 and angled at the ceiling (in the image on the left in particular) to allow everything in frame to be in focus.
In contrast, Brian Finke uses flash to make the image seem slightly surreal, over saturated and “in your face”. In his series of images based around America, we see that the use of a speed flash at f/22 on a sunny day, allows tones in the subjects’ skins to look slightly orange, emphasising the saturation and giving the image the “in your face” factor. For example, in the image to the right there seems to be a lot going on and it’s almost a lot to take in, which is due to Finke’s use of flash. Everything is very over saturated, however, only the cheerleaders are in full focus, the men in the background are not, which suggests Finke chose specifically to use flash on a sunny day to take away from anything that is not the cheerleaders. Personally I feel Brian Finke has used this technique as a contrast to what is actually happening in the image; the cheerleaders look distraught and seem to be comforting each other, however the colours suggest a happy occasion, almost a juxtaposition purposely created by Finke.
After viewing some examples of photographers using flash, we experimented ourselves, mainly using two f-stops; f/22 and f/3.5, to try and distinguish the difference between the two. We experimented with a speed flash along with the average flashes on our own cameras. I found using a speed flash gave a lot more interesting images than just using a normal flash. I personally didn’t manage to get many exciting images using the speed flash indoors, the majority of the nice images I got where when I shot into the natural light (which luckily for us it was a sunny day) outside. My favourite image is at the top of this post. I like it because in the past when I have shot into the sun, any subject has just turned into a silhouette, however, everything was in focus on the sign. I took this image using f/22 and a high shutter speed, along with having the speed flash attached. Another image I shot that I liked using the flash was the image above. I like this purely because of the focus on Amy in contrast to the background being blurred. I also like how the light lands on her hair. I also took this image at f/22 with the speed flash, however this had a slightly slower shutter speed, only by a couple of stops, which I feel gave the background the slight blur.
Overall I enjoyed learning about and working with flash. Next time I would like to experiment more with flash and slow shutter speeds.