Strobist Boot Camp 1

I have owned a Nikon D70 dSLR now for almost two years but haven’t been serious about using it until recently. What got me excited a few weeks ago is strobist.com.

If you are interested in learning about photography at all and haven’t already been to strobist.com, I suggest you click on over there and start taking advantage of this incredible resource right away. It is full of practical advice on how to take better pictures. The single best way to do that is to improve the quality of your light. And the single best thing you can do to get better light is to take the flash off your camera. Yep, that’s it.

On-camera flash, particularly the dinky flash built into your camera, produces harsh light (because it is so small) that throws unflattering shadows under the chin of your subject. By taking the flash off the camera, you get around the shadow problem. If you bounce the flash off of something (like, say, a white wall or the ceiling) or through something (like an umbrella), the light gets spread out and becomes soft. Mix the two and all of a sudden portraits look professional. This is my first effort, a picture of my father.

I was motivated to learn how by the Boot Camp II Assignment, a contest on the strobist site. Even though I knew I had no chance of winning, the fact that it was a contest made me want to stretch. Great fun.

To get the flash to fire without being attached to the camera, I put the camera into “Command Mode”. I put the flash, a Nikon SB-800, in Slave Mode. The built-in on-camera flash set off the remote SB-800. I learned how to do all of this on the strobist site here. I can’t wait for the next assignment.