Friday, January 10, 2014

Today's walk report: 011014

Another short walk.

Yesterday's 3.18 km walk was probably the shortest walk I've taken that I considered a walk. You know, as opposed to an errand or something. This almost entirely due to a cold I've been fighting for 4 days now. Today I did a walk to the garden and back. I've measured this before but I just measured it again because there are always little variations. It's also easier than trying to look up a previous walk and make adjustments. I have "marks" by the way, both in km and miles. I know too, for example, the average length of N/S blocks and E/W streets. But anyway... today I walked a mere 3.4 km.

My main mission today, besides just getting out for some fresh air and space, was to test a new acquisition. Probably the most seriously missing item in my photo equipment was a decent flash. Last week I tried to resurrect a Vivitar 3500 flash I bought in 1977 for a trip to Hawaii to no avail. Today that flash is worth about $10 and for what I don't know but that's what people are asking for one on eBay. I never spent much time with flash photography. From that Vivitar I went to Speedotron Brownline studio lighting gear and then worked with Balcar studio lighting. Anyway, I'm not a photographer. I just like to take pictures.

Near the end of the year I started going though my photos from 2013, over 43,000 of them and the thing that struck me most frequently was how many of images should have been taken with a decent flash or at least I should have used a flash as a fill light. Today my Canon 430 EX II flash arrived from B&H Photo in new York. I'm tickled pink. One of the things I wanted to do today was to find the one male Anna's hummingbird which I've photographed lately and see what a difference the flash would make. This knowing exactly where the bird would be and what kind of lighting conditions I'd have in the garden at approximately 4:30 PM. Even though I felt kind of shitty that's what my goal was.

But first...

Here's me doing a selfie before knowing anything about the flash. 3/4 arm's length, straight flash no diffusion, 28mm, f/4 @ 1/60, this is much nicer than I would get from the on board flash.

Sloppy me, I know. I've been sick for 4 days. What d'ya want? Yes my glasses were crooked. The camera with the flash is pretty heavy for doing this too but I managed.

Then across the room 3.1 meters (10' 2") at f/5.6, 1/60, 300mm. I wanted to see how much the flash would light up inside the guitar.

Onto the garden... It took awhile but he showed up. There are some Photoshop tweaks but I was mostly concerned about about how the flash would effect the bird's iridescent coloring. For the most part the colors you see are what I saw in natural light. The bird is however in shadow. There wasn't anymore direct sunlight hitting this area at 4:30 PM. The only difference I see in my image is the small very bright area above the eye. That iridescence is due to the flash (I think). That's what I wanted to find out.

In this shot we were both moving.

Last one.

I'm really looking forward to learning more about this flash and what it can add to my run and gun arsenal moving into spring.

As always, thanks for joining me on my walk. 

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