Steaming Through The Photos With The Gary Fong Lightsphere
1. Go to interesting events.
2. Find interesting people.
3. Use a Gary Fong Lightsphere on your flash.
4. Pick the highest usable ISO that you are comfortable with.
5. Be close to the door when the fight starts.
N0. 5 usually only applies to weddings.
The other points are amply illustrated by last Saturday's visit to the Grand Steam Punk Affair Ball at the WA Museum. A night affair, and in a venue that had attractive and interesting lighting. I set an ISO of 1200 on my Fujifulm X-100 camera and connected the Fujifilm EF42 flash with a TTL cable. I balanced it on my new Cullmann 622T tripod and started accosting strangers.
Note - everyone at a Steampunk ball is a stranger but some are stranger than others. As I was dressed as a Russian sailor* I fit right in...
The portrait of the gentleman in the startling hat - Gavin - is an illustration of the value of the Fong. It sits high over the lens axis on the camera and the shape of the diffuser means that there is an expanding ball of light with each exposure. It lights a face well without making a flat mask of it. Perfectly usable for weddings and outdoor portraits as well - it would be my first recommendation for all speed light work when people are involved.
But look closely at what the flash does with the background - in the first image Gavin is isolated in blackness - in the second he has the warm colours of the ball around him. The difference was setting the flash on the Fujifilm X-100 to "slow synchro". It let the shutter stay open a little longer to record the ambient light.
Note: balls and weddings and parties are close-range affairs. The initial use of the Fujifilm X-100 with the 23mm lens was fine but it got squeezy later on - so I screwed the WCL-100 wide angle converter onto the camera and there was space for all. Great event camera, the X-100 - no mis-focused or badly exposed files all evening.
* Ironclad Ship "Novgorod" ...Black Sea Fleet.