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099/365 - Certainly Not Galloping

And today, my inexperience with off-camera flash shows itself a little more clearly. Don't think I've ever tried to light this much space before.


I was in cook/host mode today for Easter dinner, without much time to spend behind the camera. I had alloted myself just about half an hour (after the ham went in the oven, but before I needed to prep the pommes dauphinois) to try to get a few shots in. It was overcast ouside, the desserts I had prepped yesterday were all right there, and when I realized how I was dressed, I figured I'd try for my best Graham Kerr impersonation (he was the host of “The Galloping Gourmet”, for the young’uns in the audience). I had strong light coming in from the windows in back, and the room light just isn't enough, so I figured I'd try to light it. That's why I bought the flashes, right?


Did I mention how much area I was trying to light? Or the windows?


First, I had a hard time getting the flashes in position and aimed so that everything I wanted lit was lit, without seeing a reflected umbrella in a window or glaring harshly off the cabinets. Then I had issues with blown highlights, not enough light on me, or the food, or the light looking flat, or the colors being off, or… well, let’s say I wasn't quite wrapping my head around it.


This was the best of the lot in my attempted late-70's/early-80's cookbook “about the author” shot. To get this, I had one flash bounced off a silver reflector camera right, one shooting through a white umbrella camera left, and the on-camera flash (at lower output) for a little more fill. I think the silver umbrella was a mistake, or I had the power level on that flash misconfigured, since I had a hard time managing blown highlights on my sleeve and the countertop from that side. The white balance was also vaguely off, and I had absentmindedly not shot my grey card before shooting, so I had to tweak the color a bit in post for the yellows to not look green.


With all the monkeying around I did, I have no idea what the power settings were for this particular shot.


The end result? Ehhhh… OK. Still feels a little flat, although remembering what some of those “about the author” shots actually looked like in print on cookbooks of that era, this is perhaps a better recreation than I intended.


I'll add some notes to the photos to identify the desserts, if anyone's interested.


Other than Strobist and Joe McNally's books, which are already on my to-read list, anyone have any suggestions for reading for off-camera flash?


Nikon D7000 w/Nikkor 18-200mm @ 26mm, 1/60s @ ƒ/19, ISO800, lighting as described above. Cropped and much color adjusting in Aperture.

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Taken on April 8, 2012