I came home from working night shift, Tired, cold and in no mood for taking pictures, I knew I had to suit up in the rain gear and stumble out in my sleepy state to capture this rare Spring snow fall for the obvious contrasts it would reveal. You know, the cliches, snow-on-spring-flowers. Not Pulitzer stuff--people like to see war and conflict, or so the price being paid for those images compared to mine would suggest--but still and all, this is Canadian Springtime non-pareil. Snow when you thought it was all done.
I set up with my canon 7D, using a 60mm macro lens and an inexpensive yet robust Neeweer Ring Flash. I reviewed the Neeweer a few blog posts ago (http://www.chriskiezphotography.com/1/post/2012/02/macro-ring-flash-led-light-by-neewer.html). Its a no-frills unit; you can't dial down the power of the LCD lights, and I'm sure the LCD lights used are not 100% natural daylight output like on the $500 models, but this one was $30.00 and does an acceptable job in my opinion.
Why use a ring flash with a macro lens?
A ring flash sits at the end of your lens, attached by an adapter ring which the light housing then slots onto. The flash is made of a series of small LED light bulbs arrayed in a circle, so as to provide a ring of consistent light output around your lens (see bottom of this blog for a picture of the Neeweer ring flash).
Since macro photography results in being very close to a subject, focusing becomes much easier with a consistent light source being projected onto your subject. Also, the light source makes for easier metering as well. Even with a wide open aperture, a subject being shot in macro format is often underexposed, requiring a tripod and double to triple the set up time. With a ring flash, you can shoot hand held often, you can get much better auto focus since the AF system needs reflected light to assist the focusing module to process information and to work properly.
The Neewer ring flash also allows you to use only the left side of the ring, the right side, or to light up the whole ring for 360 degrees of light.
I know its an inexpensive entry level option, but I was shooting in heavily falling snow, the housing that sits on the hotshoe was outside of the plastic weather cover I use on my camera in bad-weather photography, and it never shorted out. The AK-47 of ring flashes; simple, durable and keeps on working.
Isn't that what you want when working outside of a studio?
In any event, the ring flash allows the operator to properly focus in macro photography shooting handheld, where this is usually a challenge. With this flash, my shots are tack sharp (accounting for bokeh with shallow depth of field) and overall, I was able to get some interesting late-Spring shots of daffodils covered in a lousy early morning wet-snow.
That's it for today. I'm going back to sleep, since I was up all night. You're likely going to sleep because you read my blog without taking amphetemines first to counteract the sedative effect of my writing.........
Keep taking pictures, if you're not out there shooting, you're not getting even bad pictures to complain about,
Chris Kiez, a hardcore photographer since the 80's, learned to take a picture before the age of selfies and cell phone photography, training on mechanical cameras and film. After years of taking photos of all manner of subjects and people, he did over a 10 year stint as a crime scene photographer on two continents. Now, he does portrait and landscape photos, and is currently distressing the world with his relentlessly, excruciatingly boring blogging. To buy what you see on this site, click here!