Storytelling is the biggest form of entertainment

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience’s attention. Although people’s attention is held by different things, because individuals have different preferences in entertainment, most forms are recognizable and familiar. Storytelling, music, drama, dance, and different kinds of performance exist in all cultures, were supported in royal courts, developed into sophisticated forms and over time became available to all citizens. The process has been accelerated in modern times by an entertainment industry which records and sells entertainment products. –– Wikipedia

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/45

During my time in London we stopped by The Globe. The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company. A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe”, opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theatre.

I believe photography is one way for us to preserve these storytelling moments and be enjoyed in a new medium and able to be shared to many more than live theater can do. While theater is quite entertaining it is just one way for us to capture the imagination of people. Storytelling is a great way to take the brain hostage and substitute ones own imagination for another person’s.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 3200, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

I love the theater for the same reason I love the movies and TV dramas, they all help me think beyond my imagination. After watching these stories I often find my mind dreaming new dreams made possible by these art forms.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

To me the one thing that is just as impactful if caught in such a way that it is a slice of a story is real life. I believe photojournalism is that medium of telling real life stories.

Here is a slice of a wedding which is the first chapter of the couples new life together.

If you want your photography to get better the more your work embodies those real moments that are captured in the best light with a perspective that helps move you along the storyline I think you are going to have a very good chance of hijacking a person’s brain from their own dreaming stories to your storytelling.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Great lighting, great stage direction and acting can really capture an audience’s attention. But if you want them to really remember then a sound track can make your story even more memorable.

We all have had a earworm. An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, or stuck song syndrome, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include “musical imagery repetition”, “involuntary musical imagery”, and “stuck song syndrome”.

Also music can just help create mood as much as light does. Music helps us remember storylines and just about anything.

This leads me to what I love doing today the most. Multimedia packages where I combine still images, motion and audio to tell a story.

I do this for companies. Here is just one example:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/160960408 
Storytelling is an art form. The artist is always looking for ways to capture the audiences attention, because you are competing not just with other things demanding their attention, you are competing with their own day dreaming.

Why I prefer Nikon D5 over Fuji X-E2

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 25600, ƒ/4, 1/100

First of all before you jump to sure a $6,500 camera should be better than a $1,500 camera this is more about the features than the prices. 

I can tell you are not going to hear that I love it because it weighs so much. This is one of the reasons I own the Fuji X-E2 system. Spending a week in London walking everywhere would have been a real pain carrying my Nikon gear.

Now the bride and groom asked me to take a photo with the groom’s grandmother. Now there wasn’t a shot list so I had to be ready for every situation. This is why the Nikon D5 is the go to camera for most all my client jobs. I was able to quickly just get a custom white balance and then click the photo at ISO 25600. The lens was wide open and I was shooting at 1/100. The lens has image stabilization as well.

To do this with the Fuji with available light would have me shooting at ISO 6400 and 1/25. I am not a fan of slow shutter speeds with people when I prefer a sharp photo.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 22800, ƒ/4, 1/100

As a friend of the family I was also at the rehearsal and thank goodness. I was then completely aware of how dark the church was going to be for the wedding.

Now when they mentioned they wanted to have everyone in attendance in a group photo I wanted to be sure you could see everyone clearly, so I just used strobes for that photo.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200–[2] Alienbees B1600 triggered with the Posketwizard TT1, TT5 system.

Now another thing is the flash system of the Nikon is far superior to the Fuji. So I was able to use fill flash for some of the photos of the bride and groom outside due to the overcast.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/200–Nikon SB-900 TTL

Today I believe it is difficult to find the one camera system that does it all, but my Nikon D5 is that camera for me and if it was light as my Fuji X-E2 then I would only on it for all my work. However, for those times I need a camera but don’t want to lug my Nikons I use the Fuji.

How to use flash and not get a black background

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/10 – Nikon SB-900

One of the most difficult things to shoot for many beginners in photography involves shooting in a very dark location with a flash.

Cameras will pick the lowest ISO when you use a flash as their default. What happens is then the background is black and the subject is well exposed at best. However in the case of this wedding photo the couple is walking out into the dark being back lit.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8 – Nikon SB-900

The trick is to set the camera as if you were shooting without a flash which is to use a high ISO. Here I set the camera to ISO 10000. Then the flash was set to fire on TTL slow shutter sync. This means the flash fires immediately at a extremely fast duration and then the shutter stays open longer.

Nikon SB-900 Flash Duration

1/880 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1100 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2550 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5000 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/10000 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/20000 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/35700 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/38500 sec. at M 1/128 output 

With my choice of ISO 10000 the flash on TTL was probably firing at 1/16 power or less. So this is why in the photo above of the couple walking there is a blur around them due to the shutter being open for 1/8 sec yet the flash froze them at about 1/10000.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/5 – Nikon SB-900

 Now notice as they walk from the church where the lights in the background are still impacting the exposure to the car the scene is getting darker. We have moved from 1/10 to 1/8 and then finally shooting at 1/5 to get the background to show up.

If you want to be sure you show where your subject is for reference then use slow shutter speed sync with the ISO set to where you could make photos without the flash. 

Wedding tip is as close as your smart phone

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 220, ƒ/8, 1/100

I just got back last night from the west coast. I enjoyed shooting a friends wedding and getting to meet all of his friends.

The weather in Portland was perfect for the wedding. Cool enough that a coat was not too hot to wear, which was perfect for all the guys.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200, 2- Alienbees B1600 strobes

This is one of the bigger group shots I have done for a wedding. They had everyone turn around just before they walked out of the church for a group photo. What a really cool idea.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

My second shooter for the wedding Laura Deas Espeut showed me a great tip. She had on her phone a collection of wedding photos like a Pinterest album and used this for ideas to help in a moment when you start to run dry. The second bonus is she can show people the concept so they can execute it a little better.

That is what we did for the first look photos.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

I did find that this couple was great because they wanted more spontaneous moments rather than posed. This meant just getting them in good light where the background was good and then just shoot.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/100

We did a good number of posed shots, because that is about the only way to be sure you see everyone and get a good expression.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 180, ƒ/6.3, 1/100

The cloud cover gave us pretty even light for all of the photos outside. It had just rained so all the sidewalks were not bright. Actually just like they do for most movies and TV shows they wet the pavement to keep it from being too bright.

My tip from this wedding is to create an album on your phone of photos you like to use with weddings to show your bride and groom on the wedding day when you are trying to get everyone excited about participating and making the photo work.

No longer available–Now What?

Our ice maker stopped working a few weeks ago. I first replaced the ice tray inside the refrigerator. While it worked after the repair the water wasn’t flowing to it to make the ice.

Above is the actual part for the water inlet valve. It controlled the water for ice and getting cold water in the front door.

The great thing about the internet is you can find parts from sources all over the world. However in my case the part was no where to be found. The “Currently unavailable” message was on every website that I went to and even calling around locally no one had one in stock.

I went to forums and no recommendations for anything other than having it rebuilt.

Problem Solving

While searching I realized this Kenmore part looked similar. The same number of inlet and outlets and similar switches, just a little different placement of the parts.

I took a risk and ordered the part. Cost was about $38 vs original part was more than $100 in many locations.

Took me about 15 minutes to install, minus one trip to Home Depot to get a $6 part to convert one water line to a bigger line. Turned it on and tried it. At first when making ice the water shot out the front of the door where you fill your cup with just water. Took about a minute to figure out I had switched the connections.

I made the change in the connection and now everything works.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

This is what I do every day for my clients. I look and identify the problem needing to be solved and then I look for a solution.

Many people today can type in the model number of their refrigerator and find the part. Yes this is problem solving and would be helping a client. However, how many would be able to find a solution when the solution isn’t so clear cut.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/20

I will be honest that many times when I come up on problems and the solutions are not so clear, I pray. I have yet to have a voice talk to me and tell me the solution. What I have had happen many times after some time in prayer is the ability to let go.

After letting go and knowing I do not have a solution I then am able to be much more creative. I believe that the creator of the universe works through me in ways I cannot explain and helps me to think in ways I never would have done by myself and come up with some solutions.

Tips

First of all let me say that you cannot get enough education to know it all. Education is about a lifestyle of constant learning.

If you are starting out take formal classes at a college or trade school. Find a mentor and ask lots of questions.

Remember that if the solution is obvious to most anyone then there is little you can do to be of any service. Your value is helping solve problems that people cannot solve themselves.

All problem solving is creative thinking. No matter if it is accounting, childcare, food service, or something in the arts when you are up against a new problem and the solution isn’t something that has been done before, you are creative if you solve the problem.

The reason I make this last statement is that if you are an artist, like a photographer, as I am–You should take as much pride in doing the business part of the job as you do in the artistic part.

I will leave you with a scripture that to me reminds me that God is able to work through me if I only let God do so.

John 16:13

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

Celebrating Life Through A Funeral

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/100

Today I was honored to be able to photograph the funeral of a firefighter who served our community for more than 45 years. Here is the official obituary.

Charles Edwin Booker, of Roswell, Georgia died Monday, October 31, 2016 in Hospice Atlanta Center.

Born in Roswell, Georgia, on July 19, 1946, to Emma Cobb and R.C. Booker, he was the youngest of five children. He attended Roswell High School, and was a member of the Roswell Fire Department for 45 years. He loved his city, loved the fire dept., and he became a State Certified Fire Safety Inspector, Arson Investigator and Emergency Medical Technician. For 45 years, he was a dedicated fire fighter, and truly loved the people that served with him. He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement years visiting with friends at the Roswell Hardware Store.

Charles is survived by his wife of 46 years, Elaine; his son, Mark and his wife Melanie; and his sister Sarah Booker Barber. He also has many nieces, nephews and great-nieces that he loved.

The visitation will be Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8pm at the Roswell Funeral Home: 950 Mansell Road, Roswell, GA. The funeral will be Friday at 11 am at Roswell Presbyterian Church, 755 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial donations go to Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/100

Funerals are for the most part a celebration for a family and community. Celebrating as a group bestows a sense of belonging, something crucial to human fulfillment. From birthdays to funerals, there is no end to the celebrations of who we are, where we came from, what we’ve done, what we worship and even who or what we’ve lost.

Those who celebrate life by practicing an attitude of gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. 

Is everything great in life? Of course not. However, those who are aware of their blessings tend to live healthier lives.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/10, 1/100

One of the places our family does a lot of celebrating is in our house of worship. Besides the weddings, funerals and baptisms that take place here through our lives, each and every week we celebrate our faith by living in a community where we share our lives together.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 360, ƒ/11, 1/100

Each and everyone of us will one day have a service like Charles Booker had today. The party is much bigger celebration of ones life for those who live their lives in service to others.

I am not a fire fighter saving our community. I do take pictures and love to tell stories. This is my offering today to not just our community and Charles Booker’s family, but ultimately for God for whom I plan to spend all of eternity with after this life here on earth.

Romans 14:7-9 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 

Capturing Bangor Maine

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/13, 1/200

I shared earlier about doing travel photography and trying to capture a place and mood. Today I want to share my efforts here in the Bangor, Maine area of our country.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/320

While Bangor is the biggest city in this area of Maine, people travel this area a great deal from Canada and go to the coast like Bar Harbor which is only about 45 minutes away.

A person who lives in this part of Maine may be from a city nearby, but they all enjoy their state. They love to enjoy the oceans, the parks and other outdoor experiences of Maine.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/500

The people of Maine love their water sports and fishing. People of Maine also are a very resilent people. Mainers know one thing is always certain that winter is coming. The have a more pronounced Boston-like accent. It’s “Lobstah,” Not Lobster.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/1250

Maine people are a hearty people. Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American folklore. His exploits revolve around the tall tales of his superhuman labors. One of the statues of Paul Bunyan is in downtown Bangor, Maine. He exemplifies the ruggedness of the people of Maine.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/10, 15 sec

I will leave you with my last shot of the day. Remember when you travel to do the shots that immediately come to mind and then look for some unique things to toss into your coverage.

Working on capturing the mood and place for a community

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/320

I am working on a story that requires me to go to a few states and capture some of the culture in those communities.

This week I am in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I cannot think of Hyannis without thinking about the Kennedy family. It is also a beach town and this is the closest I could find to bring me to what I think about when I think of this community.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/800

I tried to capture the beach in a way that said Cape Cod. Some of the lighthouses in this area are in private communities guarded by gates. I didn’t want to just go all over the coast when the area I needed to concentrate on is Hyannis.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/640
Just turning around is the ocean, but to me this could of been anywhere on the east coast. I was missing something that made me thing of Hyannis which is in Cape Cod.
I am capturing not just moments but symbolism and I needed the building that was classic to the architecture of Cape Cod.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/400
This is a typical home in Hyannis. What I mean is the color of the home and the cedar siding.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/320

Now I went to Main Street and captured some of the shops along the street. While this isn’t the peak of the summer when the place would be packed, I do think I was capturing some of the community.

Samsung 7S Edge, ISO 50, ƒ/1.7, 1/18816

While in Lansing, Michigan I went to the local GM plant and shot this through the chain link fence on a bridge. The reason I used my cell phone is my camera lenses were too big and captured the fence. The lens on the Samsung 7S Edge was small enough to fit in the opening of the fence.

Some photos are not as dramatic, but do help establish what a community is about. Many people are employed here from the community.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2200, ƒ/8, 1/100

The other thing about Lansing is it is the state capital of Michigan. I worked at getting a decent photo of the state capital to help talk about the community.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1800, ƒ/8, 1/800

Sometimes detail shots like of this lamp around the capital can be very useful in a package to tell a story.

All of these stills are part of a larger story where I will be using motion and interviews to put the story together. My goal with the photos is to have some b-roll that I can use just like Ken Burns does in his films. I often find panning across a still photo is much smoother than video sometimes can be and I can get many more shots in than the time it takes to get a 20 second motion clip.

Here some travel tips that I am using for each of my trips.

  • Google the City and look under images for your search
    • Make a list of possible locations
    • Research where to maybe take some of those photos 
  • Schedule my interview early with the subject so I have time to go out and capture some of the images of the things the subject talks about in their comments.
  • Talk to people from the area
  • Talk to front desk people at the hotel for their input. Sometimes they can give you unique insights
Now many times the city skyline is quite famous. For me this is a photo you need if the community is know for it’s unique skyline. Here is a post I did about the St. Louis Skyline.
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 2.5 sec
Sometimes like with the famous skyline of Seattle you get what I call a WOW photo. The key is to try and find a way to surprise your audience.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125
Sometimes it is just getting close to an icon like the Auburn War Eagle. 

Why I bought the Nikon D5

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 45600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000

When I reach for a camera to shoot an assignment here are some variables that are important to consider:

  • Can it capture the scene?
    • Is the ISO high enough for the lighting conditions?
    • Is the shutter speed fast enough to freeze moments?
  • Do I have to think about which camera I have in my hand?
  • Are the controls the same as my other cameras?
  • Is the buffer big enough so I can shoot whenever I want?
  • Can I use high speed shutter sync and shoot at any shutter speed with my flashes?
  • How does if feel in my hands?
This is not a complete exhaustive list but some of the things that made me upgrade to the Nikon D5.

The Nikon D5 is blisteringly fast and has accurate autofocus. The new AF system is nothing short of sensational. If you set the camera up properly the D5 doesn’t miss a beat. User error is far more likely to be the reason for a missed shot than the camera letting you down, even for the best of photographers. [My D5 Settings for Sports]

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 10000, ƒ/2.8, 1/1000–(3) Alienbees B1600, Pocketwizard TT5 w/ AC-9 on strobe, TT1 w/ AC-3 on the camera
I had anticipated needing strobes to shoot the volleyball game due to possible banding issues. I arrived earlier in the day and setup three Alienbees B1600 strobes pointed to the ceiling. I wanted to shoot at a fast shutter speed of at least 1/1000 and to do this required me to use the Pocketwizard TT5, AC-9, TT1 & AC-3 in combination to shoot above the sync speed of 1/250.
Here is the TT5 & AC-9 on the flash. I was not using the umbrellas.

This is the TT1 with the AC-3 that was on the camera.

Well less than 3 shots into the game and the referee said no flash. No time to talk to the school officials and coaches again to fix this problem. So I just switched to available light. The available light was a mixture of LED and tungsten lights.

The Color Temperature was 4700º kelvin with a +25 magenta shift to get a good skin tone. I used the ExpoDisc to get a custom white balance. [Earlier blog on ExpoDisc]

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 25600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000

As you can see shooting sports is important to me. My clients need sports as well as classroom shots for example.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2200, ƒ/4, 1/100

According to DPReview.com “Studio report: Nikon D5 has lowest base ISO dynamic range of any current FF Nikon DSLR.” Now this is testing more specifically the high ISO range. If you want dynamic range at a low ISO then buy the Nikon D810. As they concluded in their article and I can attest to as a working pro, “For its intended audience, the D5’s high ISO imaging capabilities, advanced autofocus and durability are likely to be much more important.”

In just a couple of hours I was shooting from inside fluorescent lighting, outside with daylight and shade and finished off the time shooting under the mixed lighting of LED and tungsten. Working without an assistant to keep the costs down for the client the Nikon D5 allowed me to capture all of this at such incredible quality.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 1800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000
I use my Nikon D5’s for video shooting as well. Most of the time it is for formal interviews. The cool thing is D5’s entire ISO sensitivity span is available in 4K video recording. So I can shoot at these incredibly high ISOs if needed in video as well.
Missing a shot because you have different camera systems is what sometimes happens. You forget how to make a change because it is different on this camera than another. I feel like right now the Nikon D5 camera has freed me up to just concentrate on any subject in any light and just look for the moments that I want to capture.
Often I find while there might be enough quantity of light to make a photograph the light isn’t the best quality. The Nikon D5 works great with their own Speedlights and doesn’t limit me to just shooting with them. I can use other systems like the Alienbees and still shoot at any shutter speed.
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

Here is the lighting diagram for the photo above.

The main light is an Alienbees B1600 with a 20º grid to keep the light tight on them. I put just enough on the light on the background to just light it and then used a CTO gel over a Alienbees positioned behind the background which had a 30º grid.

So how is the resolution of the Nikon D5. Well this 6′ x 9′ banner worked just great. You can walk up and look at the detail in the poster.

My hand just for reference 

It is great to have the work horse Nikon D5 in my bag, because I feel ready for any situation.

Flash On OR Flash Off

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 28800, ƒ/4, 1/250

To flash or not to flash that is the question? In the photo above this was done without a flash.

Nikon D5, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 5000, ƒ/4, 1/100–(2) Alienbees B1600s, Pocketwizard TT1 w/ AC-3 and TT5 w/ AC-9

Now I have an Alienbees B1600 behind them and one in front. While technically the one with flashes is better I still am not really satisfied with the flash. Due to restrictions on where I could put the flash I just never could get what I would call a natural look.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 14400, ƒ/4, 1/250

The biggest difference with these two photos is where the minister is standing. The lighting is designed to hit him on the face and not the people on the front row. So here the available light is quite acceptable.

Nikon D5, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 5000, ƒ/4, 1/100–(2) Alienbees B1600s, Pocketwizard TT1 w/ AC-3 and TT5 w/ AC-9

No question that here I was able to achieve the “natural light look” with the strobes. The major difference between the two photos is the dynamic range appears greater with the strobes.

Nikon D5, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 5000, ƒ/4, 1/100–(2) Alienbees B1600s, Pocketwizard TT1 w/ AC-3 and TT5 w/ AC-9

While the photos where the lighting can be made to look natural look best with the flash I find the flash is announcing that I am there shooting. This makes people look at me much more and basically limit the number of natural expressions.

Nikon D5, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 14400, ƒ/2.8, 1/100

I love the moment here with the little girl during a chapel service. The reason for those who are wondering about the blue light, it is from the stained glass window on the right of the frame.

Nikon D5, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/100

As you can see from these photos it isn’t always easy to choose to use flash or not. With today’s cameras having such high ISO capabilities you can get more acceptable images without a flash than we could just a few years ago.

To flash or not is often up to the photographer and how it fits into their style of photography.