I had a bit of a happy thing happen which probably isn't that interesting, but I want to talk about nonetheless.
On Saturday I went to see Haley's new workplace's open house (a hospital in downtown Redmond) and took my camera along to take some shots. I had presumed it would be crappy indoor lighting, so I took my 24/1.4 ii. I also presumed it would be close quarters, so I paired it with my full frame camera. Finally, I tossed my flash in my bag because I could, although I kind of just wanted to shoot fast with the prime and not worry about flash. Well, I'm glad I had it with me because things would have sucked without it.
Since I was only going to be there for a half hour or so (I had a Starcraft match watching party to attend), I decided just to shoot around the room in which Haley works, the hospital's laboratory. The lab is basically like a giant chemistry classroom filled with millions of dollars of equipment that do very specific things. It had big windows, but they were only getting diffuse light off of a big, ivy covered, concrete wall half a dozen feet from the window. Most of the light was coming from these strangely colored fluorescent lights overhead, with just enough cool ambient lighting to be annoying. I took a few shots without flash using the fluorescent setting on my camera and was not happy…everything was a muddy greenish brown. I shot a piece of paper for custom WB, tried again, and things looked better, but everything was muddy…mostly due to the lack of fill light.
I grudgingly got out my flash and thought about what to do next. Normally when I'm in mixed lighting (diffuse daylight + fluorescent especially), I kind of give up. The reason being that the standard plusgreen gel is just too green for the daylight, and bare flash is just too cool for the ceiling lighting. In this case, since my first shot turned a strange green + brown, I knew that these weren't regular fluorescent lights, but probably some of the newer, energy-saving, variety that attempt to give off a more incandescent flavor of light. Fortunately, I always tape the following gels (from a Rosco sample pack) to my flash head with gaffer's tape:
- Full CTO
- Half CTO
- Quarter CTO
- Quarter Plusgreen
- Half Plusgreen
Based on a wild ass guess, I took off a quarter CTO and a quarter Plusgreen and put them over the flash head and took a ceiling bounce flash shot using the custom WB I had already dialed in, using full TTL goodness and Aperture Priority with no compensation. The result was that I was getting shutter speeds around 1/60th – 1/125th at 2.8 at ISO 200, and the bounce flash was adding just enough fill and balance to remove the muddiness I had been getting earlier. Bam, almost perfect lighting with zero effort, and consistent enough that I could just walk around the room, varying flash head angle + fill card usage occasionally, but really just only having to think about composition and getting the focus spot on at 2.8.
Really happy I had my flash on my camera for this scenario. Really happy I'm learning more about on (and off) camera flash. I've got some lighting equipment coming this next week, so hopefully I'll get a chance to get more complicated very quickly.
I blame it all on Flash Bus.
Evergreen Entrance — Map
Evergreen Hospital (Haley's new workplace) just opened a new location in Redmond. I went to their open house to see Haley and take some pics.
Preparing the Microscope — Map
Looking through it is SO HARD. I could only do so with one eye closed.
Finally — Map
Boy scout waited patiently to get to the microscope, then went to town. His dad asked Haley about how much a scope like that would cost to get for his kids :).
Haley at the Scope (1 of 3) — Map
Her: "This is a gram positive bacteria, and this is a gram negative bacteria." Me: "Wat"
Haley at the Scope (2 of 3) — Map
I did know a bit about blood clotting, which impressed the coagulation machine rep.
Mother and Child taking a look — Map
Very nice woman, encouraged her child to ask questions. Awesome stuff.
Focussing again… — Map
The scope is pretty finicky when randoms come to take a peek. Haley had to adjust often.
Laboratory Technicians — Map
This wasn't staged or anything. Wish I woulda shot at F/8. Oh well! Strobist info: 1/4th CTO + 1/4th Plusgreen stacked on 580EX II. Bounced 30 degrees behind on the ceiling with front spill card up for fill. Amazingly consistent lighting this way in this small room. Also worked almost perfectly for the strange mix of fluorescent lighting there.
Impromptu Portrait of Haley (1 of 2) — Map
45 seconds of portrait time with Haley. Left eye is a little dark, and plane of focus is off. Not bad for winging it on the first shot :). Strobist info: non-gelled flash bounced 45 degrees up into the ceiling at 1/4th power. Just enough to balance the ambient light from the window.
Impromptu Portrait of Haley (2 of 2) — Map
Waited for someone to walk into the BG before I took the shot. Strobist info: non-gelled flash bounced 45 degrees up into the ceiling at 1/4th power. Just enough to balance the ambient light from the window.