About Me

My photo
Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fox in bright light

I reached for the unreachable star last week. I deployed the camera trap at a new set, but I also staked an external flash nearby. The inspiration to use an external flash came from Natasha Mhatre's recent flash photo of a short-nosed fruit bat. (Her blog is well worth visiting.)

Let's face it. When it comes to nocturnal flash photography side illumination looks a lot better than front-on lighting. The shadows give a better sense of contour.

It's been nearly a year since I used the external flash, but some of you may recall my previous exercises in external flash photography, like No more starry eyes and Showdown at Big Rock.

The problem is that the external flash eats up a pair of D cells in a week, and I haven't figured out a way to protect it with spikes should an irritable bear take issue with it -- which is very likely in these parts.

Reservations aside, I set the camera trap at this old snag, which snapped in the winter storms.

I set the camera's flash on minimal brightness for dim frontal lighting, but enough to trigger the brighter external flash which is on a slave unit.

As you can see, Br'er Fox made its usual appearance. At the top of the page it looks like it's witnessing an atomic test blast that just fried its eyeballs.

Here it's looking at the blast without the recommended sunglasses.

Obviously, the ASA on the flash was set too low.

Then Br'er Fox decided to get closer to the external flash by extending its neck. This is quite an achievement, but what I want you to notice in this picture is that the lighting is only from the camera. See? The stump lacks shadows.

I reset the ASA on the external flash to tone it down. Next week we'll see if it makes a difference.

No comments: