A&P Mixing tungsten light and flash

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Jcolman, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Thought you guys would like to see an example of mixing the two light sources.
    While not the greatest pic in the world, it shows how the tungsten studio lights hitting the leather seats and backrests shows up nice and "warm" looking. The camera flash was left on to fill in the shadows and bring out the highlights on the chrome. The camera, a digital model, was set to color balance for daylight, which is the color temp. of the flash. You can do the same with daylight balanced film. Daylight is around 5600 degrees kelvin while tungsten is 3200 degrees kelvin. The higher the color temp. the "cooler" the light. Conversely, the lower the color temp. the "warmer" the light. That's why if you balance your film or camera for daylight, all tungsten light will appear to be yellow in color. You can see the yellow on the black seats. Used to your advantage, it can help to add "warmth" to a shot.

    I realize that most people don't use or have access to studio lights but the same or similer effect can be acheived with ordinary lights. Household lights will be even "warmer" due to their lower kelvin tempreture. I've even used the outdoor spotlight on my backporch to highlight my daughters hair when I took her outdoor portrait.

    The bad thing about this particular photo is that the bike is too close to the back wall and you can see the shadows from the flash on the wall, particularly around the handlebars and mirrors. This photo wasn't shot for commercial use, just a pic of my bike.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2003
  2. Joe

    Joe 2015 :x: OT Supporter

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    might want to add that if you want to plan on mixing light, you should meter the unadjustable light (in this case i'm assuming tungsten) unless you got it on a dimmer, and either set the flash to match, or a half stop smaller... (i've heard all sorts of rules on how to mix, but from my exp, most of my subjects work best a half stop under)

    doing so will prevent the flash from blowing out whatever light is on there... can be used the opposite way too, if say you're outdoors around dusk, but for some reason you don't want the dwindling sunlight to show up (say you wanted to black out the background or something) you can meter the sunlight, and turn up the flash and set your apperature and shutter spped accordingly...

    but of course, it all depends on where you put the lights too...
     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Good point Joey. The use of "fill flash" is an art. Like Joey says, if you meter for the ambiant light and use too much flash you either totally overexpose the subject or if you expose for the flash and use too much, you'll severely underexpose the ambiant light.

    Most flash units that are seperate from the camera have a means of determining proper exposure for the flash at a given distance and/or they'll use an "eye" that calculates how much flash the unit has to put out for a proper exposure at a pre-selected f/stop.

    Bottom line, the use of fill flash can really enhance your outdoor photos as well as your indoor photos. Think of using flash as a fill light rather than a main light. You'll like the results.

    Jim
     

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