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This Looks Hard, But It’s Not > The Light Off the Camera is Helpful

The Light Off the Camera is Helpful

Even a simple shift of the light off the hot shoe, if possible, makes a difference in the quality of the light. Look for scenes, and let the gesture of the scene direct where you’ll put the light. This devotee (right) is having his back pierced for the long, reverential climb up to the Batu caves. He is looking off in studied concentration while his helpers festoon his flesh with barbed hooks laden with fruit. I daresay my expression would not be as serene.

But his face is the key, so that’s where my key light goes, just a couple feet off his nose, out of frame. Shot at 1/13th at f/2.8, 19mm zoom setting. This is a Nikon D7000, at ISO 100, hence the shaky shutter speed. This shutter would be a no-fly zone for handheld available light shooting, but the flash—actually flash duration—makes it possible to shoot sharp. Experiment with different ISOs and hand-holding skills. Test yourself and push yourself. You’ll be surprised at how working at holding your camera steady can enlarge your envelope of what’s possible.


  

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