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7:10 Studio Photo Blog

Tag: photography

Stopping Time With Flash

by on Dec.08, 2012, under Fine Art, Photography

In the world of photography, there are two ways by which you can capture a single moment in time.  The first way is through the use of fast shutter speeds.  Typically, a speed of 1/200 second and faster can freeze time, very effectively.  However, the faster your shutter speed, the more light you need, for proper exposure.  Sometimes, that light just is not available.  That is where the second method can be useful – stopping time using your flash.  This post focuses (no pun intended) on that second method.

To stop time with your flash, you need two things – a flash and as dark of a room as possible.  With a dark room, you can leave the shutter of your camera open for long periods of time, giving you the time you need to compose the shot, before triggering the flash, to capture the shot.  In a dark room, even if your camera is set for long exposure times, your camera will record nothing but a black frame, until the flash is triggered.  The quick burst of light gives your camera the light it needs to capture the scene, before the room goes dark, again.  Since the duration of a decent flash is around 1/200 second, your camera is catching the action of that 1/200 second, regardless how long the exposure is set.

An example of this technique is the photo at the end of this post.  The example photo was taken in an almost perfectly dark room with a 5 second exposure.  Although it was a long exposure, the camera captured only the 1/200 second that the flash illuminated – the moment the ice hit the pink lemonade, within the glass, effectively freezing that moment in time.  The 5 second exposure time gave me ample time to hit the shutter release button on the camera, line the ice cube over the glass, release, and trigger the flash via wireless remote, as the ice hit the lemonade.  To get the shots, the following settings were used:

  • Camera Program Setting:  Manual
  • Exposure Time:  5 Seconds
  • Aperture:  f/10
  • ISO:  400
  • Flash Setting:  Manual
  • Flash Zoom:  24mm
  • Flash Power:  1/8 Power
  • Flash Location:  Off Camera (Frame Right)
  • Flash Trigger Method:  Wireless Remote

Those settings are a good springboard to start from, but your results will likely demand that you adjust the settings, accordingly.  There is no secret combination of settings that will guarantee a perfect result.  It’s all trial, error, and adjustment.  The key thing is, have fun while doing it!  I had fun taking this example shot, using the settings mentioned, above:

Splash of Lemonade

Splash of Lemonade

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