Featured Photo – The Door of Perception: Joshua Tree

The Door of Perception:  Joshua Tree

“Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Door to Joshua Tree

The Door to Joshua Tree

Desert art.  A lot of people use old doors as fences out in the desert.  Seems appropriate. During sundown, I especially liked the way the sun glinted off the broken glass. But I also liked the philosophical possibilities that doors in the open impart.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception” – Aldous Huxley

Sundown. I wanted to capture the light of the setting sun, but also catch the detail of the glass with my speedlight.

This photo was taken with a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Flash off-camera (wireless) since we were facing the setting sun, and it would have been extremely dark otherwise.

“A small key opens big doors” – Turkish proverb

Equipment:  Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens

 

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Photo Tip of the Month – Fill Light To Reduce Contrast in the Mid-Day Sun

You’d be surprised how many people will ask, “Why are you using a flash? There’s plenty of light!”  Here’s how flash can help your mid-day photos.

Wagon of the Old West

A photo of a Wild West wagon, using a fill light to minimize the harsh contrast of the mid-day sun. Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, 18mm ISO 200 F/6.3.

You can’t always shoot photos during the “golden hours” (early morning, just before sunset).  And you may not always want this. Sometimes, you want to capture the look of something at mid-day.  But as anyone who has shot knows, this can create harsh light and harsh contrasts, particularly with subjects that are in the shade, as shown below:

Wagon with no fill light as an example

Our Wild West wagon with no fill light as an example of how mid-day sun can create harsh light and harsh contrasts in photos, particularly with subjects that are partially in the shade. Compare this with the other photo which uses the fill light.

So, what to do?  Use a flash as a fill light.

For this photo, I used a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Flash in wireless mode.  I placed it down on the ground, just out of frame on the right side, facing up at the wagon, with a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce OM-600 Flash Diffuser Unit to diffuse the light.  I like to use off-camera flash because I have more control over what area of the subject my flash lights (and if shooting portraits, it’s a great way to avoid getting demonic red eyes!).  Here’s another look at the photo using fill flash:

Wagon of the Old West

Have another look at the photo of a Wild West wagon, using a fill light to minimize the harsh contrast of the mid-day sun.  Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, 18mm ISO 200 F/6.3.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200mm VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens, Nikon SB-600 Speedlight, Sto-Fen Flash Diffuser.