|Using off-camera or bounce flash can improve your outdoor night photos ~ © Royce Bair (click for specs)|
|Canon Speedlite 430EX II|
Getting the light source away from the camera: The unnatural part about most flash photography is that the light source is typically coming from the same direction as the camera's lens! Moving the light source away from your camera will improve almost any photo.
Bounce or extension: The moveable flash head allows me to bounce the flash off of ceilings and walls when I'm indoor, or off rocks, cliffs, and trees when I'm outdoors (see last the paragraph for an explanation). If the right object for bouncing is not available, I often hold the flash at arm's length (or have someone else hold it) using Canon's OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord. That two or three feet extension can make a huge difference in the look of your flash photos.
For greater distances, I use another Canon flash (i.e. the more versatile Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT) to trigger the one doing the main lighting (you can set lighting ratios with the Canon Speedlites), or I can use the PocketWizard Plus X Transceiver to trigger a more distant flash. The key is get the light source away from the camera and at an angle that lights the subject in a more natural and pleasant way.
|Dining under a red granite cliff|
|Straight-on flash with Speedlite 430EX|
The gels I use are made by Rosco, and the Rosco Strobist 55-Piece Filter Kit is an easy way to change the color of the light or match the ambient light, such as in the campfire situation. When I bounce my strobe off of an overhanging tree that has green leaves, I can put a complimentary shade of magenta over the flash to bring the white balance back to normal.
These 1.5"x3.25" sheets work perfectly to cover most portable flash heads, but for my larger lights (or where I need to cover several lights with the same color), I use the larger 20"x24" Rosco sheets.
|Delicate Arch - lighted with two filtered lights, one w/o ~ © Royce Bair (click for more info)|