Flash Jack From Gundagai No.1

on October 20, 2015

Those of our readers who are puzzled by the heading are referred to any standard Australian folk song book. They will enjoy the Dog On the Tucker Box and Click Go the Shears and other such cultural achievements but would do well to keep in mind that folk songs are best sung out loud by earnest women in shawls and drunken men with beards. Anyone else risks being laughed at.

The flashes we are more familiar with are the on-camera pop-up variety and the speed lights that we slot into the top of the hot shoes. Studio flashes are referred to as ' strobes ' to make them sound more technical.

The humble speed light or portable flash is frequently used to light portraits and events by separating it from the camera...and the photographer...and putting it on a light stand or tripod. Actual firing of the unit is accomplished with a cord, a wireless radio trigger, an infra red signal, or the power of the mind. The real secret of the portrait or event shot is holding the flash unit on the light stand and holding a photographic umbrella so that it catches and throws back the light.

Here's a Promaster unit to do just that. The thing will slot onto any standard half-inch spigot on a light stand and the clamp on the top grips the hot shoe foot of the flash. There is a hole down which you poke the umbrella shaft and all you need to do is draw out the umbrella until the flash fills it. Point the assembly at the victim and pull the trigger.

Here is the sort of result that you can expect from a small flash operating via the TTL method into a large umbrella. Eyes light up well, skin looks natural, and there is enough beauty modelling to make most faces look good.

The Promaster model is one of the better-made options for this and it is as cheap as. If you are doing group pics or photobooth shots you can avoid having to use a 42-light setup. You'll want a light stand and a TTL cord for your camera and flash but you'll be amazed at what the automation can do when you stand back and stop yourself from trying to channel Ansel Adams.