Advanced Technique & Process 2A: Testing Flash (zoom)

17th October 2014

Equipment used:

Canon 5D mk iii
430EXii canon speed lite
Self timer in camera

The aim of this test was to show how the zoom set on a speed lite, effects the size of the beam of light flashed out – for example, if the lens is set at 24mm and the zoom on the flash is set to the same, the whole area will be lit. On the other hand if the flash is set to 105mm, a more focussed point of flash light will be fired, to match the zoom if the lens was also set at 105mm (because as you zoom in you are selecting a ‘smaller area’ of the scene to photograph).

I was trying this out because for my project idea I am wanting to shoot at a wide angle, not lighting up the whole scene with the flash, but just the subject (using rear curtain sync flash, capturing the long exposure first and layering the flash on top).

Here are a few tests I carried out. (shot angling the flash straight on to the subject)


1/5 sec, f22, ISO 100.       ^ 0.5 sec, f22, ISO 100 (both) ^

^ Here I wanted to create a ‘2 people effect’ so was trying to expose myself with the ambient day light on one side, then trying to jump to the other side to expose myself using the flash. I was using rear-curtain sync flash – so the flash went off at the end. However because of the length of the exposures, the shutter speed let in all the daylight it could which then didn’t balance out very well with the flash, which I believe was set on 1/2 power. I had my lens at 24mm and the zoom on the speed lite at 105mm.


1/125 sec, f22, ISO 100.  ^ 1/64 sec, f8, ISO 100 (both) ^

The 1st image was under exposed so I edited it on Photoshop. On these images I wanted to capture movement but with the flash only, and try not to record much ambient day light. So I brought the shutter speed up and brought the aperture down. This enabled me to see the focussed beam of flash light much better. I then just played around with the position of the flash and where it would illuminate me.


^ All shot at 1/64 sec, f8, ISO 100. Here are just a few of my results. Shot at 24mm lens length, 105mm zoom length on the speed lite. There is a definite distinction where the flash has fired. I like this look because it acts as a spot light. I also notice that in photographer Brian Kuhlmann’s series ‘Night Life’ (see research folder).

This experiment has taught me about flash and how I can use it to create an aesthetic I desire. I can now go ahead and use this in shooting towards my project work.

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