Flash, Off Camera

$300 is a lot of money to spend on anything, my first camera probably cost a third of that, but three weeks ago I found myself at my local Pohang camera shop, Kwan's camera, holding a Nikon sb-800 speedlight that Kwan wanted 300,000 Korean Won for. I wanted a flash, but I never thought I'd be able to afford an sb-800 as they retail for around $500 new and even more than that here in Korea. So I bought it with dreams of... I don't even know. For the first two weeks I thought the thing was broken because I just couldn't figure out how to use it remotely. Then I read the manual and a couple books and a dozen webpages and boom, I could at least get the thing to fire when I wanted it to, if not always where I wanted it to.  Now I carry it around in my bag and practice when I can.  Sara and I had a couple of opportunities this weekend to test it out, once in a nearly empty fossil museum in Gyeongju, and again at the Chilpo Jazz Festival.  Some cool Turkish and Persian guys let us sit down with them and take a few pictures and the batting cages and the pellet shooting booth offered another chance.  Overall I like where things are headed.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments

The Smoker

Off Camera Flash Hookah Smoke
This guy made some awesome Turkish Kebab and let us smoke the hookah with him.  The flash is set underneath the smoke and the camera's aperture is set to f/22 to block out all light except that from the flash.

My Half

Off camera flash portrait Zach Thomas
This is kind of the classic off camera flash portrait, where half of the face is lit and the other half is completely dark.  Here I'm holding the flash about six inches from my face and firing the camera with a remote.  I've attached a home-made snoot made from cardboard and aluminum foil tape, which is awesome stuff and is exactly as it sounds.  The snoot focuses the light in a beam directly onto its target, in this picture, my face.  I have a weird looking face.

The Better Half

Off camera flash portrait Sara Poe
My wonderful wife posed for this one holding the flash six inches from her face.  

Out of the Darkness

Off camera flash Gyeongju Fossil Museum Sara Poe
Here we are in the fossil museum.  Nobody in there so we took advantage and snapped some photos like this.  I'm sure the Korean docent thought we were crazy.  The lights on the walls are lighting fossils trapped forever in stone.  The light in Sara's hand is lighting her face which will hopefully never be trapped in stone.

Hidden Camera

Off Camera Flash Gyeongju Fossil Museum Zach and Sara
The composition and the focus on this are junk, as I hastily set the camera down on a display box, ran over to Sara and fired the camera remotely.  The flash is behind us and giving that nice halo effect.  I wish I had had a light stand and a tripod and a couple hours, because this museum would have been an awesome place to take pictures.  Lots of deep colored walls and funky lighting, plus a bunch of fake dino skeletons.  

Swing Batter, Batter

Batting Cages Chilpo Beach Pohang South Korea
I'm really proud of this not because of the picture, though it is a cool picture thank you photographer Sara, but because in order to take the picture I had to put the flash inside the cage with me.  I had to skillfully not ground the ball off to my right or risk smashing my $300 toy.  

At Bat

Off Camera Flash Chilpo Beach Batting Cage Pohang South Korea
Another one with the flash in the cage.  Here if I missed at all the ball would pass by me and potentially smash into the flash, mangling it.  Luckily I am really good in the batting cages, even in my swimsuit, even in my flip-flops. 

Turkish Style

Turkish Ice Cream Chilpo Beach Korea
Here's the Turkish guy doing his thing with the ice cream.  He had a whole schtick running where he uses that metal pole to keep the ice cream away from the kids while they reach out and grab for it.  The kid on the right is actually one of my students at the school I work for.  The ice cream is good, but with the whole ice-cream-keep-away thing it takes like twenty minutes to get a scoop.

The Shooter

Shooting Gallery Chilpo Beach Pohang South Korea.
Sara is a crack shot.  I don't even bother to shoot because she embarrasses me in front of everyone.


Shooting Gallery Chilpo Beach Pohang South Korea
She walked away with a decent teddy bear after only 15 shots.  

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