Days Eight and Nine – Rest Days And Controlling Flash Spill With A Snoot
by John Downey
The last two days were a welcome rest from driving at Aregash Lodge in Awassa. We were contemplating returning to Addis one day early, but after the first night’s rest, good food and just all around peace and quiet, we hung around for two.
Not only did it give me time to catch up on previous posts, but I also experimented with flash while photographing Colobus and Vervet monkeys, hyenas and vultures. Using a 200mm lens and a camera-mounted 580exII flash, I first reduced output by about 1.5, or just enough for fill. The shadows from the leaves and tree trunks are about the only signs of fill flash above, which also doesn’t mess much with the color balance of the background (set for cloudy rather than flash).
The hyena and vultures here are also lit with -1.5 fill flash, but I pulled the snoot further back over the flash head (shorter snoot length and thus more spill to the sides) to provide catch lights in the eyes. This took a couple of frames to get the light just right. The color is faithful and no harsh light. Doesn’t take much to illuminate a hyena’s eyes; nocturnal hunters, their pupils are large and reflect even the smallest amount of light. The hotel staff put out restaurant scraps each evening to entertain tourists.
I hope you have enjoyed following the posts over the last nine days. It was great to be outside every day, practice shooting, learn some new techniques and spend quality time with my family. We will try to do one of these every six months and there will be plenty of images and techniques posted in between. Hopefully, some of the tips I post will help you in your own photographic adventures. As always, if you have questions or need advice, drop me a line anytime.
Keep making great images!