Flash! Pow!

A lot of people hear the term “flash photography” and instantly think of pictures of people with their eyes glowing red and harsh shadows being cast.  It’s true – the typical interpretation of flash photography has a bunch of negative associated ideas about it, but that’s because most people are familiar with on-camera flash units and point and shoot flash photography that emits the flash straight out from the camera causing terrible shadows and glowing eyes and reflections and…  it’s just bad.  It’s unfortunate too that most cameras in their basic settings tend to automatically pop the flash up and start spraying that terrible harsh light all over the place.  But, flash photography can be  great – it can be a real lifesaver making almost impossible shots completely possible while also looking great!  It’s all about using an external flash (even with the external flash attached to the camera the results are often awesome) and bouncing the light rather than shooting it directly forward.

In the video below I outline REAL basic methods of using external flash to make a photograph which will save people a lot of money and frustration.  Money?  Yeah – a lot of people chase crazy fast primes for all the wrong reasons – usually they want to be able to take reasonably fast shutter-speed photos without a flash in extremely low-light conditions and end up looking at lenses with ƒ/1.2 and ƒ/1.4 apertures, shooting wide open, getting shots that are lit poorly with low depth of field but getting the shots.  I love super shallow DOF, bokehlicious (lol), moody shots created with large aperture lenses!  But, sometimes a scene requires more  than that, or sometimes you can’t even focus due to how low the light is!  Enter the external flash:

And here is a few examples of how external flash can make photos that you didn’t think you could:

Little Red E30

Before leaving for vacation I had washed this little red car and buffed the hood and fenders with compound.  I haven’t paid it much attention because I’ve got a number of other projects going on so I thought I should get some proper video of this car.  Its a 1987 325E 4-door but I’ve pulled the M20B27 out and replaced it with an M50B25TU.  I’ve also gone and cleaned everything up and powdercoated the valve cover, oil pain, and other bits.  Its a really clean swap.  All that remains is finishing up the exhaust really.  Ultimately I want to re-install the AC later but that can wait for now.  All in all its a fun little car with some attention to detail and subtle modifications.

Bahia Honda Park

Bahia Honda Park used to be a little island that people would drive through to get to Key West and other lower Keys.  The bridge that connects Bahia Honda to the rest of the Keys deteriorated beyond repair such that a new bridge was constructed.  People started to visit Bahia Honda for its beaches and water instead of its bridge, and thus Bahia Honda Park was opened in the early 1960′s.  Enough history blah blah… check this place out!

This park is known for having the clearest waters anywhere.  The snorkeling is awesome and the water is so nice for swimming.  The park is very clean and there’s tons of wildlife.  After swimming and snorkeling I  went on a brief wildlife hike on the south side of the island:

I came across a neat looking heron, a bunch of smaller birds, pelicans, and a weird little crab.  Pretty awesome.

Check out this video I made snorkeling.  It’s just a short clip – I plan on putting a longer video together later:

Beach!

 

One thing the FL Key’s might be lacking is nice beaches.  Being from the Northeast, I sometimes take for granted the huge sandy beaches we have at the NJ Shore.  Luckily, though, there are a few nice beaches in the Key’s and today we visited one.  We drove down to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park at the southern end of Key West.  It is an  awesome beach.  The area had a nice little picnic/seating setup with bench tables, bbq’s, etc.  They have a concession stand (out of the way) to get snacks and cold drinks.  Most of all, they have great water with rocky jetties which make for great places to snorkel and see all sorts of tropical fish.

I had some fun taking video while I snorkeled.  The only  downside of this particular day was that water clarity was just fair.  Well, that, and I didn’t learn until later that the Go Pro HD camera suffers from a design flaw that prevents it from focusing properly under water.  So, out of water I get razor sharp, crystal clear images but while underwater the images are slightly out of focus – it bugs me, but nothing I can do about it after the fact.  I am going to order an aftermarket flat lens that will replace the default domes housing lens (or, if Go Pro releases an updates housing I’ll get that) which will allow the camera to focus underwater just like it does above water.  Still fun to see the fish on video though – see below!