As we’ve already discussed, you can do a lot with a speedlite, and so we did! The two techniques in this post both create fun effects, though they’re not something you might do everyday. But, then again, you might!
So I introduce to you: stroboscopic flash and light-painting with speedlites.
Stroboscopic flash is used in a pitch dark environment; you set your flash to strobe mode, where it fires rapidly in succession which, when combined with a long shutter speed, effectively captures the motion of your subject in one frame.
Here is an example of a photo taken with stroboscopic flash:
None of these images are wonderful, but they were so so so much fun to make! We were dancing, leaping, and falling all over the place.
I wore one of my biggest skirted dresses to enhance the effect. Harold “Doc” Edgerton was famous for doing this type of photography; our images pale in comparison to his, of course, but I do think we had just as much fun making them.
Our instructor thought this one was weird, but I think it’s hilarious! We had hoped Hillary’s face would come through, but my dress had too much material to it and blocked her. My face is priceless though; I look completely, gleefully, insane.
We also learned how to light-paint with a speedlite. This also requires a dark room and a long exposure. With this technique, you set up your subject, set a long shutter speed (mine was fifteen seconds) and then literally “paint” light around your subject while the shutter remains open. I manually popped my speedlite (about six to eight pops, I believe) while walking around Nicole to evenly illuminate her. She gamely stayed very still for the entirely of the exposure. And so we have Nicole, light-painted with a speedlite:
Don’t you wish you got to play in a dark studio all day with your speedlite? I feel so lucky to be learning all of these skills, building the foundations of a career, AND having so much fun at school. It’s a wonderful life!