I met Mike for a second 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson once again in Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida this past Saturday. Since our first photography lesson on the 4th of July he has invested in a Nikon SB-910 Speedlight which he got for a great price. We met in the visitor's center which provided not only a cool, climate controlled space, but also one very much like a regular private home indoor lighting situation. There were dark corners as well as large windows letting in lots of light. We started off with seeing just how powerful his speedlight was, and found it to be very powerful. After locking in camera and speedlight settings, then it was largely a matter of how to angle the speedlight head. I showed Mike that even just a centimeter one way or the other can have a pretty big impact on how the photograph looks.
We then moved over to the large windows to show how to balance the exposure in a backlit situation. I had Mike first set the shutter speed to get the windows to look well exposed. Then we dialed in the speedlight power and angle to illuminate the subject to match, with that subject of course being me! Without a speedlight it would have been impossible to see outside the windows and the subject, one or the other would have to be a silhouette. Thus, a speedlight is a very necessary photography tool for photographing backlit subjects, as well as many other situations.
For the last practice we went outside and found the limits of the Creative Lighting System and Commander Mode. In order to get his Nikon D7000 to trigger the speedlight, as you can see in the photo above, the speedlight needed to be twisted toward the camera. I recommended that Mike invest in a pair of radio triggers that can work in direct sunlight no problem, and also from much further distances. I look forward to seeing his off camera flash (strobist) results!