Presenting the Canon 580EX II Flash

Yesterday the daughter had over her best friend and the two of them took to Nintendo’s version of Guitar Hero. It was the same old thing……standing there, rather inert, staring at the t.v. screen, while their fingers furiously work the various controls on the ‘guitars’. Boring.

I thought to myself “Let’s liven this up a bit, why don’t we?” and went to the east wing of the mansion and grabbed some of my camera kit: the 40D, the 17-85mm lens and my Canon 580EX II flash/strobe. I tried shooting without the flash unit, but there was simply too much in the way of bright background (being the sliding glass doors and windows) and the girls were all dark. Even bumping up to a higher ISO only resulted in slightly better images, but with too much noise for my taste. So onto the camera goes the flash unit. I’ve mentioned this before, in a prior post, but I really don’t know how to use this thing to its fullest advantage. I mount it to the camera, turn it on and set the camera to full auto mode. Yuch! How boring. But for now it will simply have to do. Instead I continue to practice with bouncing the flash to obtain better results than the typical deer in the headlights look that besets so many flash pictures.

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Overall I’m pleased with the results. Granted, I did have some pics with shadows cast upon the walls or ceiling and they were too harsh (the shadows, not the ceiling or walls) so I deleted them right away. No sense in posting total and complete rubbish on Flickr when I can post semi-rubbish pictures instead, right? 😉

I also found the girls to be less than enthusiastic models. They don’t seem to realize that rock-n-roll is just as much attitude and stage presence as it is music. So can you believe I actually had to show them how to act and then tell them to do so? Really? So hopeless, eh?

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Can you feel how posed is the picture? Clearly neither is going to grow up to either act or play rock-n-roll onstage! But look at Ashley work her axe!

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11 thoughts on “Presenting the Canon 580EX II Flash

  1. RE.: Tamela: I think there is a Heart song on the game, so good call!

    RE.: Goodbear: No one is shiny because I don’t fire my flash directly at my subject, but adjust it such that I bounce the flash’s light off a wall or ceiling. The 580EX II is Canon’s top-of-the-line consumer on-camera model. I like it quite a bit, but the next model down might be just as good IF the flash head swivels and pivots as much as that of the 580EX II. It is the ability to turn it in all sorts of different directions that makes the process work so well.

  2. I think the photo of the girls standing back to back is so cute with their smirks. I also enjoy your explanation of how you got your shots. I’m always in awe of how much you know. I can’t figure out half of what you are talking about but I’m learning and I want to try that flash thingee!

  3. It freezes the subject while allowing ambient light to come in. If you look at my blog you can see some samples (you can also get the blurred background effect). If you google “dragging shutter” you will get a lot of info on the technique.

  4. Hi there. Randomly saw a link to this post after blogging about my own experiences with this flash at my own blog.

    To anyone who sees this, I’m sorry to say that I CANNOT recommend buying this flash. If you plan on using it for everyday bounce-flash, this may be a decent choice. If you plan on only using a single flash, this might be a good choice. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to get into off-camera flash photography, if you’re a fan of Joe McNally and you read his books, and if you use multiple Speedlite setups and need to adjust them on-the-fly, you’re better off not buying this flash. The 580EX I is actually a more useful one, despite being older and having a slightly slower recycle time.

    For more info, (I swear I’m not trying to plug my own blog — just trying to spread useful information) please visit my blog and read the post about off-camera photography. Also, there will be additional related posts to come, so please check back for more in-depth tests and reviews.

    Basically, though, there are A LOT of factors to consider before buying a flash. No flash is perfect, which is a darn shame, considering how much money we pour into this expensive hobby we seem to share.

    Thanks for reading.

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