And so it sweats…

My last post discusses the beginning salvo of my SoBoFoMo project revolving around the feral and homeless cats I watch over and feed. Since then I have encountered two bits of ‘fun’ I thought I’d share.

Here’s fun number one:

The weather...

Yeah. It says “90” right now (and ‘right now’ is almost 9:30p.m.), but it was 96 at the peak today with a heat index of around 110. You know… I left Florida to escape this sort of thing.

(sigh)

It has been like this all week and will remain like this through tomorrow, as you can see in the above picture. While things will cool-off over the weekend and into the week it’s still scheduled to be warmer than average. Just not stupid-hot. Needless to say working with a dSLR in this heat, with this humidity, in a small wood which only serves to trap the humidity under the leafy canopy (and between the two humidity is far worse than direct sunlight) I’ve been reluctant to shoot pictures.

The cats look and act distressed (lethargic) and I don’t blame them. It’s nasty. I myself looked as if I had just stepped out of the shower as I returned to my car to come back home. And into a real shower.

(heavenly sigh)

So this first week of photography has yielded precisely three-days of photographs when I had planned at least six. Kid you not… the camera actually slipped out of my hand the other day as both it and my hand were so covered in sweat.

Gross… I know!

But I did learn something yesterday while out with the camera and I apologize for not having the pictures to prove it as I’m entering this blog post from a different computer. What I “discovered” is when trying to photograph cats in a small wood with a flash attached to the camera there is a very good chance the flash will highlight… even over-expose… the leaves and branches that lay between the cat and me; the humble photographer.

This does not lead to the sort of results one had hoped for. It also begs the question: does forkboy have the slightest clue what he’s doing?

It’s probably best we don’t answer that…

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4 thoughts on “And so it sweats…

  1. Were you using direct flash or a bounce card? Bounce card might help a bit. The only other thing I can think of is to zoom the flash as much as possible and aim it a bit high so you just feather the light off your subject. You should probably use the flash in manual mode or at least use center weight metering if you try that, otherwise the flash will try to pump out more light in order to still light the whole scene. I’m not sure any of this will work though, never tried it myself.

  2. No, I wasn’t using a bounce card. It’s not practical in this wooded environment. I had zoomed the flash as far out as I could and was using it in both ETTL and manual modes hoping to find something which worked reasonably well. And for this project I’m shooting almost exclusiveoy in center-weighted metering. Actually, I shoot that way much of the time regardless of subject. Unfortunately the wood is so dense in places it’s hard enough to get a straight shot at them much less firing a strobe at them.

    I even contemplated a quick DIY grid for the strobe, but I don’t really think that will help either.

    But thanks for thinking about my issues and offering some suggestions. If nothing else it seems I was thinking in the right way towards solving this issue.

    • Hmm, sounds like you’ve tried most things you can do with the flash still on camera. Maybe it’s time to get the flash off camera? By hand holding it you could at least get some height on it which might help. Another idea would be if you have a monopod or very small and light stand for the flash, then you could try something like this: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/strobe-on-rope.html. Other than that the only thing I can think off is if the cats have some places where the often come to rest, eat or whatever. In that case you could set things up in advance. You would be a bit dependent on luck and patience if you went that route though.

  3. Before you came round I had posted a bit about the idea of bringing my portable lighting kit (just a stand, strobe, electronics to fire it wirelessly and either a soft box or umbrella), but it’s simply not practical.

    Except for the trails I walk and the cleared areas where they eat there is precious little in the way of space. Trees, big and small, thorny things (LOTS of thorny things), and the like just fill up all the space.

    If only this project allowed for older pictures to be used as during the latter part of Autumn and through the Winter the wood really opens up with the smaller stuff dying off.

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