I suppose the subtitle for this blog posting should also be "Experimenting with Bounce Flash Photography" because I did it 100% of the time during this shoot. I'd heard about the concept of bouncing the flash from a fellow photographer who directed me to some blog postings by pro photographer Neil van Niekirk.
It was a Sunday late afternoon, and I found myself at a wonderful little Italian restaurant called the Villa D'Este. I'm rather familiar with it because I hired them to provide the meal that was served after my mother's memorial service last year. The musician for that night's performance was a gentleman named Perrish, who sings in the style of the legendary Frank Sinatra. I've heard Ol' Blue Eyes sing before and have to admit that Perrish sounds almost exactly like him.
What follows are a whole bunch of photos from the evening, also with my camera settings. The restaurant's ceiling was a rust-color, so bouncing the light off that was difficult because even at full power from my Nissin i40, the bounced light really came back a dull red. So I really had only the walls to bounce off of.
My i40 was mounted with something that pro photographer Neil van Niekirk calls a "black foamy thing". Except my foam was wrapped all the way around the flash, like it was almost a snoot. This allowed me to bounce the light spread from the bare flash somewhat contained. The last thing I wanted were dinner guests getting flashed in the face.
First up is Perrish's sound board. I bounced the light off the wall to my left.
Next are the table settings. You'll notice that I used the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens in the beginning, but later on in the night I switched over to prime lenses.
Here you see the dining area of the restaurant itself. I bounced the light off the wall about 25 feet to the right. As you can see, it was a full house that night. All tables were reserved.
And here's Perrish! I bounced the light off the wall and a window behind me. The distance from the wall to Perrish might have been 30 feet. The flash was at full power and I'm surprised at how distinct his shadow is on the wall in the photo, but my guess is that the window acted like a mirror and didn't diffuse the light at all. You can see that the shadows are all very distinct.
For the next shot, I bounced the light off the wall just to my left. It was maybe ten feet from Perrish, so you can see the difference in the light's power from his hand to his face.
Here, I bounced the light from the wall to my upper right. Full power on the flash because I was about 30 feet away.
I love the tender moment in this next photo. It's a shot of father and daughter dancing. Yes, people got up to dance! Again, the flash bounced off the wall to my upper right.
This next shot, I was leaning against a wall and bounced the light right off the part of the wall next to my right shoulder. I didn't think it would work, but it did!
The final shot is my favorite. It was actually taken of Perrish just a few moments before he started singing. The light was bounced off the wall to my right.
I learned a lot that night. Bouncing the flash was something I'd always heard about, but never experimented with. In the next few weeks, I'll be back there again to photograph a gentleman named Matt Helm, who'll be singing Dean Martin songs.