My FLASHY Blogpost

I am going to go out on a limb here.

For those of you who know me, I pity you. But, seriously, you know that my life is about balance. Balance is very important to me. I drink alcohol, I just don't get drunk (anymore... there was this one night in Waikiki....but I digress). I jog, but I don't run. I have four kids because that is about all one SUV will hold.

Anyway...balance. It makes life more enjoyable, but every once in a while you have to do something crazy like jump out of airplanes or rappel out of a helicopter that is hovering 30 meters above the ground (thats about 90 feet for

the American readers...wink, wink~when are we EVER going to give up those feet and inches and switch to metric? It's soooo much easier)

Sorry, its late here in Iraq.

So, after all that, what CRAZY thing am I talking about here in my blog tonight???

Well, I have been thinking about my camera equipment lately. My thought was, what would be the ONE THING I couldn't live without (besides the actual camera and the 18-55mm lens that came with it)?

Would it be the wireless remote so I can take pictures of myself or reduce that shutter shake? NO.

© Crisp

Would it be my circular polarizing lens filter? ah...close, but I can live without it.

Would it be my tripod? Absolutely...NOT! I can (and have) make a tripod out of anything.

So, I am going through my backpack of goodies and it hits me in the face... Well, not the face, it actually fell out of bag and landed on my little toe. (Don't worry, the doctor said I will be able to walk again in a few days.)

What was it? What could I not possibly live without? What is the one thing that makes pure sunshine come out of my smile when I think about it? Well, I will tell you....tomorrow.

Just kidding, but you already knew that, didn't you. I mean there is more text on this page. It was a LOT more dramatic when I was saying it out loud as I typed it, but I am not going to go back and delete it. It's out there and that's that.

Anyway, so this one thing that I have found so valuable is................

My external, hot shoe flash. I know...I debated putting the picture in because it gives it away, but I like the picture. It looks just like the one I have. I mean, its not like the title of my blog didn't give it away, right?

Man, this thing has gotten me out of some tough lighting situations more times than I can count. With a rotating and tilting head on it, I can pretty much make it through any lighting situation. You know what is funny is how versatile you can really become when this is ALL you have.

I didn't bring my studio lights with me to Iraq or my reflectors or any of my studio gear. I didn't have room for it in my duffel bags and if you have ever seen a detail of privates downloading bags off of a truck, you don't want anything valuable in those bags.

I have used that little baby to bounce light off of walls, ceilings, floors, paper, one of my friends' bald heads, and more! I have used it as a fill flash for those mid-day shots to soften up the shadows. I even figured out a little trick where I hold up a sheet of printer paper in front of it (which you can use with your ON CAMERA flash) to diffuse the light for closer shots (within one meter).

I love my flash. It is no substitute for my studio lights, but in a pinch (which is pretty much all the time when you are deployed to Iraq), it works great!

I did a couple weddings last summer and I do think I did a decent job, but I was warn out at the end of the day. I was SO worried about the lighting and finding the right spot and fixing the brides dress, and getting Aunt Mildred to smile even though she doesn't like the schmuck her niece married. At least now, I have one less thing to worry about. I think that I can get a good shot just about anywhere with this flash, now.

The great thing is that in using the external flash unit (which I have a cheapo Phoenix DZBIS-112CII that I got on Ebay for $60) I have learned to think about light in a different way. It has forced me to see how light reacts with the things around me, rather than having the luxury of moving studio lights in and out

and around and up and down. I have only a few variables: straight on light, bounced from left, right, top, or bottom. I can control, slightly, the intensity of the light with a slider on the back that brightens or dims the flash and the head telescopes slightly to create a more broader or focused light. It sounds like a lot of options, but the more broader spectrum of options comes in what I bounce the light off and what other mixtures of light I incorporate (shade, ambient light from a window, direct light, etc.)

So, if you are thinking: Man I just got this great camera, what's next? I say, look at a flash unit. Buy the most expensive one your budget can afford, because you won't regret it. I had a very limited budget at the time, but I am more than happy with the money I spent. It is a little trickier to use than a more expensive one, but I like a challenge. Never mind, that I haven't solved my Rubic's Cube yet. (someday...I will)

I am sorry that, if you have read this far and are disappointed, that I am not within arms reach so you can give me a good smack. If you leave a comment on my blog, I will be sure to do so in your place.

Photo credits: Han Van Vonno, Dgilder, Intodune, Leloft1911, Olga D. Van De Veer, Og-vision, Soundsnaps, Wabeno.

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August 11, 2007


I have a 7 Passenger GMC Yukon. I have an American Bulldog that has to have some room in the cargo area for long trips. He comes with us everywhere except my mother-in-law's house in FL. She doesn't think he will do well in the old person's community, but I think she is just afraid of him.  Girl and her dog 

August 10, 2007


Hay Jay, get an 9 passanger Tahoe, then you can add 3 more kidos!

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