Friday, August 29, 2008

Photo Hint for all Digital Cameras - Dave's Dynamo Effect

A Simple On Camera Flash Technique to Amaze your audience.... Creating Flash Images So Unique that No-one can replicate them - even you!

I came across this technique 10 or 12 years ago by accident while I was playing with my camera settings at a wedding reception when the lights were down low and the dancing started. The effect is really cool and I now teach this at most of my digital photo classes, seminars and lectures.

Not to blow my horn, but I tutored this technique to a gal from Calgary last year and a guy in Vancouver a few months ago. There were individually on a trip to Africa's Mount Kilaminjaro and and one saw the other using this technique (very evident to see because it looks really weird from anyone watching you use it!) and in chatting, they found that they had both learned it from Dave the Rave (that's me!) in private lessons back in Canada. What a small world! Well here it is... and I gave it a name: Dave's Dynamo Effect (tm) . I am certainly not the first person to uncover this trick but you may be hearing this firsthand here.

Dave's Dynamo Effect (tm)

Facts: A camera flash will freeze close fast moving objects in low light and has a limited distance range beyond which it has no effect at all. The duration of flashes vary by type and model, off-camera or built-in/pop-up and is typically between 1/1000 to 1/30,000 of a second. This is like a superfast shutter speed and when most or all of the light is from the flash (and not other sources) then you freeze anything to tack sharpness within the flash distance range, even if it is moving quickly. Objects that are beyond the flash range become more blurred if they move quickly. Therefore, in low light situations and with a very slow shutter speed you will get a tacksharp close moving object and blurred far away objects. Well, if the far way object, or background is not moving then you will get a dimly lit blurred background because of the slow shutter speed - boring!. Solution to this: Spin rotate your camera as you take the picture - this will cause the background to become ethereal looking, dizzyness like, wild and crazy. Background lights will create a variable "falling star" trail increasing with more distance from the camera.

You can get this effect on ALL cameras by using an option that sets a slow shutter speed and forcing the flash on. A common setting to use on a point and shoot cameras is party mode, night portrait ot slow sinc found on dials or in Scene Mode and the best setting to use on all SLR cameras and some Point and shoot cameras is Shutter Priority (S or TV) with flash forced on and set a shutter speed between 1/10 sec to 1/35 sec. If you can, vary the shutter speed as the effect will differ. Don't forget to rotate the camera bigtime as you take the picture and everyone watching will think you are nuts! Try it. Some love this effect and some hate it! What's funky is that no-one, even you, can duplicate the image agian because they will be all diffenent.

Confused? Read the above again slowly, attend one of my classes or look at the photos - all taken with Dave's Dynamo Effect (tm).

Email your images to by Nov. 1, 2008 and the top 3 entries will receive a complimentary copy of my newly updated "Digital and Travel Photography CD Tutorial"

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