This summer, we expect to have an explosion of cicadas – 17 years after the last time this brood was above ground. Since the last time they were around, their nymphs have been buried underground. Although it is unknown how or why they have such a long dormant time, it is precisely timed. So do not be alarmed if you are awakened by their loud buzzing later this summer! Being that the first time I remember this phenomenon was the summer before my wedding, I will have this strange date range in mind.
On this occasion, I found some cicadas sitting on large leaves in my garden. It was not moving at all even though I was adjusting my camera and flashes on stands. In this case, I used a macro lens to get the camera as close to the cicada as I could. Surprisingly, it did not move even as I got the flash and lens remarkably close to its face!
As can be seen in my 2020 Clematis flowers, my garden is growing beautifully this year! This is despite my very limited knowledge on how to grow anything out of the ground. When the blooms start to come out in Spring, I usually get a few photos. However, the quarantine keeping us at home gives me a new subjects to test some lighting setups.
During this shoot, I used my camera with two speedlight flashes. Although you see two speedlights here, only one was actually adding light to the photos. One was only used as a trigger for the off camera flash. While moving the lights around, I found that the small lights were nice to control what parts of the flowers were illuminated. After each photo, I could move either the flash or the camera with very slight movements. It produced a large set of varied images! I felt it was a productive way to spend a lock-down afternoon.
The cherry blossom have been in full bloom around the DC
Area. This year, they have been particularly beautiful! They have the light
puff ball look with very light colored blooms that really stands out against
the bark of the surrounding trees.
During this time of quarantine, I have been productive in my
home studio. But keeping inside means I have not been going out of the house to
make many photos. I know there are many projects that you can do while staying
at home, but this was the first really purpose-driven photos I have done in a week.
I was inspired do these first by the beautiful cherry tree of our neighbor that
was in full bloom!
Next, I wanted to try the Hi Speed Sync options of the Profoto A1 flashes. This is a new piece of gear that I am still learning. I may be replacing all of my lighting gear to Profoto I the near future. If this does in fact come true, I will be sure to make a post about the reasons for it. But for this quick test shoot, I mounted one of the A1 flashes firing into a Westcott Rapid Box Octa with the outer diffusion panel installed. I did not use the deflector plate as the A1 does not completely fit the cut out for the speedlight on the back of the Octabox. The A1 has a circular face at its output and most speedlights are rectangular.
I used another Profoto A1 as a remote controller for the off-camera light, and it worked right away! The flash could keep up at 1/1000th to 1/8000th of a second, and it was still filling the entire frame with an even exposure. I am anxious to try this setup again as I really like the results. The resulting images were much more in balance with the background compared to an exposure without the flash. I was impressed with this first high speed sync experiment with this gear!