This time of year is often filled by business, friends, family and best of all, lights. From the time I was young, until this very day, I've had a love for holiday light displays. Now as a photographer I have new reasons to enjoy this time of year, the light provided by the displays change the landscape, as people try to brighten up the long, dark days of December.
I had some time this afternoon to experiment with different ways of photographing some decorations around my home, and discovered that using an external flash really helps. There are a few reasons why and external flash can help a lot with this type of photography, first being that it can reduce the shadows created by a single, on camera flash. Second, through the use of gels over the flash head, you can change the feel of the image.
Using different directions you can create light that is more natural than by just using a single direct flash. In the photo below I used the D300's flash to activate an SB-800 remotely. I had a orange gel on the SB-800, which created the warmer look in the image, almost as if the scene were taking place late in the evening as the sun was setting.
After my experimenting this afternoon I can see why so many photographers have more than one external flash. With the flexibility provided by Nikon's CLS system, you can create different lighting situations to give a more natural appearance to your indoor photos. I say that because sometimes you are not just trying to take a photo of what you see naturally, but more so what you see in your mind. With flashes, and gels you can do that, without a lot of fancy post processing.
This may very well be my last posting before Christmas, so I want to wish you all a merry Christmas, and hope you have an enjoyable holiday season.