photo: flash

mua: Ingrid Deegan | model: Sarah Nugent | photographer: Hugh

I’m generally blown away by my latest two pieces of camera gear, a Nikon flash – SB600 – not the newest or most expensive for sure, but it’s an amazing piece of kit all the same and then there’s the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 ais, an old lens which takes really nice pictures. See above.

The whole concept of measuring the amount of light through the lens is a tad overwhelming, as I understand it, the flash fires off an imperceptibly close second flash to actually make the exposure, while the first gets the camera organised to make a good exposure. I think I need a second SB600 and a bunch of wireless triggers … I’ve been adjacent to the whole experience of lighting for years but it’s only relatively recently that I’ve moved from the domain of natural light to what’s going on up here in this portrait. I suppose I haven’t complete;y grasped the bull by the horns in that I’m using a few static lamps here in addition to the strobe. I f you look closely you’ll see three catchlights in the model’s eyes, a dead giveaway. In fact I’ve read that some photographers go to the trouble of obfuscating their subjects’ catchlights so as not to give away their lighting secrets. Not me.

The 85mm is a monster, weighs a ton and is a cranky old lens – manual focus and when you can get it in focus, gives great results. Using it above at about f/4, so it should be coming into its own round that stop. I’ve been wondering whether I should send it off for a spot of maintenance, the focus ring is stiff which may be due to too much grease from a previous user. Maybe.