What the world needs now is another photo blog.
Moose Peterson has an excellent tutorial on the use of flash on his website, and there’s little that one can add to that. So, for overall information on TTL flash work, check out excellent essay.
But there is one thing that’s not covered there, and does not seem to be generally covered in books and articles about TTL flash. And that is the impact of film reflectivity on TTL systems that use "off the film" (OTF) metering…
Well, the idea is simple…
TTL (through the lens) metered flash works by cutting off the flash when the correct exposure level is achieved. Basically, the camera fires the flash and a sensor monitors how much light is put out. Once the correct amount of light has been reached, the camera shuts off the flash.
In many cameras, the sensor that monitors the amount of light put out by the flash are actually measuring the light reflected back off the film – hence the phrase, "off the film" metering. Obviously, when you reflect light off something, the degree of reflectivity makes a difference.
The image below shows a potpourri of different brands and types of films. I just raided my freezer and film bag and pulled out one of everything there… As you can see – the different film types are pretty different in color and overall darkness or lightness. In fact, when I ran a spot meter over the different types, there was over 1.5 stops worth of difference in the meter readings from the lightest to the darkest film emulsion.
Does this have an effect on the exposures gotten via TTL flash? Absolutely! I learned about this while trying to diagnose exposure problems with a roll of Kodachrome it took last summer. I was out taking insect macros and on this particular day had shot two rolls of print film, one roll of Kodachrome, and one role of Kodak Elitechrome EBX. All of the images were properly exposed, except for the roll of Kodachrome – which was consistently under exposed. Since the roll of Kodachrome was shot in the middle of the sequence, I could not figure out what change in technique or equipment settings could account for the exposure problem.
Then the question about TTL flash came to mind. When I compared the Kodachrome to the other film types, the hypothesis was confirmed. Kodachrome is a very light colored (more reflective) film. So… more light bounces off it, the TTL meter cuts out the flash that much sooner, and as a result the images were slightly under exposed.
Of course – for print film a stop or even a stop and a half of mis-exposure will not be catastrophic. But for fairly narrow latitude slide films, such exposure problems would certainly be noticeable.
I responded to this problem by just not using Kodachrome for this kind of work… I just use the film brands that I know will work with my system.
But, if I wanted to keep using Kodachrome, or found problems with other films, the answer would be to calibrate the TTL meter with a gray card, basically shooting some sample shots to confirm that the exposure is correct, and then adjust setting accordingly. I suspect that to use Kodachrome for with my technique of shooting insects, I’d need to dial in ½ to 1 stop of positive flash compensation.
Photos accompany article appearing in Michigan Birds & Natural History, (April-June 1999) v 6, no. 2:
Mark Cassino is a fine art and natural history photographer based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. His work runs the gamut from micro-photographs of individual snow crystals, to close ups of butterflies and birds, to landscapes depicting Michigan’s unique terrain.
Mark uses a variety of techniques to create his unique images. He works with the latest digital technology, but also utilizes medium format film cameras and toy, junk, and antique devices. His creative techniques include extreme close up photography, digital and film based infrared photography, alternative B&W processing techniques, and digital enhancement.
Working from both a scientific and artistic perspective, Mark’s works have been exhibited in a diverse variety of venues.
His scientific photos have been displayed in the gallery of the National Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C., on several covers of American Entomologist, in Science World, and in numerous textbooks, calendars, and trade publications. His work has appeared on many science oriented websites, including those of the US Department of Agriculture’s Systemic Entomology Laboratory, NASA, and the popular radio series Earth and Sky.
His fine art work has appeared in national and regional juried art shows, including the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2011 West Michigan Area Show, sponsored by the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2014 American Landscapes national juried show sponsored by the Maryland Federation of Art. His work has also appeared in The “Rural Outdoors” and "Selected Works from the Rural Outdoors" exhibits in New York State, the 2005 All Michigan / All Media exhibit, sponsored by Ferris State University’s Rankin Art Gallery and the 2006 Krappy Kamera Contest, a national exhibit of photos taken with toy cameras, hosted by the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City. Two of his photos were accepted into the 2008 Macroworld competition, hosted by the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado. One of his pieces was also accepted into the 2008 Street Photography competition, also hosted by the Center For Fine Art Photography.
One of Mark’s specialties is close up photos of individual snow crystals. His technique utilizes ordinary photographic equipment to capture close up images of the tiny crystals. Mark teamed with physicist Jon Nelson to write The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder which was published in October, 2009, by Chronicle books. The book was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by National Science Teachers Association, received a Blue Ribbon award from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and was included in the Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best” list for 2010. The Story of Snow has been published in Japanese, Korean and Chinese editions. Six years after its original publication The Story of Snow continues to be a popular with kids, parents and educators.
American Landscapes, 2018. Maryland Federation of Art, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. August 23 - September 22, 2018.
2018 Regional Juried Arts Competition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, Michigan, 49093. January 21-February 17, 2018.
Botanical Studies, Carnegie Center for the Arts, 107 North Main Street, Three Rivers, Michgan, 49093. June 18 - August 4, 2017. Solo exhibit of 18 botanical photographs.
Signature Artists: Beyond Boundaries, Art Center of Battle Creek, 265 E Emmett St, Battle Creek, MI 49017. June 4-24, 2017.
2017 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Insitute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007. March 4 - May 28, 2017.
2017 Regional Juried Arts Competition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, Michigan, 49093. January 22-February 18, 2017.
American Landscapes, 2016. Maryland Federation of Art, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. August 12 - September 10, 2016.
2016 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Insitute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007. April 8 - July 10, 2016.
2016 Regional Juried Arts Competition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, Michigan, 49093. January 24-February 20, 2016.
Signature Artist Cooperative: New Work 2015, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 203 , Kalamazoo, MI 49007. August 28 - September 25, 2015.
American Landscapes, 2015. Maryland Federation of Art, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. August 14-September 13, 2015.
2015 Regional Juried Arts Competition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, Michigan, 49093. January 25-February 25, 2015.
American Landscapes, 2014. Maryland Federation of Art, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. August 15-September 15, 2014.
Selected Photographs, Transformations Spirituality Center, 3427 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49048. February-March 2014.
Signature Artists Cooperative: Signature in Summertime, Holland Area Arts Council, 150 East 8th Street, Holland, Michigan, 49423. June 11-August 31, 2013.
Selected Photographs, Rivers Edge Conference Center, 3030 Rocky River Road, Cleveland, Ohio. August-September 2012.
2011 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Insitute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI. May 7 - Junel 26, 2011.
Signature Artists Cooperative: Renewal, Portage Public LIbrary, Portage, MI.
Signature Artist Coopertative: 30 years of Michigan Artisans, Downriver Council for the Arts, 20904 Northline, Taylor, MI 48180.
Midwestern Photography 2009, University of Indianapolis, Christel DeHaan Fine Art Center, Indianapolis, IN. February 23, 2009 - March 27, 2009.
2009 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Insitute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI. February 28 - April 26, 2009.
American Landscapes, 2008. Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, Maryland.
Your Best Shot. foto-foto gallery, Huntinton, NY. Jurored by Constance Schwartz.
The Elements: Signature Artist Cooperative Group Exhibit. Art Center of Battle Creek, Battle Creek, MI 49017.
Macro World. Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Street Photography. Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Regional Juried Arts Competition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, MI.
Snow Crystals! Solo exhibit of 50 snow flake images. Glenn Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo, MI.
The Planets: Invitational Collaborative Group Exhibit. Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, MI.
Spring Into the Arts! Battle Creek Arts and Industry Council, Battle Creek, MI. A large selection of my print were exhibited at Barrista Blue's Restauant and the HAPPI Store.
Krappy Kamera Contest IX: Soho Photo, New York, NY.
Pinhole Camera Exhibit. Montclair Public Library, Montclair, New Jersey.
ASC Gallery: Solo exhibit of 39 prints. Ambulatory Surgery Center offices of HealthCare Midwest,Kalamazoo, MI.
DUO:Group exhibit by the Signature Artist's Cooperative. Epic Center, Kalamazoo, MI.
Snow Crystals! Solo exhibit of over 40 snow crystal prints. Piece Cedar Creek Institute, Hastings, MI.
American Landscapes, 2006. Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, Maryland. Jurored by Edwin Ahlstrom. (Honorable Mention).
Fifth Annual Art Source Gallery Juried Art Exhibit, Art Source Gallery, , Boise, ID 83702.
2006 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kilverts Hills: Twenty Two photos accompanied Lin Foulk in her premier performance of Hillary Tan's Kilvert's Hills, a composition for the French Horn. Michgan State University Hart Recital Hall, East Lansing, MI, and Western MIchigan University's Dalton Recital Hall, Kalamazoo, MI.
Signature Artist Cooperative Group Exhibit, Saniwax Gallery, Kalamazoo, MI.
Kalamazoo Arts Council Art Hop, October 5, 2006: Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI.
Inspired By flowers: Invitational Mixed Media Exhibition, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, Michigan.
Kalamazoo Arts Council Art Hop, June 2, 2006: Burnham & Flower Insurance Group, Kalamazoo, MI.
Kalamazoo Arts Council Art Hop, March 3 , 2006,Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Arcus Depot, Kalamazoo, MI.
The Bloom and the Crystal: Selected Floral and Snow Crystal Images, Transformations Spirituality Center,3427 Gull Road, Nazareth, MI.
All-Michigan All-Media Exhibit. Rankin Art Gallery , Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mi, 49307. Jurored by Boyd Quinn.
Man And Nature Photography Exhibit. Northwest Cultural Council,Kimball Hill Galleries, Rolling Meadow, Illinois, 60008. Jurored by Jeff Dionesotes.
2005 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Rural Outdoors, Sullivan County Museum, Hurleyville, New York, 12747. Jurored by Joseph Coscia, Associate Chief Photographer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
The Rural Outdoors: Selected Works, Mountaindale Art center Gallery, Mountaindale, NY.
New Works: Interpretive Landscapes and Nature Photography, Little Yellow Frame Shop & Gallery, Richland, MI.
Snow Crystals! Glenn Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI.
Selected Nature Photographs, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Hastings, MI.
American Landscapes, 2004. Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, Maryland. Jurored by Ross Merrill.
The Great Pollinator Partnership: Garden and Photographic Exhibits. United States Botanic Garden Conservatory,100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington D.C..
Annual Fine Art Exhibit. Indiana Wildlife Artists, Muncie, Indiana. (Best Photograph Award.)
2004 West Michigan Area Show, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Photo Club Netanya, Natanya, Israel, April 10 - 30 2004: 49 image, one person show.
Signature Artist Cooperative Group Exhibit, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Three Rivers, MI. September, 2004
Riverfest Photo Contest, Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Kalamazoo, MI. (First Place).
Selected Nature Images, Transformations Spirituality Center,3427 Gull Road, Nazareth, MI.
The Cycle of the Seasons, 48 pieces solo exhibit. Glenn Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo, MI.
Inner Images Art Gallery, Kalamazoo, MI.
Art Fairs and Seasonal Gallery
Signature Artist's Cooperative Seasonal Gallery, Annual Seasonal Gallery, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Art Etc Art Fair, Kalamazoo Valley Community College Texas Township Campus, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008.
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