Sunday, 24 October 2010

Tonight in my Backyard: Ray Flash, Ringflash

Tonight in my backyard.....
The frogs are croaking loudly and what else is one to do, but have a little play.

I found this little fellow close to my back door and decided to put the Ray Flash through a few paces.

The Ray Flash ring adapter is a flash light modifier that turns your flash gun into a ring flash. Now, I have never been a fan of ring flash – yes it has its place in dental, medical and some fashion fields, however I have generally found the frontal lighting of ring flash to decrease texture of the subject.

And again I found this so tonight. The other glaring disadvantage of using ring flash is the reflection of the ring flash itself in the subject’s eye.

While the design of Ray Flash unit is quite complex, it does an impressive job of loosing just one stop of light – this can be seen either as a disadvantage or an advantage depending on the field you are working in. It acts merely as a reflector and changing the quality of light always comes at a price of light loss and reduced shooting range.

Some of the benefits of working with it included allowing me to get in close, between the fronds, so I was working the minimum focusing distance of the 105mm macro lens while no matter what, due to terrain I could not set up a flash/s to emit side lighting.

Another great benefit of being an adapter to a modern flash is to be able to work with TTL systems. As many other flash light modifiers, Ray Flash does not affect the TTL metering, so you can, if you prefer, enjoy the convenience of the modern technology of TTL. I prefer to do my flash work manually. Why in macro? For two reasons, I want my whites, white and my blacks black and by controlling my aperture I can also control how much of my subject is sharp plus the flash output.

Another advantage of the Ray Flash is it is colour neutral and does not change white balance.

The overall opinion: An exciting tool in budget. Great for creating a unique look specific to fashion photography, works great as a shadowless fill light in the same situation.

Still to be proved for macro images as the drop off for night photography is far too evident and frontal light continues to decrease texture and exaggerate highlights. If it’s not a main tool in your kit and just used to grab that moment, then maybe a worthy investment as cheap.

Did you know:
The ‘backyard’ to Bluedog studio is the oldest National Park in Queensland and the third oldest in the world! A unique environment indeed! To see more on what to do when visiting Tamborine Mountain visit:

Image by Danielle Lancaster (c) 2010

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