My favorite time to light paint is usually 20 minutes after sunset, but what to do while waiting for it to get dark enough to light paint? In my case flash is sometimes the answer. During our recent trip to Carrie Furnace we started losing light about 45 minutes prior to sunset. It was not dark enough to light paint because we could not expose for more than a couple seconds. Unfortunately for me not everything I need during a shoot will fit in one bag, so I ran back to the car and grabbed my bag of speed lights and accessories.
I must admit it took a few minutes to get back in the groove, since I can’t remember the last time I used flash. But it was like learning to ride a bike after a few minutes and a few test shots. In the photo above I combined 5 different images, each taken with one flash lighting a certain aspect of the composition. I use the Nikon Commander on my camera body and hand hold the flash. The general settings are usually 1 stop underexposed for the flash. I use the self-timer and rear curtain sync to be in position when the camera clicks.
We are in the planning stages of setting up a new date for Carrie Furnace next May. Be sure to join our Road Runner Photography Meetup to get notification of when the date is announced.