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Tiny flower: How to use a flash with macro using the Nikon D80

Lenny La Rue, IPA

Sacramento, United States

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One tiny flower being flashed by a stranger in the park. LMAO!

When you’re shooting macro, one of the most most important issues is getting the natural or pre-set lighting correct. Most of the time, a camera will automatically choose not to flash when using a macro preset, both ‘pocket rockets’ as well as DSLR’s. If the lighting isn’t right, you either spend time trying to fix it in editing or scrub the shot. The Nikon D80 gives you a wonderful additional option that may revitalize macro shooting for people who have switched to DSLR exclusively or don’t have a point-and-shoot (“pocket rocket”, to me) camera. Here’s the trick.

Set the camera for MANUAL (M) and stop freaking out that you’ve never done it before. This minor tutorial will get you past that fear quickly. :-) Go to the CUSTOM SETTINGS MENU and set the CENTER AF AREA for NORMAL, turn the AF-ASSIST to ON, set the ISO AUTO to OFF, and go to the BUILT-IN FLASH setting. Select it, choose MANUAL and select the options arrow (to the right). Here’s the trick. The camera defaults to FULL POWER, which means the flash acts like any flash and just ‘goes off’ then you shoot using the flash. But here you have the option of FULL POWER or 7 less “bright” options. Those options are the key to shooting macro with a flash. You can pick one at random, select it (say OK), and take the shot. Look at it in the IMAGE REVIEW and see if it’s too dark or too light. If it’s too light you can turn down the flash intensity by going back to the BUILT-IN FLASH and choosing a higher fraction, such as change from 1/2 to 1/4.

If it’s too dark, you can change your ISO setting (4th button on the left side of the back of the camera and turning the dial that makes the number change higher) or slow down your shutter speed (on the top display, the number to the left needs to be lower), or change the f-stop (the number on the top display with the “F” after it) to a higher number. If none work well enough, OFFSET button (on the top of the camera, to the top right, with the ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ signs) by pressing that button and making the numbers go higher by turning a dial. If your shot is too dark, do the same things in reverse, such as make the shutter speed lower, the f-stop number lower, or the OFFSET higher on the “+” side.

Not sure where to start with the MANUAL option? Use the AUTO option, read and remember the numbers the camera chooses, and use those. After all, the camera is trying to work FOR you on AUTO. Still completely confused, email me (see my profile page) send me a BubbleMail and wait for me to wade thru all the stuff I get sent every day, or start making guesses based upon the things you know and the things you learned while trying. Odds are you’ll be using a flash on things less than 4 inches from your D80 soon!

The nitty-gritty details for all who care or simply must know:
Nikon D80
Exposure: 1/200
Exposure bias: -1
Focal length: 55mm
Metering: center Weighted Average
Contrast (creative setting): normal
Exposure program: manual
Saturation: normal
Sharpness: normal
White balance: auto
No flowers were harmed in the taking of this shot.
Corel PaintShop Pro XI enlarged it for Red Bubble sales options.
I am not a Nikon employee nor is anyone I know a Nikon employee and there was no compensation or endorsement given by Nikon Corp.
I’m right handed.
Location was Capitol Park, Sacramento, CA, USA, Northern Hemisphere, earth
I do not now nor have even used or tested positive for steroids.
No tripod was used.
Shot taken at 2:22pm, Sunday, December 28th.
Fingernail used was my pinky on my left hand and yes, the nail is too long for accurate performance with musical keyboard instruments. I’ll cut it before the next gig.
A minor amount of Bacardi 151 was consumed during the writing of this post.
A Toshiba Satellite laptop was used to upload using Frys dial-up service.
Yes, I know this is painfully stupid but nobody reads most of this stiff anyway.
I’m giving away a $250,000 Bentley automobile to anyone who reads this far.
And anyone who reads THIS far is too nutty to know the last offer was complete cheek-in-tongue.
Yes, I know a screwed up that colloquialism; I did it intentionally.
Red Bubble rocks!
Frank Zappa rocks (or he did before assuming room temperature)!
Canon cameras suck.
No, I don’t know squat about Canon cameras but Nikon rules anyway.
Good night.

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Artwork Comments

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