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Wintertime in Alaska is often dark and cold, with no sign of bare dirt for months. That doesn’t stop us from riding bikes, though—we just bundle up and use bigger tires. It’s the same with photography. Winter adds significant challenges for shooting action, and in order to deal with it, we just bundle up and use bigger lights.
Why do certain photographs appeal to us so much while others do little to spark our interest? Sometimes it has to do with our emotional connection to the subject matter, but more often it has to do with human evolution and the way that we see.
Light that comes into a scene off-axis from the camera view will ALWAYS look more dynamic, interesting and pleasing. It looks more three-dimensional, and it creates shadows on textures, shapes and form that enhance the visual appeal of the image.
And aside from that, using the flash off-camera prevents red eye and that horrible “deer in the headlights’ look that straight-on flash usually gives. You probably already know all this, though.
Of course, the main issue with using off-camera flashes is how to trigger them. Essentially, there are five different ways to trigger a remote lighting unit:
From the very first time we pick up our cameras, we discover the importance of focusing on the main subject. It’s one of those intuitive bedrock foundations of Photo 101 and it becomes ingrained in our brains as an essential rule that we live by for the rest of our lives. Specifically, we learn that when shooting people or animals, we generally want to land the point of sharp focus right on the eyes.