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We Simplify The Technical!

In this episode of Understand Photography, Peggy Farren describes a fun project to do on a rainy day called fruit splash. It’s also a great exercise to really practice your off camera flash!

Supplies needed are:

  • Fish tank
  • Two black towels
  • Clips to hold the towel
  • Squeegee
  • Some colorful fruit.
  • Two flashes and shoes to hold them
  • Two sets of manual triggers
  • Black foam board for flags

Put one towel underneath the fish tank, and then clip the other one to the back of the fish tank because you need a black background. You’re going to need triggers. I’ll be using Cowboy Studio manual triggers. Just make sure they’re on the same channel. Be sure you’ve got batteries and be sure that they’re turned on.

Now the transmitter doesn’t need to be turned on, just the receiver. Then you put it on the shoes, just slide it in, and then screw it tight so that it doesn’t fall off. Then go over to your flash and put it in the manual mode. Determine the best settings, I’ll be using 1/16 power and then I’m going to use zoom to 105.

  • We do have a class called the four weeks to proficiency in photography that will teach you how to use your flash if you’re not familiar with it.

Once you have your settings right, put the flash onto the receiver. Push it all the way in, and then lock it. Then you’re going to put each flash on either side of the fish tank. You want to put them not very far away, maybe five, six inches, and right in the middle of the fish tank.

You’re going to splash, so protect your camera, I used a gallon zip lock bag. Move the flashes a little closer, so that the flag is actually touching the fish tank. Put the transmitter on top, on the hot shoe of the camera. Put your camera in the manual mode. Now the settings that we determined were best for us were ISO 100, 1/60 second for the shutter speed, and F11. You may need to tweak that, but that’s a good starting place.

splash photographyWe have a squeegee because you get bubbles inside of the fish tank. So have a squeegee available, so that you can get rid of the bubbles. You don’t want bubbles in the front of the glass. Position yourself low enough so that you’re shooting straight into the fish tank. And do a test to make sure that the flashes are firing. Your helper can drop the fruit for you. It’s going to take a few tries to get it exactly right. But it’s a lot of fun to keep going until you get the picture that you really hope for! 


~Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, author, instructor and speaker. She’s been interviewed and featured on TV and in many national and local publications.

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