How Charlie Borland got this great shot at Joshua Tree
This camping shot at Joshua Tree is a prime example of how flash can make the magic happen.
Flash and the PocketWizard — A Match Made in Heaven
Charlie Borland: When I took this shot, I was actually camping here in the campsite next door. There was nobody camping in this one.
Every time I’m on the road, I carry a yellow dome tent in my vehicle. I also bring a number of flash units and I have wireless triggers for them. PocketWizardis one that I use, and other equipment that will fire a flash at a distance, away from the camera. I have done this many, many times.
Here I just set up a tent in what I considered to be a very scenic spot. I put the flash in there and hooked the PocketWizard up to it. Then I put the camera on a tripod and started doing test exposures, getting the perfect tent exposure, and then working on the shutter speed to get the perfect available light or ambient light (or, as we call it, exposure).
It’s really two exposures. You have a flash exposure and you have an ambient light exposure. F-stop controls the flash exposure in the tent, and the shutter speed controls the available outdoor light or, as I refer to it, ambient light. You juggle these back and forth until you get a great combination. (click the image for a larger version)
A technique that I’ve used many, many, many times is remote flash to light up a tent, to light up cracked rock, or somebody sitting out there on the riverbank reading a book. I’ll put a flash inside their book so the camera doesn’t see it but it lights their face up using this wireless triggering technology. It works very, very well.
How can you get such amazing ambience in your photos? Use remote flash technology. That’s what Charlie Borland did in this amazing camping site shot at Joshua Tree.