I’m better when I experiment with tools & processes, I think. It’s more fun, anyway. I don’t necessarily make good pictures when I experiment (see below), but I have more fun. I do plenty of experimenting, sorta, but I don’t quite have the time I would like for it.

The (too brief) experiment here involved the Toshiba 312 flash, a gobo I made some time ago from some bit of packaging, two Cactus v5 triggers, and some roses and lilies we picked up for Eid.

About the flash itself, not much info is available: there are some pictures of the flash and its instructions; as of this writing there is some available on ebay;  apparently the 312 designation also applies to hearing aid-type batteries, a netbook, and a solid state hard drive. But no reviews or user experience discussions… maybe an opportunity?

This little flash is plenty powerful enough for the purpose to which it was put: handheld, mere inches from the subject, with a gobo thing I made from an empty cardboard something taped to the front. A larger discussion of the flash will have to wait (if it ever happens at all…). This post is about other things.

So here are a couple of pictures I made this week, of the aforementioned roses. Fair warning: I’m not particularly happy with either of them:

So I remember some time ago, back during the 365, I went out with this same lens (the Vivitar 70-200mm f/3.5 Series 1) and shot some neighborhood flowers with the pop-up flash. I may or may not have had this in mind when I pulled out the Toshiba 312 and the cactus triggers and went over to start flashing the roses.

What did come to mind was some training video I watched about cookies and flags and gobos (GOes Before Optics)some years ago. The photographer stuck plants and grid things and whatnot in between the flash and the subject, and I tried to do that with some of the leaves in the bouquet.

As a first try, this wasn’t bad, I guess. This shot has a little bit of some Jeff Koons paintings in it, mostly in that little bit of green stem poking out near bottom center, and a bit in the color:

It’s grown on me a tiny bit since I started this, but it looks like something I could’ve shot in 2012, as if my vision/technical ability haven’t developed much in the last two years.

And this other one is abysmal. Other than the off-camera light, there’s not much in here:


Maybe some of the color is interesting, maybe. At least there are some ideas to work with, maybe, and at least I can see the stagnation. Maybe this is the kick I need to start finding a way forward? Given the time I’m enjoying at work, I’ve been looking for other opportunities and ways to earn the rizq that Allah has ordained for me.

I considered microstock for about 12 minutes, but 1) I’m not sure I want to contribute to the cheapening of creative labor and 2) I don’t really shoot the subjects microstock requires in the way it requires. 1) is a problem, and is the reason I likely won’t extend my photography hobby into the stock world any time soon. 2) is an opportunity to learn some things, maybe.

So between experimentation and trying to learn how to shoot for specific purposes and writing the occasional in-depth review on some old piece of photographic equipment that never really made it to the internets, I think I have some things to keep me busy for awhile.

Alhamdulillah.D7000. Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Series 1 (Kiron, probably). ISO100, 1/200th, f/5.6, with the Toshiba 312 flash, handheld, off camera.

*this last one is the most popular: my review of the Tokina AT-X 35-200 f/3.5-4.5 drives the vast majority of the traffic to this site, far more than do these general posts, regardless of how verbose or succinct they are.

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