David Hobby of Strobist has been banging on about “on axis fill” for a while and I finally remembered I wanted to play with the idea a little when I was in a situation that might warrant it. That situation came up last Saturday when I was looking at my sleeping son Josh.
Last Saturday was a cold January day in London and we were comfortably warm and inside at the time. There was no sun to be seen. But I thought I would try and create some sunlight and use on axis fill to balance it with. “On axis” is a fancy way of saying that the fill light was coming from pretty much the same point of view as the lens. I was in fact using the on camera flash.
I was also using an SB-24 as the “direct sunlight”. This was gridded and snooted and placed a few yards away at camera right and was pointing at his face. I don’t remember the power setting but it was probably around 1/4.
I wanted to shoot with a fairly open lens which was set at f5.6 and I established the exposure for that aperture was 1/25sec at iso 200. Then I just shot away adjusting the on camera fill flash from -2
up to plus 2
and several stages in between. The difference in mood is striking. In the end I prefered the first setting (top picture) in this situation. The degree of fine tuning possible is really good and I am very happy with this first experiment. I used the same technique in the earlier post on Alex though I wasn’t going for a naturally lit looking shot there.