After the Rain.

Mar 18, 2008
Miami, Florida, USA.
We had a brisk shower this afternoon here in Miami, a welcome sign of relief since we have not seen rain in sometime.

These flowers grow in our backyard and I took a look at them immediately after the rain and seeing the water droplets on the flowers I realized they could make for a beautiful subject. I began to plan how to make them "pop" in the soft, diffuse light. Flash was the answer.

For those of you new to flash, using flash means using two exposures, one for the ambient light and another for the flash. When using flash combined with ambient light I prefer to cut the light from the flash 1.7 stops to make it less intense while acting as fill-in. I metered the ambient light and also cut the exposure by 1 stop. That surely darken the background and made the flowers pop.

The background was approximately 12 feet away from the flowers so I knew the light fall off will make it unobtrusive, exactly the effect I was looking for.

Technical data:
The file was an original RAW, edited with Capture NX2. I used Topaz Adjust 5 with a conservative pre-set that made the flowers as natural as they look.
I used slight saturation and sharpening while retouching some bright spots that were acting as a distraction.

Camera: D2H set to ISO 400.
Lens: 28-105 AF-D Nikkor set to f8, 105mm focal length in "macro" function.
Metering: Center weighted.
Flash: SB 600 set to TTL. I used the flash with an extension cord.
Tripod: Metal Gitzo with Linhof ballhead.

I have an excellent 105mm f4 AIS Micro Nikkor which is razor sharp and instead I find myself using the 28-105 AF-D often for "macro" shots. The lens is well built, sharp and convenient.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
Dec 17, 2008
Near Philly
Very well done shot. Did you take the plant inside against a black background?


I lived in Coconut Grove in the late 80's.
What's it like now?
Mar 18, 2008
Miami, Florida, USA.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
Good question Sam. I did not take the plant inside.
Look at my technical explanations and notice that I cut down the ambient exposure by 1 stop. That only influences the ambient exposure and makes the background darker.
Since I was using Center Weighted metering, 6% weighted, the exposure concentrated on the flowers, partially illuminated by sidelighting. That had an influence in the darker background and since I have cut the exposure by1 stop then I made it darker.
I used TTL with one purpose and it was to make sure that the flash would illuminate the subject without caring for the background. Since I cut flash exposure by 1.7 stop I reduced the amount of light reaching the flowers to make them look more natural.
The background was like 10-12 feet away from the flower so I knew light fall off will contribute to keep the background dark.
Perhaps my explanation is too technical but I can assure you that anyone with basic understanding of flash photography can do it in a blink of an eye.
On regard to Coconut Grove Sam it is more beautiful than ever. Lots have happened since you saw it the last time.

Oct 4, 2012
I appreciate the technical stuff, and I think its excelent comp.
Only thing I find a bit distracting is the white/burn, imho, 200 iso would have been better.
But I am a beginner so I often get things wrong, -o)
Thanks for sharing
May 23, 2010
Massachusetts: North Shore
/Nice image. and nice job with the Topaz, thats easy to over do and you made it really natural.

I am still struggling with my SB900 and flowers, so I appreciated the exiff. :smile:
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