It’s often said that we are our harshest critics. This rings especially true in the bustling photo department at the Enterprise, where, if I’m honest, I sometimes feel like the most self-critical of all. In my role as a general news photographer for a local newspaper based on Cape Cod, I navigate a wide spectrum of photo assignments. On any given day, my lens might focus on high school sports, gleaming jewelry for local advertisements, or town politicians embroiled in the middle of a heated debate. There are days when I feel a thrilling sense of accomplishment, knowing I’ve nailed the shot. Conversely, there are times when it’s difficult to muster confidence when handing over the day’s work to the editor.
One of the most challenging aspects of news photography is grappling with unpredictable lighting conditions. Unlike commercial photography, which often enjoys the luxury of well-lit sets and an army of assistants, news photography requires a degree of adaptability. Armed only with an assignment slip, my camera, and the mercy of available light, I’ve often felt at the mercy of circumstance. Or at least, I did until I discovered www.Strobist.com.
This enlightening blog, authored by David Hobby, a staff photographer for the Baltimore Sun, has empowered me to regain some control over my shots by championing the use of off-camera lighting. By employing small, radio-fired strobes, Hobby offers news photographers like myself a fresh approach to lighting that injects a touch of commercial quality into our work. As a leading voice in the blogosphere for photo enthusiasts and amateurs alike, Strobist has served as a beacon in my journey, illuminating the path toward a new realm of photographic possibilities.
The photograph was enhanced using off-camera flash — specifically, a Vivitar 285 HV paired with a Pocket Wizard — positioned to the right of the camera. This setup effectively filled in the left side of the subject’s face, which was facing the late afternoon sun. Without the strategic use of the flash, the subject’s face would have been marred by stark shadows. However, with a thoughtful application of fill light, this issue was effortlessly resolved.