Experimentation is the key to learning, especially with off-camera flash. Today I decided to spend some time trying to replicate something I saw in a YouTube video by Bryan Peterson.
The thing to keep in mind here is that I knew how to use the flash. I knew that shutter speed controls the ambient light and aperture controls the amount of light from the flash. I knew about the inverse square law and how that affects the amount of light that makes it from the flash to the subject and how that light falls off. I knew all of this BUT I STILL HAD TO EXPERIMENT TO GET THE RESULT I WANTED.
I shot all these images in manual on both the camera and the flash. I was using a Canon 580EX (the first one not the II) and a Canon 7D and my 18-135 kit lens. I fired the flash with some cheap Cowboy Studio triggers from Amazon.
The gear didn't matter, what mattered was my desire to go out and experiment. I tried, failed, tried again, failed, tried some more, failed yet again, and kept going until I got the image I wanted.
Is it perfect, NO, but this is the first time I've done this. I want to try it now with different types of leaves, with the flash closer and further away. I want to use my macro lens so close focus is less of problem. I want to use a tripod and buy a pair of extra hands to hold the leaf. The possibilities are endless, but none of that matters if I don't get out and try.