Daily Archives August 5, 2020

What the Flash?

I am not a newcomer to photography or photographic education, but I am new to the KelbyOne family. I’m honored to be among many of my photographic heroes. My goal is that after you read this blog post, you will be motivated to join me on the journey and exploration of lighting.

Light is at the core of our creative practice; without light, it would be impossible to create photographs. Although with the advanced technology of today’s cutting edge cameras, you can make a picture by moonlight, not all light is good light. I photograph people, and I strive to capture them in their best light, both figuratively and literally.

Off-camera flash, in particular, Speedlites, is my tool of choice. The power and possibilities of off-camera flash allow me to overcome many of the challenging “What the Flash” situations I often find myself in. I never want to be a victim of poor available light!

Let us begin with a little background; I started my career as a photojournalist way back in high school while working on the school newspaper. I freelanced for a string of weekly community newspapers selling photographs of our football team, which happened to be in the running for the state championship. Once I learned, I could make a living as a photojournalist. I set my sights on the Chicago Sun-Times.

I reached my goal in 1983, and I’ve been a working photographer ever since.  My cameras have been a passport to the world. I have been fortunate enough to photograph every President since Ronald Reagan. I have been fired by President Trump and captured the pinnacle moments of  Michael Jordan’s basketball career with The Chicago Bulls.  

I left the news industry in 2004. Burned out on bad news, I embarked on the second act of my photographic career starting our wedding, portrait, and event studio. After a large commissioned project for Oprah, The Legends Event, my wife and partner Dawn Davis joined me in this creative endeavor forming Bob and Dawn Davis Photography and Design.

Dawn is not a photographer, but she is the glue that keeps everything together, and I would not enjoy the success I have without her. She has that rare ability of the left brain, right brain. Dawn was an accountant with a passion for graphic design and postproduction.

I think of us like Elton John and Bernie Taupin. They create their music in two rooms, Bernie writes the lyrics and Elton writes the music. I can see the photograph before I press the shutter, in my mind, I see all the elements coming together, composition the moments unfolding, and the light. I am a seeker of light. Dawn sees how the image can reach its full potential with a timeless classic look, and knows Lightroom and Photoshop the same way I know lighting. Together we have created our brand and style. To this day, we pinch ourselves and do the happy dance each time we receive a request to photograph someone’s most special day. We are blessed to work with A-list celebrities, athletes, and people who love photography.

Let us explore the power and possibilities of off-camera flash. The photographs I’m going to share are from the engagement session of Lauren and Ryan.

Time: 5:48:46 PM
Model: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Lens (mm): 142
ISO: 200
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/200

The couple envisioned a romantic scene as the sunset over this lily pond in Chicago. I don’t always have the luxury of shooting during golden-hour, I have to work around my client’s schedule. On this particular day, the skies were gray, and the rain was coming.

One of my core beliefs is always to be prepared. I packed the Think Tank Photo FirstLight 40L backpack with the following:

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