Fumbling in the dark: Trying to learn manual flash photography

While I started with interchangeable lens camera 9 years ago with the Nikon D70s, it was only this year that I had gotten myself an external flash.

And I am kicking myself for it.

Like many, my initial perception of flash photography was formed by looking at pictures taken with tiny, built-in flash. Whether the camera itself is a point-and-shoot, SLR or camera phone, the result is the same harsh and unflattering exposure. I preferred the slightly darker and grainy pictures with no flash almost every time.

That changed in the past 8 months.

Since getting myself the Panasonic GX7 last Christmas, my interest in photography had increased. I got curious about flash again. I read that bouncing flash off ceiling and wall helps diffuse the light, and even tried it on the built-in flash on the GX7, which can be tilted up. But it wasn't much better.

Mulling real estate photography with Yongnuo YN-560 III and the new YN-560TX

In a few months, we will be moving to a new house. While I am not looking forward to the actual transporting of stuffs, there is an aspect of it which I am about: Taking picture of the current condo for listing.

I have started to use an Olympus FL-600R flash with my Panasonic GX7--my first external flash--and had been happy with the results. But I know real estate photography is a whole new ball game.

After hearing about Scott Hargis's The Essential Guide to Lighting Interiors, I decided to get the ebook for 2 reasons. First, it looks to be easy enough to follow for a newcomer. Second, the approach taken in the book relies on a few small flashes, rather than larger lightings. 

Will Fuji match MFT comprehensive lens range in 2014?

I have been very happy with Micro Four Thirds, especially with the extensive range and quality of lenses available to the system. The other mirrorless systems like Fuji X mount, Sony E and FE mount, or Nikon 1 had not come close on the lens range.

But Fuji is working very hard lately to change that. They are putting out quality lenses on a rapid pace, and with good strategy. In tandem with my continued admiration for the Fuji look, better ISO noise control, and JPG quality, this had me sat down yesterday and assess how Fuji lens range is panning out.

This assessment is to satisfy my own curiousity, so I am approaching this questions based on how I might be able to replace my current MFT lenses with somewhat equivalent X lenses. While this comprehensive list shows more than 50 lenses for MFT, the ones that matter most to me are these following 3 primes and 2 zooms, starting with..

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8

My micro four third kit has gone through continuous expansion and contraction, but it has started with one camera and one lens. Panasonic GF2 and the 14/f2.5 lens. I had shot with this lens exclusively for 11 months. I actually went on holiday to Japan for a week with this kit. The 28mm equivalent focal length feels natural to me.

After picking up the acclaimed Panasonic Leica 25/1.4 for the faster maximum aperture, I have always struggled with the 50mm equivalent focal length. It may be considered the normal field of view, but I found it either too short or too long most of the time.

2 R courses on Coursera

If you work in data analysis, you should definitely pick up on R or at least give it a try. Once you have decided to learn R (and why wouldn't you?) these 2 upcoming Coursera courses can help put you on your path. These starts in September and October and will require 3-5 hours per week. Videos below might help you decide if these are of your interest.