I know many nature photographers who don’t like to use flash. Their biggest concern; the shot looks ‘flashed’. Beautiful nature photography is all about gorgeous natural light. But what if you could create your own gorgeous natural light? When I first started out, I loved natural light and wasn’t interested in flash…until I could see how it vastly improved many of my images. So if you are not into flash in nature, here is one technique that might get your attention.
I like to add a splash of light to small scenes like flowers, forest floors, mushrooms. To do this you need a speedlight you can shoot off camera. Many Nikon cameras have a popup flash that can work as a master controller and trigger your speedlight off camera. I like to use my wireless Nikon transmitter, the SU800. Next, attach a full CTO gel to the front of your flash. Rogue makes a great set of precut gels to fit on your speed light. Full CTO is orange and resembles sunlight. Finally, attach a snoot to your flash. I use the Rogue FlashBender. Pinch down the opening of the snoot so only a small shaft of ‘sun’ comes out.
With your flash set in Remote mode, and your transmitter set to TTL, just place the flash to the side of your scene and shoot. Generally TTL flash will be right on the mark for exposure. I set up my camera on a tripod and use the self timer. This allows me to hold the flash to the side of my scene and make quick adjustments to the angle of light until I get my shot.