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The 5th annual Marin Humane Society fundraiser Woofstock 2013 was a huge success with the largest turnout yet. Not only did a record number of people enjoy the wonderful entertainment and food, thirty-seven animals found forever homes during the adoption fee waived event. A kids area, including a Blue bounce house, kept the little ones entertained, while music from The Sorentinos and Rudy Colombini and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones kept everyone entertained. While a previous commitment earlier in the day kept me from seeing The Sorentinos, I was there in plenty of time to catch Rudy and the rest of the band in one of the best tributes to Mick Jagger and the real Rolling Stones.

Outdoor photography can pose some minor trouble with regards to shadows and lighting. These troubles can easily be overcome by the use of a fill flash. In a fluid shooting situation, I usually use a camera mounted Speedlite with a setting of EV -1. This will put out the proper amount of light to fill in the shadows and bring out the details with a natural look to the image. However, this lighting on the particular afternoon proved to be a bit more complex than most typical outdoor shooting. The stage had a couple of large trees beside it that resulted in part of the stage being in total shadows, part of the stage still being in the sun, and part of the stage covered with sunlight filtering through the trees. Throw in the fact that to get shots from certain angles I was more than 100 feet from the state, I was constantly checking my settings to get the best shot possible. At times I even skipped the flash and went solely with available lighting.

Being a significant distance from the subject will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the flash, to where at times I would push the flash to EV +2. Upping the ISO setting will also allow the light from the flash to be more effective. Just keep in mind that if you are shooing in Aperture Priority (as I was), this can push the shutter speed above the normal flash sync speed. So, be certain to set your camera to ‘High Speed Sync’ to keep from having troubles. Shooting in ‘Aperture Priority’ keeps the aperture where I set it, usually wide open or within a stop or so of being wide open. This allows me to separate the subject from the foreground and background by throwing those two out of focus while keeping the subject in focus.

If you have never used a flash outdoors, you should give it a try. Grab your camera, a speedlite, and your favorite model to shoot and head out. I would recommend starting with the following settings: Camera metering to ETTL, use high speed sync (if needed), , flash set to EV -1, aperture priority with lens f/stop set to widest possible (smallest number). Try shooting with sun at different angles to the subject, front lit, back lit, and side lit to see what the different results look light. Mix it up a bit by shooting both in the midday sun and also at either in the morning or evening with the sun close to the horizon. And, don’t forget to shoot with the subject in the shade with the background in the sunlight.

I hope you enjoy my shots from Woofstock 2013. Check with your local Humane Society office to see when their next event will be and don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets!


For more information about the Marin Humane Society and Woofstock 2013, please click on the link below.


For more information about Rudy Colombini and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones, please click on the following link.


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