I made this photograph back in November on the Saturday the presidential election results were announced. It was a long day of walking around Boston covering marches, celebrations and protests. It was getting late in the afternoon and I knew I already had a number of photographs, plus I still had to file the photographs to my agency, Polaris Images.
I was thinking, I should just walk back to studio to file the photographs, however if I just wait a bit longer, the daylight will begin to fade, the streets lights will come on and blue hour will begin. I always like making photographs during blue hour, whether I am covering news or making travel photographs.
When I cover news events, I don’t carry much equipment — two Nikon D850 cameras, one with a Tamron 17-35mm (B&H | Amazon) or a Tamron 24-70mm (B&H | Amazon), and one with a Tamron 100-400mm (B&H | Amazon) or a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (B&H | Amazon) lens.
I always have a sppedlight on one camera for flash fill, the Nissin MG80 (B&H | Amazon). It recycles fast and is incredibly accurate on exposure. In midday harsh light, I use it to fill in the shadows. I underexpose the flash by one stop, which fills in the shadows but doesn’t blow out the character of the available light. At blue hour, I use the flash to add some life and movement to my photograph.
The only other things I carry are an extra camera battery and a couple of memory cards.
Using flash fill
When using flash fill you want to add to the photograph, not over power it. By the time I made this flag photograph, the ambient had dropped, and the flash fill made the flag pop in the scene. My exposure was 1/15s, f/4 and ISO 100. This slow shutter speed makes the flag pop while giving the feeling of movement.
When creating a photo like this, I quickly take a meter reading off the sky using the in-camera meter. Now I have a perfect sky, but the flag and the people are going dark. The Nissin flash fills in the foreground.
This technique works great for portraits and model shoots.