Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fuji X-T2 and X-Pro2 with flash on a snowy day

It snowed all day in the city yesterday and into the night. The falling snow was dense and constant, but didn't leave much accumulation. I wanted to show the density of the falling show so I mounted a flash on my Fuji X-T2 and X-Pro2 and used different zooms throughout the day and into the night.

The trick to using this kind of light is to balance out the camera exposure for the scene with the flash exposure on the snow flakes. I used the flash in manual mode and determined the best exposure with some trial shots. The choice of aperture did more than determine exposure, it also defined the size of the bright snowflakes. The more open the aperture the larger the flakes appear due to the bokeh effect of a lens. For these photos I varied the aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, changing it to sync with the focal length I was using on the zoom. In general, f/4 gave me the best results. Anything more stopped down made the flakes too small.

I began shooting with the X-T2, but half way thorough the day I tripped and fell on the slippery snow and the camera suffered sever impact damage and ceased to work. The fall also destroy the flash and caused some scraping on the lens. Fortunately, the flash I broke was a Yongnuo and not one of my really expensive Nikon flash units. 

On my next outing I switched over to an X-Pro2. I really prefer outdoor shooting with this camera except for one factor. A tilting screen would make it a lot easier to achieve some very low, off the ground angles. 

In this image I wanted to intensify the amount of snow so I opened up the 18-135mm zoom lens to maximum aperture at a focal length of 24mm, set the ISO to 640, shutter to 1/60 second, and used full power on the flash.

My flash power varied from full down to 1/16 depending upon the time of day and brightness of the scene. During the brightest part of the day I needed full or half power to fully light the snow flakes against the background. By the time I took the night shot below, I had switched down the 1/16 power.

Mostly I used my ISO to control the overall exposure balance. It varied between 200-800 depending upon the amount of contrast I needed between the white snow and background scene. Once I established a base exposure for each scene, I made changes based on trial and error trying to balance out the size and contrast of the falling snow against the background scene. Each time I changed by zoom focal length this balance also changed.

By the time I took the dusk photo below my exposure had fallen to 1/15 second, f/4.5 at 11mm on the Fuji 10-24mm zoom, an ISO of 800, and flash power of 1/16 on a Nikon SB-900.


  1. Tom...
    Your blog is one that I keep up with at least weekly. In my view, it's one of the best. I love your city. I admire your work.
    I hope the fall that damaged camera and flash did little or no damage to the photographer.

  2. Thank you, Mar. I appreciate the comments and concern. - Tom

  3. Tom,
    Thanks for a really informative post and unusual images. Describing the way you worked thru the day is fascinating - the successes and the falls! Hope the scrapes and bruises are healing.