--- From Left to Right: Kobe Sportswear Executives Ryan Donnan and Will Chen with Ron MacLean ---
Must be in a nostalgic mood, today I am showing some shots from an event on December 14, 2008. This was the Canadian Women's Hockey League All-Stars vs the NHL Alumni game played in (the former) Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
Today while checking my equipment I was looking at the remains of my venerable old Metz 60 CT-2 Flashgun which "gave up the ghost" last year after years of great service. Although flash on camera has often been considered less than desirable by some, there are many times when it is the only solution for professional photography. This particular venue was very dark before the game when I took some of these photos with my Metz "potato masher", and the ambient arena light had a distinct yellow cast (which I have colour-corrected). I therefore decided not to "drag the shutter" and accordingly allow the background to go dark or at least subdued in brightness as it was only a distraction most of the time.
On-camera flash, being daylight balanced, can clean up any undesirable colour casts from ambient light on the subject and therefore render accurate colour, and is also many times a flattering light, being on the lens axis or very close to it. So the "flat" lighting charge against it is perhaps overdone, especially when there is nothing available around to bounce the flash off of. I love many of the shots I have taken in the past with on-camera flash! That said, if I can bounce it, I usually will go that route, which is a great way to get beautiful flash lighting from a small source. Shooting in raw mode which I do almost exclusively, allows me to bounce flash off of almost anything, and correct the colour balance later in post. In this particular situation, there were no harsh shadows as they were hidden by the dark background or mostly washed out on the white ice. Finally with these types of events, there is no time to set up more elaborate flash lighting.