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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Flash bounce with mirrors?

    I was just sitting in my non photography class today and the idea popped into my head. I know with flash bounce you're supposed to use a white wall to diffuse the light.

    But what happens if the ceiling or all behind/side of you is a mirror? Will it make the light even harsher or appear more directional like light from a window?

    I'm going to a wedding soon (not as the actual photographer) and I was just wondering what would happen in that scenario.
    Tim
    Canon 5D Mark II, 1D Mark II, Rebel XS
    50 F1.4, 85 F1.8, 100 2.8 Macro 70-200 F4L 580EX, 24-70 F2.8L

  2. #2
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    Mar 2006
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    Bump... anyone?
    Tim
    Canon 5D Mark II, 1D Mark II, Rebel XS
    50 F1.4, 85 F1.8, 100 2.8 Macro 70-200 F4L 580EX, 24-70 F2.8L

  3. #3
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    Bouncing into a mirror is really bad. It's about as bad as, if not worse than, direct flash. I hate mirrors and the whore wedding's walls were covered in 'em

    The actual reason being that when you fire the light into the mirror, it throws it right back exactly as harsh as it was when it hit it...ie reflection. With a wall, it hits it and is spread out...ie diffusion.

  4. #4
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    I will post a guess ... make that hypothisis.

    Only consider what light will reach your subject, and from where, and the quality of that light (from a spread out source such as wall surface or single source such as a flash - and how harsh ie: diffuser or not).

    1. Light coming directly from flash will be non-diffused and will decrease if pointed 45 degrees up no matter if that extra light gets bounced to the subject or not. If you have a diffuser, it will depend on the type and what angle it's designed for.

    2. Extra light will "bounce" off of diffusive or reflective sources such as mirrors, white objects or surfaces, etc. Of course, a flat surface will be more directional and more of that light will actually get to the subject.

    3. If you bounce into a mirror, then that reflection will be nearly as intense, however the direction will be like a billiard ball so it depends upon how/where it's sent. Here is where my hypothisis slips back to the "guess" category.

    Edit (explained more)
    If the flash were a laser, it would be easy. No extra light would be diffused from the mirror. However; the beem of light going off the mirror will still have the same effect on the arrival point as if the mirror were not there and you were standing that distance beyond the mirror (imaginary positioning of a second flash about 15' above the ceiling, but there is no ceiling, pointed to where the billiard-ball-like angles would put you. This second light source would be compounded to your direct lighting. Make sense?

    Anyway, just my guess. Don't really know.

    The obvious answer, of course, find a mirror and start experimenting. Let us know what you discover!
    Last edited by Vich; 07-14-2006 at 11:35 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah Vich brings up a good point. Depending on the angle, bouncing into a mirror can either be bad (if it comes back directly to the subject)....or pointless (if it's bounced at an angle and goes off into nowhereland).

    Bouncing off a wall can either be good (if the angle is good and/or the room is small enough)....or pointless (if the room is too large and it goes off into nowhereland).
    Last edited by cdifoto; 07-14-2006 at 11:16 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdi-buy.com
    Yeah Vich brings up a good point. Depending on the angle, bouncing into a mirror can either be bad (if it comes back directly to the subject)....or pointless (if it's bounced at an angle and goes off into nowhereland).

    Bouncing off a wall can either be good (if the angle is good and/or the room is small enough)....or pointless (if the room is too large and it goes off into nowhereland).
    I edited my post.

    I'm thinking this:

    The flash diffuses light as it comes from the flash in a lens like fashion. You'll see that flash from anywhere in the room, but will decrease exponentially until you're actually standing behind the flash, then you just see reflections.

    Same for the mirror.

    The net effect will be just (precisely) like having a second flash standing at a distance behind the mirror, but imagine the mirror not there (open ceiling or wall). The imaginary flash will be pointed at the spot where your angling ends. So if your flash were pointed straight up, then the imaginary flash will be directly above you, pointed straight down, from double the height of the mirrored ceiling. So as long as you angle it up and away from your subject, it will be like having 2 less intense flashes. With practice, it could be a benifit, but I think it will be easy to just double the flash-burn spots.

    If you're using a diffuser, then the reflection from the ceiling will be less intense, but I'm not sure if its the same as having a diffuser on this imaginary flash behind the twilight-zone ceiling. Hmmm.
    Last edited by Vich; 07-14-2006 at 11:48 AM.
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  7. #7
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    If the flash going into the mirror is direct enough to bounce and hit the ceiling anyway, it could be beneficial. Otherwise just a nuisance. Trust me. I shot in a room full of mirrors and it sucked. I ended up just throwing on the Stofen Omnibounce and doing the 60 degree thing (my Sigma didn't have the recommended 45 degree angle).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdi-buy.com
    If the flash going into the mirror is direct enough to bounce and hit the ceiling anyway, it could be beneficial. Otherwise just a nuisance. Trust me. I shot in a room full of mirrors and it sucked. I ended up just throwing on the Stofen Omnibounce and doing the 60 degree thing (my Sigma didn't have the recommended 45 degree angle).
    I think he said the ceiling has mirrors, as well as walls.

    I agree. Mirrors do nothing but throw you off and occassionally ruin a shot by being able to see your own reflection (or at least impose PP necessity).
    Last edited by Vich; 07-15-2006 at 09:06 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Well he said walls and/or ceiling. But it doesn't matter. The ceiling wasn't mirrored where I was so I bounced with the Stofen. If there were mirrors on the walls too then screwit...direct flash it'd be. That's the only way to get reliable flash exposures. I might have even had to go full manual with the flash too if the flash was hitting the mirrors and throwing off exposures. It was far too dark to go without flash at all.

    There does come a time when you say "fuggit" and live with harsh shadows.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    So basically if the ceiling has mirrors, i'm best off with direct flash and maybe the bounce card?

    If the walls are all mirrored I guess thats the time to bust out my 50 1.4 then
    Tim
    Canon 5D Mark II, 1D Mark II, Rebel XS
    50 F1.4, 85 F1.8, 100 2.8 Macro 70-200 F4L 580EX, 24-70 F2.8L

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