I finally got a chance to play with my third flash today. An original Retra Flash, the exact same model as the pair I already have. I’m very pleased with them. The third one I bought second hand, to use for off-camera lighting and snoot photography. It will also be my back up if one of the others fail.
So why use a third flash for off-camera lighting?
For me, the lighting makes or breaks an image. I want to have my camera ready with a pair of flashes connected always. With a dedicated off-camera flash I only need to decide if I want to bring it on the dive or not. My camera rig stays the same with a pair of flashes, ready for everything else I may encounter that doesn’t involve off-camera lighting.
Another reason is that I find it really convenient. I use electronic cables for my pair, and they are always connected. I only take them off when travelling, or for inspecting the o-rings every now and then. With a third flash, I don’t have to remove the cable and blind the connectors every time I want to use a flash off-camera. Yes, I’m lazy.
Off-camera lighting brings a lot of creative possibilities. Think about blending light. Ambient light, on- and off-camera flashlight. Add a snoot, and light the main subject with a focused beam. Shadows. The classic dark background effect.
Today I shot wide-angle, with the Nikon 8-15mm behind a 4” mini-dome. On my previous attempts, it was difficult to keep the flash in position in currents and swell. So I wrapped the tripod legs in sheets of lead. The tripod weighs in on 1,4 kg and is now stable.
I didn’t make any efforts to hide the off-camera flash on this first dive. Today was all about play, trial and error. And it was a lot of fun!
I haven’t spent much time on post-processing these images, but hopefully, they serve the purpose – giving you a glimpse of what off-camera lighting can do underwater. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey.