Last night I used my new Vivitar 285HV Flashes for the first time in anger.

I set out with Rich for whom I’m currently working on a website. He buys and sells tasty but affordable motors, and I take the opportunity to take pictures of them. We made our way to a pitch black industrial estate, and after convincing the security guard not to “release the hounds” and that we weren’t there to instigate a terrorist plot against a double glazing company, I set up my gear.

Inexpert clumsy fumbling in the dark is my forte (just ask my Wife), and last night was no exception. Note to self – buy a torch.

The next lesson was a more painful one. When trying to work out if the remote flashes are firing, staring directly into them is not a good idea. MY EYES!!!!

I had in mind two images I wanted to create, and although I struggled a bit in this first one getting the lighting even, I got there in the end. This was shot with the two Vivitars off camera, and my Nikon SB600 on the camera, set to underexpose by 3 stops.


By saying “underexpose” and “3 stops” I appear to know what I’m talking about – don’t be fooled, I heard those terms somewhere else and thought they might make me sound clever if I used them. (this may be a lie). The idea was for the car to loom out of the dark, like some sort of sinister zombie monster. This is admittedly less convincing when the car is sunshine yellow coloured.

This next one was taken by cranking everything up to full power, and then pressing the button. Oops, looked directly at the flashes again, now I’m definitely blind.


Anyway, I was pleased enough with these for the first attempt, and I’m looking forward to exploring the creative opportunities these flashes open up for me. I am however in the hunt for some radio triggers which I hope will be more reliable. It does mean spending yet more money, but as I only have one set of eyes, I’d like to protect them by avoiding beaming flashes directly into them in future.

Ebay here I come!