July 24, 2009 – One image of Brandon Boyd of Incubus. If you think this shot looks like flash, you're right – Brandon here is lit almost entirely by flash. But it wasn't mine.
After the fifth song (we shot songs four, five, and six), Brandon Boyd came to the edge of the stage and perched for about a minute on an ego riser. The stage lights were very low and washed the stage in a deep blue.
Naturally, the fans at the front of the stage were excited about this close-up opportunity, since Boyd had been back behind the risers that flanked his mic stand for start of the show. Orange focus-assist lights started beaming onto Boyd and flashes started popping. I spun the dials down and hoped for one of my favorite moments of serendipity: catchflash.
Surprise: It's Catchflash
Catchflash is an instance in which someone else's flash goes off while your shutter is open and that light illuminates part of your frame. The best part about catchflash is that it can create compelling, off-axis lighting and one of a kind images. The downside is that it can take a little planning to capture; it always takes a lot of luck.
The Technical Details
For this shot, I estimated that I'd need a very, very slow shutter speed. The stage lighting was so low that what you see in the deep blues and purples is a leisurely 1/5 second exposure, which at f/3.2 and ISO 1000 was perfect to balance the catchflash and stage lighting.
Stay tuned for the full set from Incubus, as well as a full post on catchflash with examples and other techniques for maximizing your chances of nailing it. In the meantime, if you want to link up examples of catchflash that you have, go for it.