I had a wonderful opportunity to photograph in Venice, Italy during Carnival a few weeks back. My visit to Venice was at the tail end of a Mentor Series Trek that I and my friend Reed Hoffmann were guiding.
Shooting carnival in Venice had been on my bucket list for quite sometime, I was thrilled to be there and I wasn't disappointed in the least. Knowing I was going to be shooting there, I came prepared with one SB-700, a RoundFlash, a 34" umbrella and a 18" copper pipe as an extension to get my flash even further off camera.
Each morning, I would get up early before sunrise and head down to Piazza San Marco. This time in the morning is when you find the "more professional" shooters looking for their shots. I must say however, these "more professional" photographers still need to learn more about flash photography. I would say that the majority of those using flash were using them on camera and direct on there subjects. There were a few that had a helper to hold the flash off camera... one which I'm thinking of was nuts. Here is a guy with a small octa and he had his wife or girlfriend hold the octa on a stick directly behind him. I'm sure he got some wonderful "flat" properly exposed images. If your going to go to the trouble to place a flash off camera, how about lighting from one side or another.
As I had mentioned, I also brought along a RoundFlash, basically a ring light. I wanted to be able to introduce just a bit of fill without creating a harsh shadow. Since the RoundFlash fits around my lens, the light does not create distracting shadows like a direct on camera flash. Here are a few examples using the RoundFlash.
Venice was a blast, if you have never been there, I would recommend it highly. I might also mention that Reed Hoffmann and I will be leading a Mentor Series Trek to India later this year. It should be in early November, on every trek I'm on, I always teach about how to use your flash. India will be a fascinating place to shoot local people and culture. For more information regarding Mentor Series Treks, follow the next LINK.