Photo Friday: Little Bird

The Little Bird came down the stairs this afternoon with her bow, and bam, there was my chance for a portrait for Photo Friday. Yeah, it’s a bit dry this winter and the static wreaked havoc with her hair, but I liked the portrait and this was my chance to play with vignettes in Lightroom.

Little Bird

Little Bird

The color version wasn’t bad, but the background really distracted, as did the piece of her pink blanket in the shot. (She’s cooperative to a point. Too much posing and the smile’s gone. She’s a diva like that.) The shift to B&W helped, and the vignette more or less finished it off.

Shot with my 18-55mm lens and a Speedlite bounced off the ceiling.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Nice portrait. I keep thinking now that I need a speedlight, but you’re the only person I know using one. Yours is a canon, isn’t it? Mine’s a Nikon, and I’m looking at SB-600 for $300ish, SB-700 for os SB-900 for $450ish. I can afford neither, of course.

  2. Mike says:

    Save your pennies. I absolutely love my Canon SpeedLite 430EX. It wasn’t cheap, either, but it produces a much better light than the camera’s flash and offers the flexibility of the rotating head for bouncing it off walls and the ceiling. You can also get a softer or more diffuse light by covering it with various materials. There are cheap gels available to change the color, and there’s a white plastic omni diffuser that’s cheap that mounts right on it. Snoots can help make it more focused, and I’ve seen DIY snoots that would be very cheap to make.

    I have not been able to mess with off-camera flash. Wireless systems would be too pricey for me, too. However, there is a cord available for Canon cameras that only runs about $20-25 bucks that would allow you a few feet of play for the SpeedLite. I’m sure Nikon has something similar. That way you could move the flash around at least a little to change the direction of the light. I’m planning on buying one of those cords in the near future.

    If you want to get real fancy, some of the SpeedLites can be set to slaves and go off when they “see” the flash from your main flash. Would be a quick and dirty studio setup. Of course, then you’re dealing with the expense of another flash unit. Just a thought for the future.

    • Mike says:

      Note: in the meantime, experiment with covering your camera flash with something to diffuse or soften the light. For example, a layer of tissue or plain white paper towel can change the lighting. Another trick is to use a white translucent plastic, such as half of an old film roll canister, and put it in front of the flash.