In recent weeks I’ve been taking more and more pictures using the external flash. Mostly it worked great, but from time to time I noticed that it didn’t seem to work! Dark images were the result. Two shots, both with identical settings would give one light and one dark image – very odd! The problem, as it turns out, is with my “mental model” of what I was doing.
The SB800 is a pretty powerful flash so when using it indoors I’ve normally got the power down at 1/16th or lower. This gives me excellent recharge times and usually more than enough light. When moving outdoors things change a bit when I need more power. Thinking about it rationally as the power goes up the recharge times will get longer – which if you add in batteries that are past their peak will equate to longer waits. Of course having grown so used to the “instant” recharge that’s available at low power settings this didn’t cross my mind until it was pointed out today.
The results from the last session were fine until I increased the power of the flash – at which point I (as model and director) should have built in some longer pauses.
Thankfully, some of the pictures didn’t need the extra power 🙂

Hopefully having learned this lesson the hard way I won’t forget it in a hurry…