I first realised that using my camera’s flash on close-up subjects had a nice result two years ago with the Coral Fungus photo, before then I had never really used it. I even scoffed at it as I had never taken a photo that improved upon using it. But now I am a little wiser and understand that the flash feature works best on more complicated plants, or in this case lichens and mushrooms.
The many stalks of the lichen below creates a focusing problem for ‘point-click’ cameras. There are too many individual elements for the camera to focus on, leading to some closer stalks being in focus, some not and some are a mix with the head slightly blurry.
This first photo is without my cameras flash on. The colours are dry, the stalks are obviously out of focus and the background struggled to separate itself from the main piece. Now compare it with the next image.
This one is with the flash on. The colours are instantly more alive as the flash has brought out the lime green in a brighter colour. The issue with the focusing remains, but now the flash has added additional perspective to the photo. The centre piece are the stalks which shine with colour whilst the bottom left is darkened lending more contrast. The twiggy background fades better and due to its blurry-brown colour doesn’t merge with the lichen.
It is definitely worth trialling the flash on your camera with inanimate close-up subjects such as mushrooms and flowers. Sometimes the results can be average but sometimes it produces a really wonderful photo.
My final example is the Coral Fungus I mentioned earlier. The complexity of the fungus is highlighted by the flash and whilst the colour isn’t vivid, the shadow cast by the additional light adds great perspective.