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I need to do a time lapse in a pitch black room. I'm down-shooting onto a reflective black surface, which is a problem because my built-in, external flash creates a massive glare across my shots. I know that I can increase my ISO and widen the aperture to get better shots, but that doesn't really cut it. I tried a diffuser that goes over my flash, but it left a glare as well.

How do I modify my setup to eliminate the glare and get better shots? I'm currently using the built-flash on my Pentax K3. Because I'm down-shooting, I can't just angle the built in flash away from the surface I'm shooting. If it's necessary to know, shots will be taken at 30 min. intervals. I will not be there every 30 min. to adjust anything, so whatever setup I have must be automated. Also, I'm using an 18-55mm WR Pentax lens.

  • The built flash, or any on-axis one, will always reflect back so you cant unless you buy an external flash. – Itai Nov 30 '17 at 4:47
  • @Itai or reflect the flash somehow -- an arrangment of white card and tape/rubber bands can work wonders – Chris H Nov 30 '17 at 11:29
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Angle the flash to bounce off the ceiling or a grey card by blocking the flash with a mirror. Simply shutter a bit slower or bump the ISO to account for the decrease in intensity.

If it's a thin plastic mirror you might be able to tape it in place, otherwise use a clamp to hold it on a stand.

Mirror

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    I would've have suggested at least a hot-shoe flash to pivot the head away, but I like your creatively minimal solution :) – Calyth Nov 30 '17 at 15:54
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It should be fairly obvious you need to get the flash off camera so that you can adjust the position of each independently. Since your shooting conditions seem to be the same for every shot, you only need a manual flash that can be set to the proper amount of power and triggered by your camera.

With the Pentax K3, you have the option of using a PC connector¹ or the camera's hot shoe to run a cable between your camera and the flash. For a manual flash, the PC connector will be simpler and probably cheaper as long as the flash you buy has a receptacle for a PC cord. They commonly come in lengths between a few inches and 15-20 feet. You can get longer cords, but they are a bit harder to find.

PC cords come in two basic varieties:

  • Both ends are 'male' PC connectors
  • One end is a 'male' PC connector and the other end is a 3.5mm 'male' plug

Flashes with PC connector ports can have either a 'female' PC connector socket or a 'female' 3.5mm jack. Just be sure to match the cord to the type of connector the flash has.

¹ PC in the context of flash photography has nothing to do with a personal computer. It is an abbreviation of Prontor/Compur. Prontor has its origins in the Italian word pronto (quick) and was a brand of shutter produced by Alfred Gauthier in the 1950s. Compur, derived from the word compound, was the shutter brand of the Deckel Company. Both companies were based in Germany and both counted Zeiss as an influential stockholder when they introduced the standard 1/8"-inch coaxial connector for shutter/flash synchronization.

  • Third party wireless systems, manual flashes in slave mode, are options to a wired hotshoe or a PC cable. So is PTTL. – user50888 Nov 30 '17 at 16:31
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What is above down facing camera? If you don't have budget for a separate flash, perhaps you could put white card in front of the built in flash and have light bounce off that, to ceiling, then back to the subject.

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