September 20th, 2013

Firearms Photography: How and Why to Use Daylight Fill-Flash

camera daylight fill flash shootingWe know you guys like taking photos of your rifles at the range. And, if you’re selling a rifle, scope, front rest, or rear bag, you need good photos to post in our Forum classifieds. Here’s a basic photography tip that can help you produce dramatically better photos. Use your camera’s ability to add “fill flash” even in daylight.

There’s plenty of light on a bright day. But bright light also means strong shadows. The shadows can leave parts of your subject literally in the dark. Daylight flash will help fill in those dark spots. In addition, if you are on a covered firing area, and want to include the range in your photo, you can benefit from using flash. This will prevent the foreground subject from being too dark while the downrange background is much too bright.

Photo without Flash

The photo above was taken without flash. As you can see, the rifle is too dark so details are lost. At the same time, the background (downrange) is over-exposed and washed out. The second photo below is taken with daylight flash. The difference is dramatic. Now you can see details of the rifle, while the background is exposed properly. Note how much easier it is to see the the targets downrange and the colors of the front rest. NOTE: these two photos were taken at the same time — just seconds apart.

Photo with Daylight “Fill-Flash”

Be sure to click on the larger versions of each photo.

How to Activate Daylight Flash
Most digital cameras have daylight flash capability. Some cameras have a separate setting for “auto fill flash”. On other cameras, you’ll have to set the camera to aperture priority and stop down the aperture to force the flash to fire. Read your camera’s manual. On many Canons, a menu that lets you set the “flash output”. For “fill flash” we like to set the flash at 30% to 50% output. This fills in the shadows sufficiently without “killing contrast” or creating too much reflection on shiny metal. Below is a photo taken with 30% flash output. Note the rich colors and how the exposure is balanced between foreground and background. Without flash the sky and target area would be “washed out”.


Here’s another tip for Canon owners. If you like deep, rich colors, use the “Vivid” setting in the effects menu. This punches up saturation and contrast.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
September 20th, 2013

New Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine from RCBS

Using ultrasound in a liquid solution, you can clean your cartridge brass inside and out. Ultrasonic cleaning is nothing new — we described this process years ago. But with the increased cost of brass, more and more shooters are turning to this effective process to get their cases clean.

Now RCBS offers an affordable Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine with some great features. The new RCBS machine boasts a 3-liter capacty, user-friendly keypad, and a built-in 100-watt heater with four settings. The unit also includes a handy drain valve and drain tube.

Ultrasonic cleaning works fast, without the long processing time (and dust) of conventional tumbling. Cleaning cases with ultrasonic machines has become very popular, as the ultrasonic process reliably removes caked-on carbon and grime from brass cases inside and out, even in the primer pocket. We do recommend that, after ultrasonic cleaning, you consider using a dry neck lube to restore lubricity to your necks for the first and second firings.

The new RCBS ultrasonic cleaner features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. ‘Street Price’ for the RCBS ultrasonic machine is under $150.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $50 purchase or $50 off $300.00 purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.

RCBS ultrasonic cleaner cash rebate discount

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »