Last week, I went to Montara State Beach on California Highway 1, north of Half Moon Bay. Didn't have a lot of time, so ended up taking just a couple of photographs... one of the scene and a self-portrait.
I think this one came out pretty nicely.
I then took a self-portrait. You can see the flash in the photo - no time to set up stands, etc. I could have photo-shopped it out, but chose not to spend the time. Kind of gives it a "real" feeling to me.
The ambient light was pretty warm (close to tungsten), so I gelled the flash with a full CTO to balance the color of the flash with the white balance of the ambient light. In post-processing, I changed the WB of the photograph to Tungsten. With the gel, the flash was perfectly balanced at Tungsten, and therefore my skin is the correct tone. The white balance of the rest of the photograph is less important, and looks "good enough." With more time, I would've probably played around with a few different gel combinations.
(With me out of the photograph, I played around in post, and picked a slightly different WB for the photograph above)
Lessons learnt: The mistake I made was in judging the ambient light/exposure time combination, and while I kept in roughly the same place to block any light behind me, I did not stay still. You can see that my right side, which was illuminated only by the flash, is sharp. However, my left side has a ghost image as I kept moving in the same space for the 3 minute exposure.
Well, I would also consider not smiling a mistake :-)
Strobist concepts applied:
Balancing ambient/background light with flash power
Balancing color of flash with background/ambient light