Sunday, 16 November 2014

The LIGHT Side Digest - Free Photography Magazine

On 10 June 2013 I founded a Facebook group for photographers who have a passion for light and lighting. The LIGHT Side.

The group has grown from humble beginnings to over 2500 members in 17 months.

The LIGHT Side Digest, edition 01 cover, November 2014

Contributions are numerous and various; from beginners who have gained confidence via the group to share and learn from the input of group members, to working photographers who share images with lighting diagrams and behind the scenes (BTS) images for the benefit of all.  The Digest takes some of the most interesting and inspirational contributions and saves them from being lost in the depths of the Facebook time line.

Our thanks must go to a dedicated team of volunteers who created the The LIGHT Side Digest. Peter Barnett for coming up with the idea, sourcing and writing articles. Simon Newbury for his unfailing patience and design skills. Peter Williams for sourcing and writing articles. Isca Home aka Chris Cook for wisdom and project management. And of course the originators of the articles and advertisers.

You can download your free PDF copy from the following links:








Wednesday, 12 November 2014

iLux Summit 600 - Quickie Portrait

At the end of October I spent a couple of days in Coventry with the gentlefolk from Michael Weeks Event & Schools Photographers Group demonstrating a number of lighting techniques.



This a quickie frame, maybe the first or second of the day from whomever was at hand, in this case none other than Motocross photographer Colin Brister.

The set up was very simple. A single iLux Summit 600 self-contained battery powered, wireless triggered mono bloc flash head, attached to a painters extension pole in lieu of a light stand via a 1420 VAL Spigot.

The flash head had the standard reflector in place with the diffuser/protective cap removed and in its' place 2 x Multi Clips with a sheet of clear acrylic or perspex with a sheet of LEE Filters 430 Grid Cloth (Rosco #3030) which is basically white Ripstop nylon, the stuff used to make kites & sails.

The VAL (Voice Activated Light Stand) supported the extended (roughly 5') pole on the floor and pointed it toward Colin. Power was set around 1/32 and metered at ISO 160, ƒ/4.0, 1/200th. Canon 5DII, 85mm ƒ/1.8. Colin leant against the rail of a balcony, so the light was leant slightly over the rail and feathered (rotated a few degrees clockwise in this case) slightly toward the camera to mimic the direction of the ambient light.



The underexposed frame without flash. This was around 2 stops under the metered reading.

The iLux Summit 600 renders colours a little cool for my taste so the above frames were warmed in post-production/processing by adjusting the colour temperature. As a guide, I use a ¼ CTS gel to give the warmth I like with these flash heads - LEE Filters 443 or Rosco #3443. These are great lights and at lower power settings, 1/64, 1/32 & 1/16 will keep to 2 frames a second. At full power expect around 5.5 seconds between frames. Can't see that happening much as I rarely shoot at full power unless battling with the sun!

iLux lighting is available from Photomart in London http://shop.photomart.co.uk/lighting-studio/flash-heads-kits/ilux-delta-series.html

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

I've just updated the 1420 VAL Spigot HOW TO GUIDE which is now available from Issuu http://bit.ly/1420HOWTO


iLux lighting is available from Photomart and LEE Filters gels from numerous sources including Wex & The Flash Centre 


If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.



Monday, 3 November 2014

Day for Night with LEE Filters Lighting Gels

Last week I had the pleasure to work with a great bunch of photographers at the Event & Schools Photographers Group in Coventry, England. This was an opportunity to show other photographers that there's much more to lighting than just umbrellas & soft boxes, plus I got to meet some really good people into the bargain.

Click on image to view larger

This image was created with the aid of 2 x iLux Summit 600 portable battery mono bloc self-contained flash heads from Photomart, a crew of four and a few sheets of LEE Filters lighting correction gels.

Click on image to see detail

As you can see the scene is relatively ordinary until lit and flat due to the heavy overcast sky and surrounding buildings. The purpose of this shoot was to evaluate the capabilities of my new iLux Summit 600 battery flash head, including the ability to freeze moving objects and show other photographers that a few simple changes to lighting and camera settings can totally alter the look and mood of a scene.

Lighting
- 2 x iLux Summit 600 portable battery mono bloc self-contained flash heads
- Key light Lux 120cm Deep Octa with internal diffuser in place and front diffuser removed
- Back right at 2 o'clock iLux Summit 600 portable battery mono bloc with standard reflector in place. LEE Filters Double CTB (200) (Colour Temperature Blue) clipped inlace with multi-clips
- LEE Filters ½ (205) & full CTO (204) (Colour Temperature Orange) which converts a daylight (5500k) source to tungsten (3200k). Normally I'd only use a single Full CTO for a shot such as this but the flash tube on the light is a little cool/blue for my taste.
- Flash power was in the 1/16 or 1/32 range maximum for both lights

Camera Settings
ISO 160
Shutter 1/250th
Aperture ƒ/3.5
White balance tungsten
Canon 50D with 85mm ƒ/1.8 prime

Setting the camera white balance to tungsten neurtralises the effect of the warmed up light from the CTO'd flash. The under exposed background light not lit by the flash will render blue, the colour of the tungsten in camera white balance. The back/rim light was Double CTB in order to show through the blue ambient light. Full CTB would be neutral and have no effect.

The image was processed in Adobe Camera RAW via Bridge then into Photoshop CC where I dodged and burned in the image to give the desired look.

This is an adaptation of a technique used by cinematographers to simulate night time in daylight - shooting day for night. To create a more authentic nocturnal feel the model could be lit with less CTO which would not be so flattering!

The LEE Filters used in this article were from the Pro-Pack which contains 24 of the the most useful 21" x 24" colour correction, effects & diffusion gels. The Double CTB was taken from the Master Location Pack of 10" x 12" gels.

That's it for this one. My thanks to all involved in this shoot, you know who you are:)

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

iLux lighting is available from Photomart and LEE Filters gels from numerous sources including Wex & The Flash Centre 

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Elinchrom FS30 & Litemotiv Announced


Elinchrom announced a number of new modifiers and accessories recently, including the S30 fresnel spotlight with a 20° to 45° variable beam angle which looks suspiciously like the Spotlite S35 which I remember using in studios many moons ago. It's EL fit so will fit most Elinchrom heads made since 1972. This light has remained popular with secondhand example fetching between £400 & £600 on Ebay!

This light will be particular interest to fashion, beauty & photographers who shoot in the retro Hollywood style.

There's also (finally) a heavy duty EL adaptor for Quadra users so they can fit heavier accessories to Quadra heads.

There's also the Litemotive 16 panel deep silvered surface collapsible parabolic reflector available in 120cm & 190cm diameters.

So far I can't see any information on The Flash Centre website www.theflashcentre.com or the main Elinchrom LTD website www.elinchrom.com

Anyone interested should contact either Simon Burfoot or Brian Collier at TFC in Birmingham for more information, prices and availability.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Free "How To" Lighting Demos with Photomart - Photovision Roadshow Kent 21 October 2014

http://shop.photomart.co.uk/lighting-studio/flash-heads-kits/ilux-summit-series.html

Light Like a Pro

Free How To Lighting Demonstrations

On Tuesday 21st October 2014 I'll be running a series of "how to" lighting demonstrations on the Photomart stand at the Photovision Roadshow in Kent, Brands Hatch Motor Racing Circuit to be precise.

http://www.forwardevents.co.uk/roadshows/kent/exhibitors-list.html

With me I'll have one (maybe more) of the iLux Summit 600 portable battery mono bloc flash heads which is a very useful piece of kit for location photographers, whether you shoot weddings, portraits or events.



Jamie Bannerman stars in Full English Breakfast - I created this image as part of a social media campaign to promote the independent British film. Simple lighting; one studio flash, low and camera  left, with simple barn doors and a LEE Filters cosmetic gel which gave me both tint to the light and slight diffusion. Backdrop was a neutral grey background paper and the distressed Union Flag was composited in place during post-production. Gritty look enhanced with the bleach bypass filter in Nik Color efex Pro 4.

iLux Summit 600 Reviews
Professional Photographer magazine
http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/Gear-Tests/Reach-for-the-Summit

This is a real-world test & evaluation by event photographer Mike Weeks
http://www.dorsetphotoevent.co.uk/studio-light-testing-48-hours-with-ilux-summit/

My provisional schedule:
11:10 - 11:40      Lighting the perfect headshot
12:00 – 12:30     Creative indoor & outdoor portrait lighting 
13:10 – 13:40     Lighting for weddings & events
14:00 – 14:30     Lighting on location
14:50 – 15:20     Lighting to create mood



Our model for the day will be Lulu Cole.

Entry to the show is free/gratis as are the demonstrations, so do come along, all it's going to cost you is a few hours of your time and the fuel. The lovely people at Photomart are offering a £25.00 voucher to all who visit the Photomart stand to offset against any purchase of iLux lighting equipment (minimum spend £150.00).

I've been to these shows a number of times and never leave empty handed, whether it's with new lighting or photo accessories or even better, hints, tips and new knowledge to improve my photography & lighting skills - after all, we never stop learning in this digital age! You may even bump into someone you know online or offline!

You can book you tickets to the show here > > http://www.forwardevents.co.uk/register-for-free-tickets.html come along, I'm sure you'll not be disappointed.

The show opens from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (1100 - 1600)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

One Light Two Set Ups

Left to right, dark field illumination. bright field illumination

The above images are of the same blown bulb from a 800w Redhead incandescent continuous hot light. Ironically I kicked the light stand whilst the light was switched on, after telling a group of students not to move hot lights when they're switched on, as that's when the already delicate filament is even more delicate!








It's possible to achieve this kind of image with almost any flat, soft source of light, either soft box or LED panel. For this this shot I used a Rosco 24" x 24" Litepad as that's what was handy.

The image on the right with the black background I clipped in place a piece of matt black material to provide the back drop. The bulb was lit by the light by the light from either side of the black  material, providing transillumination and edge highlights. The width of the highlights can be controlled by the width of the black material.

On the right with the white background I used a piece of LEE Filters 129 Heavy Frost diffusion gel to hide the etched grid of the light and even out the illumination. Here the edges of the bulb were defined by black cards either side, just out of frame. A soft silver reflector was placed just out of frame left to create some shape in the ceramic insulation tips.

As I used a continuous light source metering was pretty simple as I used the camera TTL meter and rode the exposure compensation - for the dark field image I underexposed by 1.33 stops, the bright field image over exposed by 2 stops.

The bulb was positioned on a blob of white tack on a plastic rod, clamped in Super Clamp resting on the bench top. From set-up to finish this whole shoot took 20-30 minutes.

Images were put through my usual ACR processing, the white tack removed and images comped in PS CC.

The camera was fitted with a macro lens and supported on a sturdy solid metal studio stand allowing smooth lateral and vertical camera movement.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Off Camera Flash - to the Max

Every now and again potential talent emerges, sometimes by accident . . . 



My youngest daughter is using photography as medium for her GCSE course work. Yesterday we ventured out with a friend to create a few frames for her projects and give me an excuse to shoot, for me!

Lighting & camera kit was limited by proximity of car parking in relation to the proposed shoot location - in other words we had to walk.

I'll not share Hattie's images as she hasn't agreed, so here are a couple of mine.

There will be times where to get the shot you need a wide angle lens. Whilst I'll not shoot a mid-shot or close-up portrait with a wide angle lens unless a specific look is required, the Canon 35mm ƒ/2 EF is pretty sweet, compact & lightweight for general use or medium long shot (MLS), long shot/full length (LS) portraits.




The lighting here is simple. A single Canon 580EXII Speedlite triggered with a pair of Yong Nuo YN-622C TTL radio triggers. Until recently I've been using a Yong Nuo eTTL cable which is fine, but somewhat restrictive once you experience the pleasure of (almost) total wireless eTTL flash freedom of movement.

Max is a great guy with a good look who is at ease in front of the camera. I find it helps if you get to know the model/subject before a shoot, or if they know you as the communication barrier doesn't need to by breached.



Hattie (youngest daughter) acted as VAL (Voice Activated Light stand) for this part of the shoot. The Lighting rig was attached to a painters extension pole by means of my 1420 VAL Spigot. The advantage of this is portability and mobility. The painters extension pole I use extends to 3m (10 feet) which when resting on the ground, held by the VAL gives adequate  height & reach.


The kit used, right to left, top to bottom:

  • Oriental Lastolite rip-off 60cm Ezybox.
  • Gel Clip with Rosco #302 Pale Bastard Amber (LEE Filters 223 1/8th CTO is a close equivalent) gel for added subtle warmth to skin tones, if processed in colour.
  • Canon 580EXII Speedlite hot shoe flash- zoomed to 70mm to give extra output.
  • YN-622C wireless flash transceiver trigger.
I addition to the above:
  • Canon 5DII full frame body.
  • 35mmƒ/2 & 85mmƒ/1.8 Canon EF glass.
  • Lowepro Reporter 300AW shoulder bag (2001) vintage and still going strong.



It's a pleasure working with someone like Max, relaxed and into the photo groove.

The whole session was relaxed with a level of humour and banter appropriate to those involved.

The high key image above is effectively straight out of camera (SOOC), with nothing more than my ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) initial processing, with Silver eFex for the mono conversion using the Kodak Tri-X preset.

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.














Wednesday, 30 July 2014

LEE Filters 188 Cosmetic Effect Gel in Use



There are times when the light you use is either too hard, the wrong colour or both. On a recent test shoot with the lovely Amy, the light from my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra A head with a 26cm high efficiency reflector was both too cool and a tad hard on the shadow edges or penumbra.

To correct this I fixed a LEE Filters 188 pale amber warming effects gel with added frost, giving warm flash tones, a boost to Amy's already wonderful hair colour and taking the edge from the shadows.


Close-up from the first image with my white balance control image inset. The control image on the right was shot without the gel in place. The gel was then used for all the images during the session. 

During post-production I used the control image to set my white point and then applied those settings to the other images from the session. By doing this I get a true reflection of the filter colour.

Had I shot the control image with the coloured gel in place, when I set my white point in post-production the colour would have been neutralised, making use of the lighting filter pointless.

Lighting filters are both inexpensive and easy to carry around, especially the 10" x 12" sheets supplied by the main manufacturers in kits of popular types. LEE Filters 188 Cosmetic Highlight features in their Cosmetic Lighting Pack which includes filters to enhance skin tones in a variety of situations.


Lighting gels are very easy to fix to reflectors with small A clamps, wooden clothes pegs, or my favourite the Manfrotto 375 Multiclip aka Bowens BW-1826/A Black Multiclip which allows some separation from the light source which adds to the diffusion effect of the gel. When using hot lights without barn doors creates an air gap so the lights don't overheat and prevents the gel from melting.

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.




Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Previsualisation for Photographers



A common theme among many stunning and successful images is planning & preparation. But before planning and preparation comes previsualisation, which usually starts with an idea, influence or vision.

Previsualisation is looking at a scene or idea and imaging how it will look in the final form. That previsualisation will then drive how the image is shot and post processed.

Previsualisation or Previs has been used by film makers for years, probably since the invention of motion picture production. You may be familiar with storyboards, an essential and integral part of the process for many. A storyboard doesn’t need to be fancy sketches or computer generated images, just a series of representations on which an image or scene can be planned.

For many years I worked as a corporate TV production manager/producer in London where planning whole programmes was an essential part of the production process, especially where clients and financial compliance where concerned.

Once you have your idea, a sketch or whatever, you can begin planning. Look at the images created by others to get an idea of what’s really involved. Look at the work of photographers you admire, magazine ads, editorial images. These images don’t just happen, in some cases the planning is meticulous, in others quick and spontaneous, but they all start with an idea. A fine example is that of Stuart Woods latest wedding image.

Creating an image isn’t about the gear, but the idea. It’s not the photographers with latest or most expensive gear which create stunning images, but those who think their shots through and prepare.

Remember the 7Ps - Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_Ps_(military_adage) Get it right, first time and every time!

Elements to consider when planning your images

Cast & crew - models, talent, hair, makeup, assistants.

Location or studio? Do you need to permission to or a permit to shoot at the location? Does the studio have the lighting you need?

Wardrobe, props - tell the story, communicate the mood or theme.

Time of day, light & lighting. There are any number of online aids and apps to aid planning an outside or location shoot. One of note is Shot Hot Spot http://www.shothotspot.com/ which brings together crowd sourced feedback & images , plus integration with Google maps & The Photographers Ephemeris.

Accessibility, how will you and those involved travel. What about local facilities, drink, food, sanitation?

Cameras, lenses, supports, grip & effects. Often overlooked by many. A tripod not only helps with sharp images, they are an aid to composition. Lenses help focus on a area of the frame (think Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech) or contribute to a sweeping vista (David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia).

Post production - what processing, editing and retouching will be required? Do you need to shoot accordingly.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, you get the idea.

What you exclude from the frame is as important as what’s included. The 35mm slide mount in the image above I use as an aid when framing a shot. Most of the time I shoot full frame, in other words a 36 x 24mm sensor, the same size as an old 35mm stills film frame.

By holding the slide mount to your eye and moving back and forth you get an idea of framing the shot. The closer to your eye simulates a wide angle lens, further away a telephoto lens. So one inch from your eye equates to a 24mm lens, whilst 4 inches 100mm and so on.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lighting Closeup, Garden Orb Spider, Araneus diadematus

Garden Orb Spider, Araneus diadematus

Found one of these in my back yard today, having snared a wasp and wrapped it in silk.

I decided to back light (dark field illumination) to emphasise the web and fine hairs on the spider. A black plastic sheet was suspended behind the spider on a short boom attached to a Kupo Grip C-stand. The flash was modified with a Rogue Flash Bender from Expo Imaging as I knew this would give me both soft and controlled spill to my light. Fill was nothing more than a hand held plastic mirror from a camping shop directly opposite the key light and just out of frame.

Lit with a Canon 580EXII firing into a Rogue Flash Bender, roughly 14 inches away, slightly above spider at 10 o'clock. Fill from a small plastic mirror just out of frame at 4 o'clock (not shown). Placing the flash on a lightweight stand with a tilting umbrella adaptor allows the flash to pan & tilt.

Canon 50D, 100mm ƒ/2.8 EF macro, ƒ/18, 1/160th sec, 320 ISO, WB daylight.b Flash triggered with Yong Nuo YN-622C TTL radio trigger/transceiver.


A tripod for this kind of image is essential as camera shake is exaggerated due to the magnification of the 100mm lens on the 1.6x sensor! Continual focus adjustments were necessary as the spider kept moving and the slightest movement from me or a slight breeze meant I lost sharp focus.

Camera on a Manfrotto 755MF3 carbon fibre tripod with a less than ideal Manfrotto 3 way pan/tilt head. Should have changed to my heavy ball head.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

Kupo Grip is available in the UK from Ianiro UK. Rest of the world http://www.kupogrip.com/find-a-dealer/ 

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Flirting with Flash - Sarah



Just quickie from a recent test shoot with the lovely Sarah who will be modelling at my Beginners Lighting for Wedding & Portrait Photographers workshop on Sunday 28th September 2014.

A single Canon 580 EXII Speedlite was triggered with a Yong Nuo RF-602 transmitter/receiver set. The flash was zoomed to 105mm to create a beam and give some extra power. The flash was set at ¼ power (I guess). The light was giving some lightweight warmth from a Rosco #302 Pale Bastard Amber gel attached to the flash with a Gel Clip.

Camera & settings:
Canon 5D MkII, Manual, back AF button
Canon 85mm ƒ/1.8 EF, set to AF
WB Daylight
Lens focus 7.3m
100 ISO
1/60th sec
ƒ/6.3


Sarah stood in the shade created by a mature oak tree and positioned so she was against a dark uncluttered area of the background, whilst at the same time catching the back rim light created by sun light, lightly diffused by broken light cloud over a blue sky. The ambient light was under exposed by around 1.5 stops in order that the flash provided to key/side light on Sarah.  The image is essentially straight out of camera, with only my normal processing in Adobe Camera Raw.

The light cloud diffusing the sun acts in a similar way to introducing a net scrim between a hard light source and the model. Spun & Hampshire Frost diffusion gels have a similar effect. Remember with lighting gels you can control the amount of diffusion by using different densities of diffusion gel.

If you go to the LEE Filters website or download the LEE Swatch iPhone app, there are visuals showing the approximate effect of different diffusion gels. There is also a 3D test on this blog showing the effect of diffusion gels in use.

My thanks to Linda Johnstone for acting as VAL (Voice Activated Light Stand).

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Canon cameras, Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

LEE Filters Diffusion Gels Comparison

LEE Filters have an area on their website which shows an approximation of the effect of each gel in two dimensions, you may also see this in the LEE Swatch mobile app. To see the true effect of diffusion gels you need to see the effect on a model - enter Fred the Head.

Fred is a regular in our studio as he's reliable and not demanding! Seriously, it's good to have a constant model and set-up where you can test light and lighting so you can see the effect and later interpret and visualise when on a shoot.


Control image
The unmodified Elinchrom mono bloc flash with an 18cm standard reflector giving an angle of illumination of 60º.


Equipment
The Elinchrom flash head with 18cm reflector. Diffusion gels are held in place with Manfrotto Multiclips. Fred is placed on a bench with a mid-grey background roughy 6 feet away 2 foot 6 inches above head height.


Using the Multiclips is a simple, easy & convenient way to fix the diffusion gels in place and gives a constant distance of around 10 inches from the flash tube for this test. Shown here is 253 Hampshire Frost.

Do remember with all diffusion materials, gel and textile, that the closer to the light source the less pronounced the diffusion effect and the greater the distance from the light the more pronounced the effect. The diffusion effect and optimum distance from the light source will vary between diffusion gels and the effect you are trying to achieve, which is why you may want to consider using larger diffusion gels clipped to a separate scrim frame rather than directly to the rim of a reflector.
















Net curtain, open weave


Net curtain, close weave

LEE Filters are available from dealers worldwide.

Elinchrom flash & LEE Filters are available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.





Tuesday, 24 June 2014

VAL Spigot Companion eBook Free Download

To show the breadth of uses for the 1420 VAL Spigot I've prepared a short eBook which is now available as a free download.


Add to Cart

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lowepro Pro Roller x200 Light Stand Support

I recently read of someone who had the misfortune to break the tube in one of their Elinchrom Quadra Ranger heads as they were using it with an umbrella outside in less than ideal conditions without any means of stability at the base of the light stand.



Many photographers will opt for a sand bag or bags depending on the size of light and prevailing conditions for stability at the base of their light stand. Sand bags are fine so long as you have the means of transporting the weight and bulk. I do carry an empty sand bag in the outside pocket of my Lowepro Pro Roller x200, but it's not always possible to find suitable material to fill the sand bag. Incidentally, I don;t use sand in my sand bags as when it dries out it produces dust which makes a mess, so instead I use washed 10mm pea shingle which is just as effective and doesn't make a mess.

For those photographers who pack their gear light and tight why not use your camera bag, back pack or rolling case for stability?

All you need to do is put your light stand through the grab or drag handle of the case and rest the loaded bag on one of the light stand legs and rest the weight of the bag onto the tripod stand for stability equal to or better than a humble sand bag.



In this image I used a oriental reproduction of the famous Manfrotto Nano stand as these are what are carried in the case used for this shot. This also the reason I've opted for Elinchrom Ranger Quadra's rather than another brand or portable battery flash. The head is light in weight with a separate battery & controller so the light isn't top-heavy increasing stability issues when on location.

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

Lowepro camera bags are available worldwide http://www.lowepro.com/about-us/where-to-buy


The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.


If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Working with available light

On Saturday 7th June 2014, a small and perfectly formed group of photographers, all members of the Facebook group, The LIGHT Side met on Brighton Beach in blazing sun and moderate wind to work with basic kit to create some stunning images of a delightful model, Lauren Cole.

Hard sunlight, with intermittent light cloud to provide some softening can be quite a challenge, especially when there is no convenient local shade.

With the aid of California Sunbounce reflectors, a DIY diffuser panel and an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra with the 26cm high efficiency reflector I encouraged and guided the group to think about and create their own images. And create some stunning images they did. There are no CLS (Crappy Lighting Sketches) of the set-ups, but there are a few wide shot BTS images. Considering we only shot for less than 80 minutes much was learned and achieved in such a short time.

My thanks to Lauren Cole for standing in at the 11th hour and to Peter Williams for assisting. Linda Johnston, Neil Hobday & Grzegorz Iwanski you did a great job and created images to be proud of.

© Copyright Grzegorz Iwanski 2014

As you can see here, the back/side light was at times somewhat harsh. That said, nice shot Grzegorz.

© Copyright Linda Johnston 2014

The conditions were fine for soaking up the sun or frolicking in the water, but not for flattering portraits. The sun was high and to camera camera right. In the above image the sun was flagged from Lauren with a white rip stop nylon diffusion panel, aka scrim, and light reflected to camera left.

© Copyright Peter Williams 2014

Behind the scenes - holding the reflectors was a challenge when the wind gusted!

© Copyright Neil Hobday 2014

In this image from Neil Hobday two reflectors were used - a California Sunbounce Micro Mini white/gold zebra to camera right and a white DIY diffusion panel acting as a reflector, low to camera left.

© Copyright Neil Hobday 2014

Another from Neil. I love the spontaneity in this image. Same set-up improved pose.

© Copyright Neil Hobday 2014

Again, same set-up. Nice one Neil.

In addition to various reflectors and diffusers Pete Williams & I both packed a single Elinchrom Quadra head kit into our respective backpacks.

© Copyright Grzegorz Iwanski 2014

Contrary to what some say, it is possible to create images in bright sunlight with portable battery flash without resorting to TTL triggers synchronising the flash at shutter speeds beyond the normal flash sync speed, which in most cases is 1/250th second.

What we did was simple, and simple without complications is good!

The direct sun was blocked or flagged from Lauren with my white diffusion panel creating what was in effect open shade. The Elinchrom Quadra was fitted with a deep 26cm high efficiency reflector (no diffusion or colour correction) and metered at around ƒ/8 +⅓, 1/125th 100 ISO. The daylight exposure was close at ƒ/8, 1/125th 100 ISO with the incident dome pointing to the sky opposite the sun and held close to Lauren's face. This gave an effective ration between the flash and ambient of 1:1 in this case the perfect balance. So no dark and under exposed sky here!

© Copyright Linda Johnston 2014

In this case the perfect balance, a stunning light from a hard and undiffused flash. The Quadra was running at around 25% output which is about the same as the average Speedlite or hot shoe flash at 100%. Basically, you can create this kind of image with Speedlites.

The Quadra was roughly 2 feet above Lauren's heard height and about 10 feet away at about 4 o'clock. Peter Williams acted as the VAL - Voice Activated Light Stand. The Quadra head was attached to a painters extension pole with a 1420 VAL Spigot instead of a light stand, which is far more practical on a beach with pebbles.

© Copyright Grzegorz Iwanski 2014

Did I say no dark skies here! Grzegorz (Greg) a great job with this image, the whole thing pulls together nicely.

Outdoor available light workshops are always fun as you don't know what to expect, especially in England. On the 7th June 2014 we were blessed with blazing sunshine and light broken cloud which acts like a scrim to take the edge of the sun.

Linda Johnston made the observation that the white Grid Cloth/RipStop diffusion panel was too much for her taste. Basically, the density of weave in the fabric reduces the intensity of the light and makes the shadows loose any edge definition, turning them milky.

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.