Wednesday, 28 March 2012

California Sunbounce Micro Mini

Today I had the pleasure to work with Sam J on a test shoot for a forthcoming workshop. We tried a number of set-ups and decided to share this one with you.

Sam J with sunlight in the studio

The only light source in this shot is a Elinchrom BXRi 250 fitted with a Rotalite 70 cm Deep Octa soft box with outer white diffuser only. The light was set well back from Sam to give a more defined shadow and provide a natural sunlight look to her hair. Light was reflected from the white wall onto Sam's face to right of camera, with a Sunbounce Micro Mini white screen filling in the rest of the shadow to camera left.

On 23rd April I'll be running an Introduction to Lighting for Studio Portraits in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. You can find more information on The Flash Centre website:

This beginners introductory one day hands-on workshop is a great opportunity to learn about how to shoot studio flash properly. The workshop has been designed to cover the knowledge and skills to give participants confidence to go away and create their own images without the distraction of techniques better suited to another workshop. There will be plenty of time to shoot, experiment with lighting and ask questions.

The workshop is about the participants gaining confidence to enhance their skills and not push the style of the workshop leaders. There will be two photographers on hand and possibly two models. We're waiting to hear if one of our favorite character models is around for an hour or so during the afternoon of the workshop.

The fee for the workshop is normally £130.00 or £99.00 if you book before 9th April 2012. This represents excellent value and includes expert tuition from experienced photographers/trainers. All refreshments, a light lunch and workshop notes in eBook form by email.

Sam J will join us for the day, she's a fine lass and fun to work with.

If you have any queries about Introduction to Lighting for Studio Portraits or any other training, do not hesitate to contact us.

Elinchrom and California Sunbounce products are available from numerous outlets in the UK including The Flash Centre in London, Birmingham and Leeds. Contact Simon Burfoot for more information or to place your order.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

California Sunbounce Pro

There's much debate about what's good and bad between the brands of portable reflectors; I've used most brand over the years and now have opted for the California Sunbounce range. They are versatile, well made, strong and long lasting.

The image above was created with a Sunbounce Pro 6' x 4' silver/white reflector; the silver side reflecting light from the sky behind the couple, the catch light in Holly's eyes provided by the low evening diffuse sunlight. Laurie to camera left has been burnt-in in post to place emphasis on Holly. I could have used the Micro Mini, but the Pro was the one handy at the time.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Simon Dack, Award Winning Press Photographer

On Monday 2nd April the Brighton & Sussex Photography User Group are honoured to present an evening with award winning press photographer Simon Dack.

Simon will talk about his career and experiences, he has worked locally and nationally, and now is a staff photographer for the Brighton based Argus local daily newspaper.

During his career Simon has photographed the bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton and as far afield as India & Bosnia. His awards include BT British Regional Photographer of the Year twice and the Southern News Photographer of the Year six times under different sponsors. He has also been nominated for Ilford Press Photographer of the Year and The Guild of Picture Editors Awards.

Come and join us for an evening to be remembered.

You can book your spot by visiting the BASPUG page now.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Lighting Tip, Avenger D200 Grip Head

The Avenger D200 Grip Head
An essential accessory for all photographers who light!

The Avenger D200 Grip Head is one of those bits of lighting kit which most will never have heard of, yet alone own. It is an inexpensive way of converting a standard lighting stand into a mini boom arm, a bit like the substantially more expensive and less portable C or Century stand.

Used with a Sunbounce Mini Micro reflector
you have the ideal way to attach the reflector to a light stand in the studio or on location.

I keep one handy to use with my California Sunbounce Micro Mini either as a below the chin chin fill for beauty set-ups. The joy of this set up is versatility; the D200 grip head has a number of differing diameter channels allowing you to hold rod or tubes as narrow as 3 mm (1/8th inch) up to 16 mm (5/8th inch) which is one of the film, TV and stills photography standard spigot attachment sizes!

16 mm (5/8th inch) metal tube or rod makes an ideal short boom arm

To make a boom arm all you need is a length of 16 mm (5/8th inch) steel or aluminium tube from the local DIY store and you're on your way! You can use this to attach and place either a hot shoe flash or Speedlite in a position where a light stand would normally get in the way of your shot. You can even create a flag to control light spill by using a piece of Rosco Photofoil. I've even used it to hold a Cookie or Cookaloris which is used to break up light into a pattern.

Using the D200 and a short boom allows you to position your flash so that the stand doesn't intrude into your shots.

The D200 allows you to use other accessories including hot shoe flash
or create a flag to control light spill using Rosco Photofoil

Cookie created with Rosco Photofoil attached to a boom on a light stand using the Avenger D200 Grip Head.

The Avenger D200 Grip Head is distributed in the UK by Manfrotto and is available from The Flash Centre (London, Birmingham, Leeds) contact Simon Burfoot  and other fine photography resellers.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Fotothon SmugMug Free Monthly Photo Competition

Fotothon March 2011 Calendar Winner
Darren Kearney. Clue, Brighton Back Passages

SmugMug have teamed up with Fotothon to bring you the online monthly photography competition with the opportunity to win a SmugMug Pro photo & video hosting account with unlimited uploads and storage,  the ability to customise layout and sell you images online.

The current clue (February 2012) is Portrait of Life; you have until midnight UK (UTC/GMT) time on Sunday 18th March to interpret the clue and upload you images for judging. There are no restrictions on photographic style, technique or equipment used. Shoot film if you please, or even use your camera phone. It's your vision and the final images that are important.

You can upload your images here. Good luck, we look forward to seeing your entries, the standard so far will make judging a challenge!

And on 5th May 2012 we'll be running a one day Fotothon event in Brighton UK. Watch this space for more information.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012

Entries for 2012 Landscape Photographer of the Year will open on 12th April. This competition is worth entering with a prize fund of £10k. You can find more information about entry here and see last winners here for some serious inspiration.

Not a LPOTY 2012 entry, but one of my images of the The South Downs National Park.
An accessible landscape full of surprises, this image was created from the side of a road!

I was lucky enough to meet the founder of the competition, Charlie Waite a few few weeks ago and ended up photographing him for this blog!

Charlie Waite by Ian Pack at the National Theatre with LPOTY 2011, February 2012

There's now no excuse for not entering the competition, there are a variety of categories suited to photographers of all levels or abilities. Landscape photography has to be on of the most accessible genres of photography to enter and with a little knowledge you can create some stunning images even with the simplest of equipment.

Go on, do it, you never know! And good luck.



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fotothon SmugMug January 2012 Winner

And the winner is . . .
Chris Shore from Burgess Hill

The Fotothon SmugMug online photography competition is an opportunity for photographers worldwide to compete online and interpret monthly clues. The competition was conceived from the annual Fotothon one day competition in Brighton UK as so many people expressed an interest in competing in an event with no restrictions on origination, technique or post-production. Basically, the clues are posted on Facebook and and it's up to the competing photographers wherever they may be in the world to interpret the clue and upload their two best images.

SmugMug kindly provide a dedicated upload facility and website where the images may be viewed and a monthly prize of a SmugMug Pro photo and video hosting account.

Chris Shaw with winning image receives his SmugMug prize from Daniel Venter of Fokus Studios

The first winner of the event also happens to be a runner up in the 2011 Fotothon Brighton event. His winning image was created during a BASPUG (Brighton & Sussex Photography User Group) event of Richie Wright a Fire Performer. Chris received his prize on Monday 12th March 2012 from Daniel Venter of Fokus Studios who presented his talk to the group on how the build and succeed as wedding portrait photographer in a crowded market place.

Well done, Chris. Let's see what you and the other contestants can do with the latest clue "Life Portrait". You can see the latest entries at

It's not too late to enter, the deadline for the current clue is Sunday 18th March 2012; go on, do it, you could win a valuable SmugMug Pro account! Your entries can be uploaded here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

600EX-RT Speedlite & ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter

The same, but different - optical and wireless capability and an extended zoom range. Nikon CLS watch out!

The future for Canon off camera flash users is about to change. Canon have introduced the 600EX-RT Speedlite and ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter, a true wireless system which relies on radio signals in the 2.4 Ghz band (like WiFi) networks. So no more line of sight, no more being overpowered by the ambient light, nothing but true wireless freedom.

Top view of the ST-E3-RT, identical to the 600EX-RT Speedlite!

I managed to get a look at the units at Focus on Imaging and first impressions are favorable. The UI (User Interface) has been totally redesigned and is mirrored on both the 600EX-RT Speedlite and ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter, so change one, the other updates automatically.

Until I can get my hands on them to play with, it's well worth visiting Sly Arena's blog for a full rundown: