Wednesday, 30 April 2014

1420 VAL Spigot available to order online

The wait is over, the 1420 VAL Spigot is now available to order online

Click the link to order yours now http://bit.ly/1hWb7zD


The 1420 VAL Spigot is available with or without a sturdy metal cold shoe flash adaptor.


Order two 1420 Val Spigots and two Cold Shoe flash adaptors and I'll give you a FREE connecting bar so you can make a double speedlite, flash or lighting adaptor.


With the aid of the connecting bar you can fix a light to any convenient pole, tree or whatever with a metal cam lock web strap. Plastic buckles will not be strong enough as you need to pull the strap VERY tight.


Double or multiple flash adaptors need not be limited to hot shoe flash with the 1420 VAL Spigot and connecting bar.



You can even attach your lights to a bar clamp.

Click the link to order yours now http://bit.ly/1hWb7zD

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 grouphttps://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, 28 April 2014

1420 VAL Spigot Double Flash Bracket

There will be times when it's desirable or necessary to use multiple flash heads or Speedlites to increase output and reduce recycle times between flashes. With Speedlites there are a few custom solutions on the market which can be pricey.

Double Speedlite Adaptor


Using two 1420 VAL Spigots and a length of aluminium bar I've created a simple solution which will accept ¼" 20 UNC female threaded cold shoe adaptors such as the Enlight Photo Frio.


I believe that kit and accessories should have multiple uses which is why I don't own a multiple Speedlite adaptor. Most photographers who work with Speedlites will own a brolly adaptor bracket, such as the Manfrotto 026 Lite Tite Swivel or the Kupo Grip KS-101 Umbrella Bracket which is also more suited to the bigger and parabolic brollies because of the larger grip area.

Unlike specially made multiple flash adaptors each light may may be adjusted individually if required.


Kit List
  • 2 x 1420 VAL Spigots
  • 1 x ¾" 1420 Joining Bar
  • 1 x Kupo KS-039 Hot Shoe Adaptor
  • 1 x Frio Cold Shoe
  • 1 x Manfrotto Lite Tite Swivel
  • 1 x ⅝" spigot
  • 1 x Super or Convi Clamp
If Speedlites down give you enough power, you can always rig a couple of Elinchrom Ranger Quadra A heads connected to individual power packs giving a potential 800w or the equivalent of 16 (yes, sixteen) average Speedlites or hotshot flash!


You can't fix Quadra's or for that matter ⅝" fitting lights to multiple Speedlite adaptors. 


If you loose the brolly this set-up can be used with a diffusion panel. With a longer bar separation between the lights can be increased giving wider coverage without too much overlap of lights. 

Tilt the lights outward without a modifier in place for a direct broad light source.

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.





Wednesday, 23 April 2014

1420 VAL Spigot - Practical Applications

Applications for my 1420 VAL Spigot go beyond purely being fixed to the end of a painters extension. Here I show how the 1420 VAL Spigot may be used when out in woodland using trees instead of light stands.

Lighting, travelling lightweight

With the aid of nothing more than a webbing load strap you can attach your 1420 VAL Spigot to a tree simply by passing the strap through the transverse holes and securing the strap around the tree trunk and pulling VERY tight.
I favour metal cam lock buckles as you can really pull the web strap tight.


It's amazing how many people stop and take an interest when they see the Village Idiot with a flash attached to a tree. Andy and his partner were intrigued so it would have been rude of me not to do a quick snap for them using the set-up in the image above.


The MacGuyver Tree Boom

The painters pole isn't exactly compact, but it is lightweight and if you're working with a VAL (Voice Activated Light stand) or assistant, then frankly, it's their problem to schlep it around;)

This is a simple solution which will avoid VALs over exerting themselves, all you need are 3 x 3ft lengths of good quality paracord a camera bag or other suitable weight. Here I had the Quadra controller and battery adding some weight, but a log or rock would suffice.


Crappy iPhone snap, but you get the idea!

Take one loop of paracord, loop it around tree and insert painters pole as illustrated.


Twist paracord using pole until very tight. Friction will prevent slipping as will the rough surface of the tree bark. This also works with street light columns etc when is a less wooded urban environment.


Take one length or paracord and secure to the other with a Prusik knot. This is a friction based hitch used in many outdoor activities which when a load is applied locks tight. But when the load is released the knot moves smoothly.

Attach the loop to which you've attached the Prusik knot to the handle end of your painters pole (black cord above). A slip loop is sufficient for this. The end of the Prusik knot cord (orange cord above) should be attached to the weight of your choice.



Once this done attach your light to the 1420 VAL Spigot on the thread end of the painters pole. The height/angle/position of the pole is adjusted by sliding the orange cord along the black cord. You can also do this in the studio with a light stand and sand bag. Use the sand bag as a weight for the light stand & as the counter balance for the boom by way of the paracord. With the conventional set-up of counter weight attached to the boom you need to adjust the weight on the boom according to the weight on the business end. With this method, if you decide to change the light or modifier, there is no need to remove the weight from the boom in order to do so. All that happens is the paracord goes slack. As soon as you add a light, tension is regained.


The Bar Clamp


Many bar clamps available in DIY and hardware stores have a ¾" bar which is a perfect fit to the 1420 VAL Spigot. These clamps are actually very strong and I'm happy attaching a Speedlite with a 60cm Lastolite Ezybox to one.


As one would expect, if you can use a Speedlite, there's no reason why a lightweight portable flash such as an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra head can't be used.



And do not forget that the 1420 VAL Spigot is designed to fit both in line and at 90º!


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.






Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Off Camera Flash - Get Your Flash on a Pole

About 3 or 4 years ago I had a local metal worker turn an adaptor for me in order to convert a painters extension pole into a lighting boom which would take standard ⅝" 16mm lighting accessories.

Prototype VAL Spigot in use at a lighting demo for Brighton Photographers Group in 2011
with Ben Potter, one of the best VALs in the business

I did look at other products in the market but found that they weren't suited to me for a number of reasons, including some variation between manufacturing tolerances on painters pole threads.

The adaptor I designed uses a thumb screw to secure the accessories to the end of the pole, not an internal thread which can and will work loose unless secured with some sort of retro fit screw. 

Enter the 1420 VAL Spigot adaptor

Why VAL some ask? Voice Activated Light stand aka assistant or anyone willing to hold the pole where instructed for short periods of time.

The 1420 VAL Spigot
To quote Rick Friedman, Board of Directors, Boston Press Photographers Association
"I have a 1420 VAL Spigot in my bag, just in case.
If it gets me out of a fix it's well worth the price!"

This accessory is machined from aluminium by a small family business close our base here in Sunny Sussex. It benefits from ¼" 20 UNC thread on the tip, ⅝" 16mm spigot, both film, TV & still photography standards for lightweight lighting grip accessories. It also gives the option of fitting inline or at 90º which may be of use to some.

The 1420 VAL Spigot will fit the majority of painters extension poles with a threaded metal tip - we do not suggest or recommend using cheap poles with plastic threaded tips as they are prone to breaking.

In my experience painters extension poles are built to take daily use in the building and decorating business and cost substantially less than boom poles from a photographic manufacturer. At April 2014 prices expect to pay less than £40.00 (40 GB Pounds) for a 1420 VAL Spigot and quality painters pole which will extend up to 3 metres.

Get your flash on a pole

The 1420 VAL Spigot is a compact, light weight, versatile photography lighting accessory

The 1420 VAL Spigot not only fits the tip of many painters extension poles, but any number of rods, bars or tubes between 13 & 19mm diameter providing you think they'll take the load - we'll not make any recommendations here only suggestions!

Variable jaw bar clamp accessory created with a 1420 VAL Spigot

Another application we've found for the 1420 VAL Spigot is as a lighting clamp when fitted to a bar clamp used by wood workers. Many of these clamps have a ¾" bar which is a perfect fit into the holes on the 1420 VAL Spigot, meaning you can fit lights to door tops, door frames, pillars, shelves, and tables.



Very soon the 1420 VAL Spigot will also be available with a cold shoe adaptor so all you need is painters pole and you have a ready made lighting boom or stand.

Painters extension poles are available from many hardware or DIY stores and specialist painting and decorating suppliers. In the UK our favourite brand is Harris and in the US we're reliably informed that Shur Line pole are one of the best.

The 1420 Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK or direct from www.gelclip.com or via www.facebook.com/gelclip 

1420 VAL Spigot - the accessory to get you out of a fix!




 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sunlight in the studio without daylight

I see many product photographs where they have been lit flat and against a white background as that's what many photographers think their clients want. Every now and again why not shoot something a little different and show your client more creative and thought out images?




These images were shot for a client who has yet to publish, but has agreed to my sharing a few with you.

I wanted to move away from the aforementioned white background pack shot and create something with a brighter summery feel.

The background is an old Welsh slate roof tile recovered from a rubbish/garbage skip, with permission of the owner.

My key light an Elinchrom Maxi Spot 40cm bright polished deep reflector with a BRX500 head. Without modification this gives a hard directional or collimated beam of light, around 29º. Light at 11 o'clock feather a couple of degrees camera right, 7' distant, 4' above set. Exposure +/-0 as I tend not to worry about aperture stops when working like this. If it looks right, it is right. Shutter would have been 1/160th second so no ambient crept in.

I wanted to add a touch of warmth so a 20"x24" sheet of Rosco #3443 ½ CTS (Colour Temperature Straw) was clipped in front of the light together with a sheet of Rosco #3007 Light Tough Spun which softens the shadow edges giving the authentic sunlit look, without turning the shadows milky like solid diffusion sheets. CTS is less red that the more popular CTO (Colour Temperature Orange), though the subtlety doesn't always show when reproduced via the Internet and/or on uncalibrated displays!

Both Rosco & Lee Filters offer a wide range of sheet correction filters from 10"x12" to 20"x24" and wider rolls for more ambitious projects.

The fill light was a Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa, Ranger Quadra head etc with the white front diffuser in place, to camera left around 7 o'clock, 2' distant and 2'6" above the set, metered at -1 stop under key light just to fill the shadows. Both lights were metered individually with the white disk pointing to the light from the main point of the set. No overall meter reading was used.


CLS of the set-up
Members of The LIGHT Side 
will understand the acronym

Key to diagram:
  1. Elinchrom Maxi Spot 40cm bright polished deep reflector with a BRX500 head.
  2. Rosco #3443 ½ CTS (Colour Temperature Straw).
  3. Rosco #3007 Light Tough Spun.
  4. Reclaimed Welsh Slate roof tile.
  5. Beads and voil bag.
  6. Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa, Ranger Quadra head etc.
  7. Canon 100mm ƒ/2.8 EF macro on 5DII.
Elinchrom flash are available from The Flash Centre. Contact Simon Burfoot and don't forget to mention this blog and The LIGHT Side Facebook group.






Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Off Camera Flash Gear - Ianiro Kupo Grip

There is a load of gear on the market for photographers who shoot with Speedlites and small hot shoe flashes. The good people at Ianiro UK have created a off camera flash essentials kit providing you with durable and sturdy kit which will give many years of service.

The items when bought together represent a saving of between £10 and £13.40. Were you to buy similar items from another big name manufacturer the same kit would cost between £118.00 & £161.00

It’s been said before, buy cheap, buy twice. Whilst Kupo Grip & Support is less expensive than other brands it is not inferior in any way. I started using Kupo gear about a year ago after experiencing difficulty obtaining Manfrotto gear. In my experience Kupo Grip is solid, well made with an excellent finish.

What's in the kit?


Handy Stand, also known as the Nano stand. Compact when folded (49cm), weighs 1.1kg and extends to 2.27m



Umbrella Swivel Bracket allows you to use brollies with a shaft diameter up to 8mm. The large friction lock will allow use of larger brollies.



Hot shoe adaptor fits directly to the thread on the end of the 055 Handy Stand or to the Umbrella Swivel Bracket with the aid of a Universal ⅝” Stud.



Camera Flash Clamp allows you to position you flash when and where it’s inconvenient with a lighting stand. I use these on the end of a lightweight ⅝” boom or even with the help of my 1420 VAL Spigot on the end of a painters extension pole.



Universal ⅝” Stud - you can never have too many of these which is why there are two included in this deal!


The kits

Off camera Flash Essentials Kit 1           
1 x 055 Handy Stand
1 x KS-101 Umbrella Bracket
1 x KS-039 Hot Shoe Adaptor     
1 x KCP-390 Camera Flash Clamp
2 x KS-003 5/8” Snap in Pin or KS-017 Universal 5/8” Stud

Total Price £88.20

Off Camera Flash Essentials Kit 2           
2 x 055 Handy Stand
1 x KS-101 Umbrella Bracket
1 x KS-039 Hot Shoe Adaptor     
1 x KCP-390 Camera Flash Clamp
2 x KS-003 5/8” Snap in Pin or KS-017 Universal 5/8” Stud

Total Price £120.60

All prices are ex VAT, Shipping per package for next day delivery (except Sat and Sun) £9.00

To place your order either contact the Ianiro office to order by phone or email sales@ianirouk.com and someone will call you back. Payment can be made by debit or credit cards (except Am Ex) or Ianiro can provide bank details for BACS transfers.

When ordering be sure to mention OFFER CODE TLS/01

Offer posted Wednesday 02 April 2014. My thanks to the guys at Ianiro UK for providing the images.