Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 40 with Elinchrom Flash



It's amazing what can be packed into some bags with a little thought. I've been using the Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 40 as a day-to-day bag for 3 or 4 years now. As with all Think Tank Photo products it's exceptionally well made* and the layout thought through.

The kit illustrated in the image above is as exactly as packed when I travelled to London in 2012 with a group of local photographers to meet Charlie Waite, landscape photographer, author, founder of Landscape Photographer of the Year in UK & US and just a really decent sort of guy.

http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/shooting-charlie-waite-landscape.html

What's in the bag?

Less is more leaving me unencumbered by kit and consequently weight, but allowing me to concentrate on getting the shot.

The Elinchrom 56cm Portalite Octa soft box is a compact, lightweight and versatile piece of kit giving you a diffuse light source or even more diffuse light with a deflector in place. A beauty dish if you use a deflector and remove the from diffuser or remove the deflector and you have a very wide hard light.

From the top of frame, clockwise from left:

  1. Canon 5D MkII with 85mm ƒ/1.8 prime lens
  2. Elinchrom 56cm Portalite Octa soft box for RQ heads, plus connecting rod for deflectors (see below)
  3. Elinchrom Quadra Ranger pack & old style lead acid battery
  4. White & silver deflectors, 2'x2' sheet Rosco ½ CTS Grid Cloth, C47 wooden clothes pegs/pins
  5. Canon 35mm ƒ/2 prime lens - a compromise between weight/size and speed
  6. Elinchrom 2.5m Quadra lead & adaptor plate for the 56cm Octa
  7. 1420 VAL Spigot prototype
  8. Elinchrom RQ A head with Wilson Cap from The Flash Centre
  9. Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 40 shoulder bag - the bag features here is he original, not V2.0
It doesn't sound a lot, but the two lenses on full frame would cover my needs for this particular assignment. OK, there is no contingency kit but sometimes sense prevails - i.e. I was travelling by train to London during the afternoon/evening rush hours so didn't want or need to be burdened by my normal wheeled case with bag strapped on top!

Even with this inventory in the bag, there is still room for personal bits and pieces including an iPad, phone, water bottle(s) in the stretch pockets either end of the bag, or even a Speedlite etc if you're brave enough to go for a two light rig.


The 56cm Octa sits snugly in the rear outside pocket of the bag.



In the main compartment fit the Quadra head under the camera separated by a padded divider with the camera and lens wrapped in black protective fleece. It's not exactly a tight fit either.



There is sufficient space for the C47s, grid cloth & deflectors to slide between the bag & Quadra pack.



The 56cm Octa adaptor plate, Quadra lead and 35mm lens (wrapped in black fleece) and the prototype 1420 VAL Spigot neatly slip in to one of the expanding front pockets, leaving the other empty.



With care the Quadra lead may be coiled and the 56cm Octa adaptor plate sits within the coils with the lens inside the adaptor plate offering protection from knocks in transit.



That's it for now, don't forget to read about behind the scenes for the image of Charlie Waite.

http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/shooting-charlie-waite-landscape.html

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

Think Tank Photo bags ware available from many suppliers worldwide.

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.

* The friction material on some TTP shoulder straps is susceptible to wear rendering the anti-slip properties useless!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Lowepro Pro Roller x200 & Elinchrom Quadra Flash

Following on from my post about utilising the Lowepro Pro Roller x200, painters extension pole and my 1420 VAL Spigot as a portable light stand.

http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/1420-val-spigot-lowepro-pro-roller-x200.html

This blog will show the comprehensive Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kit in the x200.


This kit I find provides the basis for much of my location work. It may added to as necessary, but in this form it's packed and ready to go. The cameras and lenses are in a Lowepro Magnum 400 AW.

What's in the bag?
  1. 2 x Quadra A Heads with Wilson caps from The Flash Centre.
  2. 2 x 2.5m Quadra leads
  3. 1 x 5m Quadra lead
  4. 1 x Quadra controller
  5. 2 x Quadra batteries (not the new Lithium ones)
  6. 1 x Quadra battery charger
  7. 1 x 18cm Quadra fit standard reflector
  8. 1 x grid for 18cm Quadra fit standard reflector
  9. 1 x case with Skyport trigger and receiver for Speedlite, spare batteries etc
  10. 1 x Skyport receiver charger
  11. 1 x 13.5cm Quadra reflector modified with barn doors
  12. 1 x 56cm Elinchrom Portalite Octa softbox
  13. 1 x 60cm Elinchrom Portalite Square softbox NB I carry only one adaptor for this and the Octa
  14. 1 x Elinchrom small translucent umbrella
  15. 1 x Lastolite Ezybox to Quadra adaptor
  16. 1 x Elinchrom deflector set (silver, gold, white, translucent)
  17. 2 x Nano stand rip-offs
  18. 1 x short length 16mm aluminium tube wrapped with pipe insulation as a handle for a Quadra head
  19. 1 x 1420 VAL Spigot
  20. White grid cloth diffusion material
  21. ½ CTS Grid Cloth colour corrected diffusion material
  22. ½ CTB Grid Cloth colour corrected diffusion material
  23. Few feet of Black Wrap/Cinefoil for creating shoots and general light control
  24. 20" white translucent pop-up Lastolite reflector/diffuser
  25. 2 x double clips for attaching gels and/or diffusion material to 18cm reflector
  26. C47 Clothes pegs/pins and holdback spring clips
  27. Micro gaffer tape
  28. LEE Filters Colour Magic Saturates pack lighting filters
  29. LEE Filters Colour Magic Cosmetics pack lighting filters
  30. 1 x sandbag, empty
  31. Folder containing printed Quadra instruction manual, lighting modifer test sheets and Rosco Filter Facts
Outside the bag I may strap a California Sunbounce Micro Mini gold zebra/white and even a carbon fibre tripod.

That is a lot of kit in a relatively small bag! Lightweight lighting on the move.

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, 14 May 2014

1420 VAL Spigot & Lowepro Pro Roller x200

Back in October 2012 I blogged about one of the ways I utilise the Lowepro Pro Roller x200 rolling camera case http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/lowepro-pro-roller-x200.html

I'm still using the bag on location even though the current content has altered.

Over the last few weeks I've been exploring the multitude of uses for the 1420 VAL Spigot which I originally designed to convert a painters pole into a cost effective handheld lighting boom.

Buy your 1420 VAL Spigot online

Not everyone chooses to work with an assistant or is lucky enough to know a decent VAL (Voice Activated Light stand). Many of the additional applications and uses described elsewhere in this blog show the versatility of a singular lightweight and compact photography lighting accessory, namely the 1420 VAL Spigot.

Enter the Lowepro Pro Roller x200




When the people at Lowepro designed the Pro Roller x200 someone thought to put a ¼" 20 UNC adaptor on the drag handle to take lighting accessories. This is fine if you want a 3 foot light stand, which is why I've worked out how to use your 1420 VAL Spigot boom pole when assistance isn't too hand.

There are two options:


Keep the bag upright and extend the drag handle. To the extended handle attach your boom pole with 1420 VAL Spigot attached. In this case I've attached the pole with adjustable elastic bungees. You could use electrical tape or even gaffer tape. Bungees are quick, efficient, don't leave a sticky adhesive residue and are reusable.

The main problem with this method is the Pro Roller x200 is inherently unstable when in this position, which is why I prefer the following method.


Put the bag onto it's work support strut. Put your pole tipped with the 1420 VAL Spigot through the top carry handle loop. Attach the end of your pole to the strut by a secure method.


I use a looped length of Para Cord and a couple of key chain karabiner clips. This method creates what is in effect a cantilever allowing a stable base for your pole. I've extended my pole to 3m/10' aided by this method. It's also a reason I favour the Harris 3 Section 10 foot Extension Pole as the grip at the end has a hole which is ideal for attaching a clip by means of more Para Cord.


A snap of Monty, for no reason other than he's a cute dog:)


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.




Monday, 12 May 2014

1420 VAL Spigot with Frio Cold Shoe for Off Camera Flash

 


1420 VAL Spigot with James Madelin's Enlight Photo Frio Cold Shoe. The versatile lightweight lighting accessory designed to work with most ¼" 20 UNC and ⅝" 16mm lighting accessories. Make a lighting boom from a painters extension pole. More applications elsewhere on this blog http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/1420-val-spigot-practical-applications.html

www.gelclip.com order yours online for next day despatch.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Avenger D200 vs Kupo KCP200 Grip Head

The grip head is one of the most useful bits of grip in any lighting photographer and film makers bag. They allow you to position lights, scrims, overheads, diffusers where you want them. Until recently I used Avenger D200 grip heads but experienced difficulty obtaining them in 2013 so sought an alternative - Kupo Grip to the rescue.

Quick iPhone snap with a touch of PS processing!

Basically, both the Avenger D200 and Kupo Grip KCP200 are well made from cast metal. Kupo have taken their design up a notch or two with a solid cast locking handle instead of the rubber over metal of the D200, the profile of the slots which take rods, poles, spigots etc on the KCP200 is flatter with small grooves allowing profiles other than round to be used. The friction area on the KCP200 is toothed with a soft metal friction plate, rather than the smooth sides and fibre friction surface of the D200. This means the Kupo Grip product secures the head with less tendency to slipping. Both heads will accommodate rods etc from around 2mm to in excess of 16mm ⅝" - I regularly use both of these grip heads with either a DIY scrim frame made from ¾" plastic waste pipe or a California Sunbounce Micro Mini reflector.

Avenger D200 2.5in Grip Head
http://www.avenger-grip.com/cms/site/avenger/home/search_product/product_detail?productCode=D200

Kupo Grip KCP200 2.5in Grip Head
http://www.kupogrip.com/2-1-2-in-grip-head-with-big-handle-black/

Imported in UK by Ianiro
http://www.ianirouk.com/product.php?ProductID=174


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

1420 VAL Spigot - Painters Extension Poles

This post is primarily for anyone who has bought the 1420 VAL Spigot or who is thinking of buying one to make their own lighting boom.

Order your 1420 VAL Spigot Online

There are any number of painters extension poles available in DIY and home improvement stores. I have researched these products and have a few suggestions and points to look for when buying.

Points to Look For


  • Most poles are supplied with a plastic taper over the tip. Unscrew this to see if the thread under is metal. If plastic don't buy it as it won't be up to the job of making a strong lighting boom.
It's what's under the taper which is important. On the right a cheap and nasty plastic tip.
Notice that the thread is only held in place with the metal punched into the plastic.
  • Does the locking mechanism has a decent twist grip or even click button lock for the extensions? Painters extension poles which rely on twisting the inner pole to lock are generally inferior quality and at the lower end of the price range. Avoid as you would a communicable disease!
L-R Twist grip on a round cross-section pole. Flat sided cross section with a push to lock mechanism.
  • Some poles will have a fibre glass outer tube which is both lightweight and strong. Some will be coloured which aids visibility from a safety point of view.
  • Are the extensions round or flat sided profile? Flat sided tend to be stronger with less flex and don't twist. They also are a feature of the more expensive painters extension poles.
Flat sided cross section prevents twisting.



UK Buyers
I use Screwfix mainly as there is one local and they can get stock next day if necessary. You can also order online to collect in store or for home delivery.

B&Q, Wickes, Homebase all sell poles of varying quality. The models mentioned below I own and use.

Harris 3 Section Extension Pole

I've used one of these with the prototype Spigot for 3 years and it's still going strong, for less than £12.00 it's a bargain. The round profile isn't an issue as the twist grips allow for secure tightening and ease of handling with gloved hands.

Purdy Pro Pole

This is my most recent acquisition. A 2 section pole which extends from 4 - 8 feet. Sturdy and lightweight. Originally Wickes were selling something similar for about £12.00. Unfortunately they have downgraded the specification and their version now has a plastic thread.

For some people a shorter boom may be desirable, especially where space is a consideration.
No-Nonsense is not a brand I am familiar with but this pole is quality. 2 section, extends to 50" and a snip at £9.99.
http://www.screwfix.com/p/no-nonsense-superlock-decorating-extension-pole-30-50/81178

The equivalent Purdy offering is £22.39 and I can see no difference in the build quality.
http://www.screwfix.com/p/purdy-fibreglass-professional-paint-roller-extension-pole-2-4/73515

Until recently the Shur-Line range of painters extension poles were only available in the US, they are now available in the UK. I haven't actually used one but if the likes of Joe McNally and David Hobby (ask Strobist) use them, they must be OK!
http://www.decoratingdirect.co.uk/viewprod/s/SHUR-LINE_EASY_REACH_SCREW-FIT_TELESCOPIC_EXTENSION_POLES/

US Buyers
Living in England does limit my knowledge of the US market! I will recommend the Shur-Line Easy Reach Telescopic extension poles for the aforementioned reasons.

Shur-Line
http://www.shurline.com/products/frames-and-poles.aspx

Home Depot
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Shur-Line-Easy-Reach-60-in-Adjustable-Extension-Pole-06570L/100534761

Australia Buyers
Bunnings
http://www.bunnings.com.au/shurline-easy-reach-extension-painters-pole_p1560131


In conclusion, I use the Harris 3 section pole as it's a reasonable price, extends longer than the Purdy, surprisingly it is also lighter.

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.





Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Elinchrom Quadra & 1420 VAL Spigot - Compact Lightweight Lighting On The Move

One of the reasons I designed the 1420 VAL Spigot was to enable me to use a painters extension pole with a threaded metal tip as a lighting boom. Since the prototype was machined almost five years ago I've used it regularly inside and out, on jobs or at lighting demonstrations to photography groups.

Elinchrom Ranger Quadra A head on a 1420 VAL Spigot

As the lightweight lighting and strobist movements grow I'm devising a whole host of new applications which are shown elsewhere in this blog.

Compact and lightweight kit all stowed inside the 18cm reflector

This is something I'd like to share, a compact way to pack a single Elinchrom Ranger Quadra head into a standard 18cm reflector, which is a better option than the supplied 13.5cm standard reflector as it gives about a stop more output.

Kit List


  • Elinchrom Ranger Quadra A head
  • 2.5m cable
  • Sheet of white Grid Cloth (LEE 430, Rosco 3030)
  • Sheet of ½ CTS Grid Cloth (Rosco 3082 diffusion & daylight to tungsten colour correction with less red)
  • 4 x small fold back spring clips to attach diffusion material to reflector
This combination gives you a number of options, add the 56cm Octa into the equation and a Sunbounce Micro Mini and you have a pretty good one head lightweight portable flash kit ready to go and shoot in both daylight or tungsten.

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.

For those interested the above images were shot in bright harsh direct sunlight diffused with Rosco 3030 Grid Cloth.