Sunday, 14 May 2017

Pixapro PIKA200 in Bright Sun on Brighton Beach

My good friend Jamie Bannerman has just spent two days street casting along Brighton Seafront in Sussex, England to I took the opportunity to try the Pixapro PIKA200 (aka Godox AD200) to create a quick snap of Jamie working - a rare incident worthy of recording 😃


Here's the final image which effectively lit with 2 lights - the sun as the accent light and my Pixapro PIKA200 providing the key light with the bare bulb in place and controlled with the PiXAPRO 48cm Foldable Octagonal Softbox  without either the beauty dish deflector in place or the outer white diffuser.


Rather than a BTS (Behind The Scenes) frame Jamie shot a POV (Point of View) of me in action as I was photographer & light stand!


The boom is an old aluminium tripod leg with The SPIG fixing the clamp bracket in place. The bracket supplied with the PIKA200 isn't a secure fit so I'd rather carry the extra weight & bulk of the clamp bracket.

Another observation, the display on the back of the PIKA200 is great indoors in low light, outside in bright sun it's invisible!


This is the Av TTL frame as the camera interprets the scene - exposure was ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/3200th sec. Based on this I knew I had to get the PIKA200 in close and at full 1/1 power as close to Jamie as possible, hence nothing in front of the flash in the chosen modifier. The direct sun was intermittently slightly softened by high cirrus cloud. Location 51ºN close to 0ºE, Brighton, UK.


With PIKA200 providing the key light in classic butterfly lighting position (see shadow under nose) ISO100, ƒ/4, 1/2500th sec. Flash was about 4' from Jamie - I'd say this is the limit with this combination, but I had to work with what I had with me. Maybe the "standard" 12cm (4.75") hard open reflector, or even the 35mm fresnel head would have been a more efficient if harder option, which then wouldn't have matched the ambient light in the way the 48cm reflector has!



The Pixapro PIKA200 means my basic #EDC Every Day Carry or "Go Bag" is smaller & lighter in the form of a basic Tenba Messenger bag which contains a comprehensive kit with the exception of a light stand and weighs approximately 6kg. As I was working on a potentially crowded public beach the light stand was left in the car.

My thanks to Yang Wu, Ling Tang & team at Pixapro for providing such great service. If you're in the UK do support them as they do offer a 2 year warranty on their products and it really does save a pile of hassle by not dealing with a overseas supplier of potentially unknown provenance who may not be there when you need them . . .

Soon there will be workshops for both off camera flash & studio flash soon - keep an eye on my social media channels for more information.


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That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.



Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Creating a gobo pattern backdrop with a Pixapro PIKA200

My blogs are like buses, there's never one for ages and then two come along together!

This is another favourite from the May Day studio lighting tutorial with Justin Goh in Burgess Hill.




The lighting moved up a notch or two for this sequence of images as we progressed through various modifiers to the 120cm (4ft) octa easy-open soft box from Pixapro - the light was provided by a Pixapro CITI600 portable battery flash, which is becoming a studio favourite as there are no trailing cables and I can get 500 or so full power flashes from one fully charged battery. As I recall the flash was set to around 1/32 power. The soft box is double diffused, in other words both the inner & outer diffusers are in place along with the egg crate grid which along with the soft box being feathered away from Ibu controls spill giving a dark background.  The background is the plain white painted studio wall, nothing fancy.


I wanted to add depth and interest to the backdrop so decided to use a second light with a gobo projector attachment in place. This is where the fun starts as I decided to work exclusively with Pixapro battery flash, my gobo projector is the wonderful *Elinchrom Mini SpotLite in which steel gobos are inserted between two lenses (GoBO = Goes Between Optics).

The Pixapro PIKA200 (aka Godox AD200) fits the EL clamp bracket with a slight modification to the material on the moving clamp. To increase efficiency by stopping backward light leak I use a 144mm Speedring soft box adaptor - in controlled tests this gives between ⅓ & ⅔ stops power advantage with a variety of other modifiers on the S-Type & EL brackets.


To get the the subtle window blind effect I didn't need too much power from the PIKA200, most likely about 1/64 with the flash positioned about 12 feet behind and to camera right - the Mini SpotLite was gelled with a ½ CTB.


The background gobo flash is positioned purely for effect in this image - as you can see the image created by the gobo is somewhat small at this close range!

My thanks to Yang Wu, Ling Tang & team at Pixapro for providing such great service. If you're in the UK do support them as they do offer a 2 year warranty on their products and it really does save a pile of hassle by not dealing with a overseas supplier of potentially unknown provenance who may not be there when you need them . . .

There will be more workshops for both off camera flash & studio flash soon - keep an eye on my social media channels for more information.

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That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

Gelled White Background with Pixapro PIKA200

I recently had the pleasure of spending the day introducing Justin Goh to studio lighting with portable battery flash from the fine people at Pixapro with Ibu Babarinde modelling.

Here's one of my favourite images from the day!


2 x PIKA200 (aka Godox AD200) key light with a 48cm Octagonal soft box specifically designed to fit directly to the PIKA200 & Hybrid360 without the use of a clamp adaptor.


The soft box was positioned to camera left about 12" in front of Ibu, above head height with the centre of the light aimed at his eyes. The front diffuser & provided grid were in place with the beauty dish deflector removed. To darken the lower portion of the frame a piece of Black Wrap was clipped in place with a couple of C47 wooden clothes pegs!

The white background was about 6 feet from Ibu and lit with a second PIKA200 set to very low power with a Rosco Light Red gel attached to the 35mm fresnel attachment by means of a Gel Clip.

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.




Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Pixapro PIKA200 Godox AD200 Group Test


My PIKA200 battery flash from Pixapro in England arrived via Mark Ratcliffe last week (don't ask, long story, thanks Mark!) so before venturing out I decided to conduct a controlled comparative test.

The mains flash was included as this is a “portable” known quantity which is used at locations where main power is available. In 2010 I moved to the Elinchrom Quadra system in view of the true portability and additional 1 ƒ/stop of power. I began using the Godox speedlites last year in view of the lithium-ion battery which gives a high number of flashes without the need for a external battery pack, unlike hot shoe flash from the camera manufacturers and many independent makes. In the UK battery flash means that a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate isn’t needed.



I have to confess to being surprised by the results of my controlled output tests - yes, I’d expect the Quadra at 400 w/s to give a higher ƒ/number, but not the PIKA 200 - I think this is related to the shape of the flash tube and position within attached modifiers giving a more efficient spread of light.

Sizes of kit in the image above are all proportionate.


Multiblitz Profilux 200
Elinchrom Quadra
Pixapro PIKA200 / Godox AD200
Godox V850II Speedlite
Quoted Output (stored power)
200 w/s
400 w/s
200 w/s
80 w/s approx.
Power Source
Mains only
Gel Lead Acid or
Lithium Ion (Li-On)

Lithium Ion (Li-On)
Lithium Ion (Li-On)
Weight - includes all items shown in images
2,328g (5.13 lb)
3,670g Lead acid gel battery
(8.09 lb)

1,142g (2.52 lb)
534g (1.17 lb)
Trigger
Optical, PC cable, external third party
Elinchrom Skyport, optical, external third party
Pixapro ST-III / Godox X1, optical
Pixapro ST-III / Godox X1, optical
Incident metered output, standard reflector 1m from flash tube, ISO100, no diffusion in place
- all flash at 100% power, multiple pops after full recharge cycle
ƒ/29 - circular flash tube
(ƒ/22 + ½)

ƒ/38 - circular flash tube
(ƒ/32 +
)
ƒ/38 - 35mm fresnel head, linear flash tube (ƒ/32 + )
ƒ/38 - open face reflector, spiral flash tube (ƒ/32 +
)

ƒ/18 - fresnel head, linear flash tube zoomed to 35mm (ƒ/16 + )

I'll now be using the PIKA200s on a regular basis along with a Godox Speedlite to make a very portable & lightweight, mobile 3 point flash/strobe lighting kit.

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The SPIG 1420 - new stock now available


If you're looking for a compact & lightweight multipurpose lighting accessory, then The SPIG is just that - weighing in at around 3oz/85g & approx. 3" long with standard ⅝" mini pin/spigot, ¼"20 & ⅜"16 plus cold shoe adaptor - designed to fit securely to standard threaded ¾" painters extension poles and even bar clamps & locking pliers.









I designed The SPIG as I couldn't find another product to meet my lighting needs and solve challenges both on location & in the studio.



The SPIG is available as a Standard Kit which includes a ¼" - ⅜" thread adaptor or as the Off Camera Flash Kit which includes  a ¼" - ⅜" thread adaptor, mini ball head & cold shoe adaptor.



For now there is no online ordering available, so to place your order email thespig1420@gelclip.com and I'll send a Paypal invoice.

Click image to view larger

The SPIG is only available direct from me and ships worldwide.

You can see more of The SPIG in action on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The SPIG - Camera Gear Cart Light Stand


Using a gear cart as a light stand

The SPIG converts a painters pole into a light stand when you don't have the benefit of an assistant. My camera bag was used as ballast to steady the set-up and to reduce spill from the red gelled flash my Passport Colour Checker!



This set-up also works with a umbrella up to about 40" and soft box up to 80cm square - wind is a consideration when working like outside, so the heavier the load, the more ballast weight required!

Don't let your lighting be limited by light stands! See more of The SPIG on Facebook & Instagram.

The SPIG will be available shortly, I'm currently awaiting the arrival of new stock.

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Introduction to Exposure - Kindle & Print Editions


It's taken longer than expected, but my first photography book is now available from Amazon for Kindle or in print https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N4KBC49

The book is intended give you the knowledge and confidence to move your exposure mode from Auto or Program and enhance your understanding of how exposure works and how your digital camera records images. It will expand your creative horizons and allow you interpret your pre-visualisation of an image or scene.

My intention is not to overload readers with too much information or unnecessary jargon.

So far feedback is positive. I'm working on follow-up books including Exposure for Flash Photography this will cover working with flashes in the studio and on location, including small flash (speedlites and hot shoe flash), portable battery flash & studio mains powered mono blocs.

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.