New lighting!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FrankieTDouglas, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Okay, so rarely do I "talk shop" about camera bodies and lenses. I couldn't even tell you what new lenses are out there for Canon... once I found what I needed, I stopped looking.


    I will geek out about lighting. Pretty easily.

    In the trunk of my car, I carry a lighting studio. Two Alien Bees 800s and a 1600. A Vegabond battery unit, an assortment of umbrellas, a parabolic, medium softbox, various reflector boards, stupidly heavy tripod, light stands, 10-40 degree reflector grids, Cybersync triggering system, and around 200 feet of power cords.

    And, I just submitted an order to round out the studio and basically fill in most of the gaps. Around Monday, the following should be arriving...

    Alien Bee 1600
    parabolic reflector
    22" white high output beauty dish
    mainframe unit along with barndoors
    a backup transmitter
    both a 13' light stand and a backdrop stand
    a new silver/white umbrella to replace the one that died during the last windy shoot
    and bags for various items

    Pretty stoked. The reason for this purchase? Setting out soon on an 11 day road trip across the nation (see: link in my signature, also the opportunity that enabled me to round out the gear for the trip), with plans to make 17 new photos in 7 different cities. The trip is slightly bohemian, but certainly an adventure. And I'll be putting all of that equipment to use with some of the sketches mapped out so far!

    At the end of the trip, I'll arrive in Maine, where I'll be leading photography workshops, including diving into the new Photoshop CS5 with students. Shaping up to be a good beginning to the summer!
  2. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2010
  3. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Sounds really sweet but you left out one thing…maintenance request for a bigger trunk for your car :p
    So you really like your Alien Bees, what do you recommend for starters in a small space and where have you found the best prices/service?
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y

    I love your work, and will surely be following your updates!

    What cities are you planning on stopping by? Minneapolis, by chance :p
  5. FrankieTDouglas thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Well, I order my lights straight from the company.

    Great products, FANTASTIC service. If there is ever anything wrong with something, a simple phone call and then i just mail it in. Turnaround is great for getting the gear back and in fantastic working order.

    Suggestions for a purchase? Well, I'm not sure what you're wanting to photograph, but two Alien Bee 800 lights and 3 48" umbrellas (2 shoot-thrus and one silver/white) would be a good start.

    That's a package offer. The default lights are the 400 models. Now these work fine in small spaces, but I think are 160 WS. Not what you need if you take them outside in daylight at any point.

    Also, be sure to purchase a transmitter and receivers. I'm currently using the standard CST transmitter and CBR receivers. This way, there are no cords running around between you and your lights to fire them.

    The Cyber Commander is a great system, though a bit more expensive. I'll probably upgrade to it within the next year, but am fine where I am currently. Its biggest advantage is being able to control power output from your lights, straight from the hot shoe device. That way, i could put a light 13' feet in the air and never have to lower it to simply pull the power down and adjust. I could do all of that from the camera.

    And Minneapolis? Yep! The trip goes from: Louisiana, Springfield, MO, Ames, Iowa, Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, NYC, Boston, Maine
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    For a smaller space, AB400's are fine, and you'll get a more useful power range out of them than 800's. All Paul C. Buff products are direct sales only, they don't do resellers.

  7. tekmoe macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2005
    Very nice. I will be interested to see how this turns out!
  8. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Thanks compuwar!
    FrankieTDouglas, is this spring/summer travel or a once a month trip to all those cool places? Glad you made this thread because folks like me starting out may do fine but the lighting from other sources is overlooked to say the least. Most I've thought about was getting an SB-800/900 and calling it a day until as of late looking at photo forums where folks take the time to setup some lighting just so ;)
  9. FrankieTDouglas thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    This is a special trip to kick off the summer. I've traveled around to various parts around places I've lived to make images, but haven't ever just road tripped it out for imagemaking. All started because I wanted to do a certain photo with someone in Minneapolis. I had to drive from Louisiana to Maine anyway, to teach, so thought, why not, just make a big trip out of it.

    As for lighting, it is the difference in snapshots and really well executed pieces. Often when I go outside, I just make sure it isn't raining. Otherwise, how the sun is shining doesn't matter TOO much to me, because I know I can light around it. It's really only important to me in background settings. I still prefer shooting late in the day so buildings look nice, but that can't always be done because of schedules, etc.

    For reference, here is the lighting equipment laid out before making a photo awhile back. I think there were 13 strobes in total, powered by a generator and a battery pack. Some were mine, some were the schools, some were borrowed from other photographers. It was pretty fun just seeing how much could be lit correctly in one actual snap.


    And the finished photo...

  10. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    Wow, great picture! The lighting really is superb, and provides a very surreal image.

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