Lifesaver

Ask me who went on holiday with camera, associated lenses and tripod, then realised that the tripod quick release plate was back at home on his other camera…….what a wally…..never a truer word was spoken!

However technology and modern living to the rescue….ta da!

A quick search on iPad to find that the quick release plate was available on Amazon…bingo. Also available for next day delivery to Amazon locker at holiday site…awesome.

Thanks Amazon…a real lifesaver.

P.S. I had been meaning to get a second quick release plate……honest!

… beyond the unknown!

Well the photo booth didn’t quite go to plan as I brought everything I needed except my lighting stands!!! What a wally!

However being a inventive chap I cobbled together a lighting stand from my tripod and a lighting boom. It did mean I was restricted to one studio flash, but one was a hell of a lot better than none.

My wifes mum & dad were over the moon with the pictures, however I know that they could be better. Please judge for yourself:

Fred & Judith’s Golden Wedding Anniversary & Judith’s 70th Birthday Party

It was a good experience, everyone was smashing and very enthusiastic. Having the lighting stands and a second light would have helped or someone to assist with a reflector. It was a learning process and I got a lot out of it.

Fear of the unknown…

My mother in law is having a birthday afternoon tea next Saturday. I have offered to run a photo booth so we can get images of all the friends and family. Should be a lively and fun party. I haven’t done anything like this before. I have the equipment as I have slowly been building up my studio flash equipment and modifiers, but have yet to trying all out in anger. I think I will try out a paramount or clam shell setup.

image

I plan to use the following:

  • Background stand with grey backdrop cloth
  • Lastolite Lumen8 400 studio flash
  • 140cm octagon softbox
  • Stand with sandbags
  • Silver / white reflector
  • Wireless flash trigger
  • Nikon D7200
  • Nikon 50mm f1.8 D AF Lens
  • Tripod
  • Gaffer tape and clamps
  • Extention lead

It will be good practice and experience for me, but I must admit I am somewhat nervous as I don’t want to make a hash of it. If all goes to plan I will post some of the results after the event.

I would be glad if any readers have experience of running this type of event have any advice.

Nifty 50

I have been after a relativly fast 50mm lens now for quite some time and was lucky to get a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D at a very good price on ebay new. It is light, fast and as I have a Nikon D7200 so the auto focus works. As this lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera.

I am looking forward to trying this lens out with some street photography, with the up upcoming Photo24 2016 providing an ideal chance.

I tested it out in my garden last weekend on some of the plants and got some lovely results. A couple of these are shown below:

Additional processing on the above images was made using Color Effex Pro from the Nik Collection, which is now free and highly recomended.

Calumet Spring Open Day

On Saturday I went to the Calumet store in Drummond Street London for their Spring Open Day with my brother. A very welcoming event which had a nice buzz of people milling about the store. Various stands were set out with trade reps explaining their products. Discounts varied from 10% to 30% across the board.

After much deliberation I ended up getting the Photospeed Panoramic test pack. This contains 4 sheets of all 6 of the Photospeed Panoramic printer papers that can be used on A4 printers. I have been really been interested in trying these panoramic papers out and the 20% discount offered was perfect. The pack also includes a pack of A4 papers to print and send off for free ICC Printer profiling. I will be taking advantage of this service before I use the panoramic papers.

My brother was impressed by the Manfrotto geared tripod heads and ended up getting the Manfrotto MHXPRO-3WG 3 Way Geared Head. Another 20% saving on this tripod head meant he walked away with a big grin on his face that was hard to shift for the rest of the day. It will be nice to see how he gets on with it once it is fitted to his tripod.

There were also talks, free hot-dogs and a prize draw to enter. This is the first time I had been to one of Calumets in store events, and I will definitely be looking out for others to attend in the future. Highly recommended.

OMG how big is this softbox!!!

One of the areas I am keen to improve on and experiment with is portraiture, and to this end I have been slowly building up equipment to help me do this. This includes a couple of studio flash units and some modifiers (i.e. snoot, spill killers (reflectors), umbrellas etc.). However what I didn’t have was a softbox. I remembered what my tutor said when I was doing my City & Guilds courses that ‘…the bigger the softbox the better…‘!

So with this in mind I researched on the internet for specs and prices. Always one to spot a bargain I found the following on special offer on Amazon for just under £30 (including free shipping) instead of just under £100:

Neewer 140 cm Octagon Softbox, with Bowens Mount Speedring

However I see that the price has increased since I ordered a couple of days ago to just over £40, so I feel I already have a bargain. Update: The price is now over £60! 

It arrived quickly and went together fairly easily. Though someone of slighter frame might find that they struggle a bit with the 8 metal struts which bend to form the ribs of the octagonal softbox (a bit like those of an umbrella).

OMG when fully put together this octagonal softbox is 140cm (about 4′ 6″), it is much bigger than I envisioned! But it should produce a very beautiful soft light when used with my Lastolite Lumin8 400W studio flash unit. I was lucky to pick up two of these very robust studio flashes on eBay 2nd hand, and in almost as new condition.

My initial impressions are that this octagonal softbox is well made and seems to be very robust.

Once I have had a chance to set it up properly and take some images I plan to share them.