Strobist Kit 1

The most important thing to have in mind when using Strobist should be the portability and the weight of this equipment in relation to the use and and the ability to move a studio equipment of flashes to a location. Another important aspect is that the technique used with Strobist is simple but effective.

Strobist

The portable electronics flashes are most suitable for this practice and there is a large variety of brands and benefits. The ideal is if they have plenty of power so they can to deal effectively with outdoors situations where there might be a lack of light, where it may be required that the ratio is 0 EV or sometimes + 1EV. In my case, I always use M (manual) and never TTL (thru the lens) and can there for acquire models that only work with manual, such as the flashes Yongnuo 560 of Chinese origin, which works very well.

Rechargeable batteries are essential to this practice and the best ones are the nickel-hydride metal batteries (Ni-MH). I use those of 2700 mAh and they work very well and they recharge within a reasonable  time. Obviously you will need chargers for these batteries and there are a large variety of models, with space for 4 or 8 batteries and with various charging times.

Strobist  My DIY Battery and PB820

The alternative to the rechargeable battery is to have batteries at one’s disposal. This way you can make more shots and maintain the recycle time for the flash. There are several models among which the batteries PB820 from Godox work very well. There is also the possible to make them oneself. I did two that work well, in addition to the two PB820 that I bought a while ago. I use the home made batteries with the Metz 32CT3 flashes and the ones from Godox with the  Yongnuo 560, the Canon 580EXII and Canon 430EX .

Strobist  Westcott umbrella

The alternative to the harsh light of direct flash can be an umbrella. By bounce the flash light into the umbrella or pass the light through a translucent umbrella you will increase the illuminated surface and hence  the light will be more diffuse and enveloping. The umbrella is fast and easy to carry in relation to other diffusion accessories such as the light boxes. The are many different brands and prices for the umbrellas. The bigger the umbrella is, the smoother the light will get.

Strobist  Manfrotto 026 + Hot Shoe Kaiser

You will need a ball head for the umbrella, for example the Manfrotto 026, and a foot with a synchronization cable PC, like the Kaiser 1301. Without any doubt I recommend a metal ball head and not one of plastic. That is why I think the Manfrotto ball head is the best option, although there are other manufacturers of metal bearings of this type.

Strobist  Kupo stands

The foot of the tripod is the thing that gives support to the set and should be very stable, especially when working outdoors where there may be windy. Although a model like the Manfrotto 001B is lightweight and convenient to carry, I prefer a more robust model, like the Bowens BW6610 or similar ones. Folded  it measures 86 cm and can reach a height of 3 meters. To give more stability to the set I always carry a couple of camping showers of 15 liters with me. Filled with water they allow me to replace the not so practical sandbags, perfect when you want to work with light equipment and laptops. Of course there must be a tap near the set!

Strobist

It is necessary to synchronize the flash with the camera. The cheapest alternative is to have a sync cable that unifies the flash shoe to PC connector of the camera. You can also use optical cells  like the Wein – which is perhaps the best on the market – if you shoot with one flash from the camera and synchronize the other flash units. You can also use infrared emitters and receivers, these options are good if you only work indoors.

Strobist Wein cells   Wein optical cells

But if you want to work outdoors in broad daylight you will need to have radio emitters and receivers. There is many types and prices, the high range coming from PocketWizard whose scope is unique and the reliability very high, just like the price.

Strobist PocketWizard

Finally, the great utility of having a set of color temperature correction gelatins like the CTO and CTB type should be highlighted, plus some  gels with color effect like the ones from Rosco, Gam or Lee.

Strobist Rosco gels

Up to here the basics, but there are many more accessories to complete a good Strobist kit. I will keep on explaining them.

Kit Strobist 1.pdf

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Friends

A couple of years ago I decided to do a series of portraits of my friends. Most of my friends that I have known for a long time live in Uruguay, and with them I ‘ve shared my childhood, adolescence and college years. Those I have met in Spain have emerged from different encounters in life during my twenty years living in Barcelona.

Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde  Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde  Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde

“Friends” is linked to the idea of the pass of time and although it is not yet finished, you can see parts of it on my website.

My friends are very good people, funny, intelligent, creative, etc. Although I think that we all consider that our best friends are like that! Or not? Each one of them of course has its own personality, so the intention was to unify the work by the same visual treatment. One of the first friends that I photographed was “El Flaco Pérez”, my almost fetish friend as I explained in a previous post.

Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde

The light should be very uniform and hardly generate any character. A flat lighting, smooth, soft, enveloping, (almost as “passport photo”) helped provide a low-contrast lighting that later could be contrasted in the post production.

Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde © Alvaro Cabrera

The difficulties in moving heavy lighting equipment from Spain to Uruguay, or the same difficulty when I would have to make the photographs of my friends in Barcelona, in their homes or at their work places made me decide to do the sessions with a Strobist flash. In some cases I worked with a Metz 32 CT3 flash with a rechargeable battery or my DIY battery. I also did some sessions with a Yongnuo 560 flash with Godox Power Pack PB820 battery pack. I achieved the softness of the picture with a fantastic Photoflex light box, the mini OctoDome.

Note that we improvised each session with a white surface to fill the shadows. Sometimes we used architecture sketches, sometimes photo paper, tablecloths, etc. Well, what we had at hand in each house.

Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde © Gonzalo Varela

Strobist © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Friends.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Flash on the beach

In clear summer days, sun projects high-contrast light that does not help shooting pictures on swimming costumes, like in this post. Then, what do we call high contrast when we talk about lighting?

Sunlight is a high contrast light source that comes into contact with the earth from just one point, casting intense and defined shadows. Because of it’s distance from our planet, its rays reach the surface of the earth in parallel.

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde  Modelo Gemma Cadenas

High light contrast can be easily noticed in a shadow’s outline. When this is harsh, and depending on the light incidence angle, it can enhance unwanted skin textures for this kind of assignments.

To lower the contrast, light needs to be more diffuse, coming from different angles or its source has to be bigger than the object that we want to light up. For this reason in cloudy days light is more diffuse …but we wouldn’t see our nice blue sky!

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

I placed a translucent umbrella between the sun and our model to increase the diffusion surface. However by using the umbrella as the only main light, we lost light intensity and resulted in a low contrast situation. Therefore, to correctly expose for the skin and the swimming costume, we had to overexpose but then the blue of the sky looked faded.

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde  Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

As noticed in the previous photograph, I used an umbrella to increase the size of the light source and to better control the flash light intensity. By doing this we gained more incidence angles on our model, less contrast and more control over light intensity.

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde  Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

Another advantage of having lowered the flash light intensity by using the umbrella is that we could also apply a ¼ CTO (orange color temperature) gelatin. It gave a warm look to the model skin but did not affect the sky color.

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

And the sun began to set….

When the sun was setting, we had the opposite problem and now we had a low contrast situation because the sky barely illuminated our set.

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

Now in this example we wanted to increase the contrast and to add slight warm color dominance. We moved the umbrella further away from the model to make our light source “smaller” and consequently gaining contrast. This time we used another correction gelatin ½ CTO. Easy!

Flash on the beach © Marcelo Isarrualde

The flash utilized in these take was a Metz 32 CT3 of the 80´s and one of my DIY batteries.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Flash on the beach.pdf

Emerging

It was the last day of the summer, and with it many people’s holidays would have now come to an end. I wanted to take a fun picture to remember the good times we have had, and also to remind that it was time to go back to our routines, early general elections and the crisis.

Would we swim or sink?

Swim or sink © Marcelo Isarrualde

Technically it was a very easy picture to take. We just had to wait until the sun didn’t shine the beach directly. But we couldn’t wait too long because otherwise the reflection of the sky in the sea would become darker. At that time of the year the best moment had to be around 6 pm.

I used a portable flash Canon 580 EX II with a diffuser Gary Fong Light sphere Collapsible as I needed enough power to be at least + 1 EV above the ambience light and to project subtle strike of light onto the face of our diver. To avoid reflections on the glass of the googles and to better see the face, I stand in front our model. And as electrical power source, I used my DIY battery!

Despite the fantastic colour of the sea, I wanted to add it a slight blue shade cast with a warm touch to make our diver look tanned, as if he had spent the whole summer at the beach.

I could have left the colour treatment for the post-production, but why not kill two birds with one stone and save time?

Sometimes thinking analogical can be very practical! I put over the flash a colour correction gel of ½ (orange colour temperature), that gave the skin the warm orange colour shade that we wanted. The colour was later balanced with the RAW development, while the rest of the scene still kept a blue shade. Finally a greenish-blue touch was also added.

Making of © Marcelo Isarrualde

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Emerging.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Catwoman visits Barcelona

Some weeks ago I took this picture of Marta wearing her self made Catwoman suit that would be included in her photo book as well as in my personal portfolio. This was a good opportunity to use my DIY battery for the first time. To have more battery life I also had with me a Travel Pack of Bowens for the Gemini 750W/s flashes. My DIY responded so well during this photo shoot that I have decided to make another one. Bowens Gemini de 750 W/s con su Travel Pack.

At this time of year, the best hour for taking this picture was at 21.10hrs. Ten minutes earlier Agbar Tower would have turn on its lights. So I had 15 minutes before the sky would loose the blue shade that we needed for Catwomans suit to stand out of the sky.

We started with the preparation of set at 20.30 and still had enough time to coordinate the power relation between the main and the background lights.  For the main one I worked with a Bowens flash, with a Photek brolly umbrella and with a Metz 32 CT3 with Bowens traslucid umbrella, for the effect light.

  Lighting diagram

Setting the meter at ISO400 and f8 for the ambient light, we needed an aperture speed of ¼; the main light was then exposed at f8 and the effect one at f11.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

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My DIY battery

For practical reasons, whenever I can I work with external camera flashes and leave my Bowens studio flashes at home to work on more elaborated pictures. With the external flash, despite having less power and not having a modeling light I am able to get similar lighting conditions. If it is not required for the assignment, why carrying a bigger equipment?

Little by little I equipped myself with a “strobist” light kit and even made my own battery. So today I am happy to introduce you to my DIY battery that I built this summer.

If you have a look at Internet, you will find many sites with examples of people that have made their own batteries. Here I give you some links that I found very useful when I was building mine.

Battery 01

Battery 02

Battery 03

Battery 04

Battery 05

Battery 06

Battery 07

As you can see I have put a fuse, a switch and a charger connector. If I decide to work again on another prototype I will also add a couple of leds as the battery Charge indicator. But so far this requires more time than I actually have. !

If you don’t feel like making your own, I have seen some more affordable models than Quantum, like Phottix PPL-200 or Godox Power Pack PB820.”

My DIY battery.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.