Strobist kit 5

By its name, the idea of this blog is to explain how to light a scene when we remove the flash shoe of the camera. But sometimes it is desirable that the flash is – if not in the shoe – at least close to the camera. The use of arms to separate the flash of the camera to give some volume to photographed reason comes from afar, like the use of cables to separate further.

Strobonar  Futuramic Strobonar

But what should we do when we want the lighting to be very flat and direct, and we don’t have a ring flash? In these cases the idea is to get the flash as close as possible to the optical axis to minimize the projected shadow. Terry Richardson took many photographs at the beginning of his career with a small film camera Yashica T4 and he used it to photograph countless celebrities and models that he would position standing by a white wall. This camera has the built-in flash slightly away from the optical axis, but when shooting from a distance and the body of the model is perpendicular to the optical axis, the shadows effect on the wall is minimized.

Yashica-T4  Yashica T4

He eventually went on to shoot with a DSLR digital camera and there the problem arose. How to position the flash off the optical axis? Then, came the solution with the strip CB mini RC Custom Brackets!

Custom-Bracket--Mini-RC  Custom Brackets

Custom-Bracket--Mini-RC

As shown in the above image with this strip the flash torch stays very close to the lens and shadows are minimized.

Terry-Richardson-Fashion-Week-Berlin  Terry Richardson Fashion Week Berlin

The pictures Richardson took of Lady Gaga for the Supreme brand in 2010 are proof of this, as we see on the cover of the excellent French magazine Photo.

Photo-magazine-Lady-Gaga-Terry-Richardson-Supreme   Lady Gaga by Terry Richardson

Lady-Gaga-Terry-Richardson  Behind the scenes

Regarding those made for the famous Pirelli calendar 2010, these pictures reveal how this technique works outdoors. As can be seen, he set the exposure to the available light at the location while the front is filled up with the flash. This gives a great shine to the body of the model and eliminates shadows caused by sunlight.

Terry-Richardson-Pirelli  Pirelli calendar

There are other systems that allow speedlights to move from the hot shoe of the camera with great flexibility. One of these arms combined with a strip is the Manfrotto 233B which in this example is positioned to a shooting of macrophotography combining two Nikon R1 macro flashes with one of the standard SB series.

Manfrotto-233B  Manfrotto 233B

Also the option of the Olympus bracket FL BKM03 is very interesting, like the Ray Flash Rotator model.
Olympus-FL-BKMo3-bracket  Olympus FL BKM03

RayFlash-Rotator  Ray Flash Rotator

The option of Pro Media Gear with the Boomerang model is very robust. Boomerang de Pro Media Gear

Pro-Media-Gear-BB-Grip  Boomerang de Pro Media Gear

Finally it is worth highlighting the catalog from Really Right Stuff with a huge variety of photographic accessories including the WPF-QR strip bracket specially relevant for this post.

RRS-WPFQR-02  Really Right Stuff WPF-QR

This bracket keeps the speedlight aligned with the optical axis but with a noticeable parallax. I have used it, with a flash standing in front of a light box OctoDome mini Photoflex and has worked nice on a project I’m doing of circus portraits .

Octodome-mini Photoflex  WPF-QR with softbox Octodome mini

Octodome-mini-portrait

Strobist kit 5.pdf

Any partial or full reproduction is prohibited without the written consent of the author. All rights reserved. © Marcelo Isarrualde

Visual acuity

Do we, photographers, have visual acuity? If we understand visual acuity as the capability of our vision to perceive, detect or identify spatial objects with good light conditions, we should have it. A distance from the constant object, if you see a small letter clearly, you have more visual acuity than another person that does not see it. Well, this is not enough condition to be a photographer, but it is necessary, although I know about cases of blind photographers

I went to the ophthalmologist to do the annual revision and I came up on the beautiful – and at the same time weird – Phoropther. Some time ago I had found a series of photos that I liked a lot about this subject and decided to do my own version. Later I realized that almost all versions of this device were very similar, its design is spectacular and all of us to see it the same way.

The Burns Archives

I remembered the famous photo report that Andreas Feininger made about the photo reporter from Life, Dennis Stock, in 1951 and some self-portraits with similar aesthetic. All these photographs make a reference to the relationship between the optical and the photographic and have a high formal weight.

 © Andreas Feininger

   © Andreas Feininger

The Phoropther has as much formal strength as the Leica and the magnifying glass in the previous photos, which makes it difficult to escape from the typical frontal photography. Aware of this I took the photo and here I explain how it was made.

  El Flaco

As always, I had the invaluable assistance of my friend El Flaco, who is always willing to help in carrying out my photos, as he did incountless times before, as well for the posts of this blog. I also could count on the collaboration from Visionlab, the company where I usually make my optical revisions.

In the first set of lights I placed a translucent umbrella below the camera and the fantastic OctoDome mini from Photofex above. Between them, I put a multipurpose aluminum frame that I made over 20 years ago and that still accompanies me. Before I used the frame to carry two Nikon cameras hanging from my neck with a single belt, but now I use it to put the camera in the axis of the light without the need for an arm and a counterweight for the flash.

Diy bracket

Diy bracket

After some first pictures I saw that the reflexions from the knobs of the Phoropther did not turn out as good as expected and therefor I decided to reverse the set. In the end the best lightning for the apparatus turned out being when the umbrella was placed above the camera. The two flashes I used were Yongnuo 560 with the batteries PB820 from Godox.

El Flaco

Last, I removed the aluminum plate that was on the wall with Photoshop since it distracted some. I also matched the tones of both lights and gave the set a warm dominant.

  Lighting Diagram

Visual acuity.pdf

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

Strobist kit 3

For some time now, accessories like the ones normally used for professional high-end flashes are manufactured and available for Storbist. Profoto, Bowens, Elinchrom and Broncolor – to mention a few brands – have in their catalogs a variety of accessories for modifying the light. Everything from diffusers, cones, ring flashes to reflectors for honeycombs, as well as light boxes, Fresnel lenses etc.

Some of these accessories are available for the use of portable flash and the efficiency is very good. Those that work best are the ones that concentrate the light, since the type of lighting they generate is hard. As we know, hard light is achieved with a small light source. To achieve a diffuse and soft lighting , the size of the light source should be big. If you have the possibility to use large size diffusers with the flashes, it will be necessary to have more than one flash to achieve a good diffusion, as we will se in my next post.

Strobist Snoot

Three flash adapter

Some brands have modifiers similar to those of professional range and other brands make more simple accessories that are easier to transport because of its ingenious design based on Velcro™.

Gadget Brando

The accessories from Gadget Brando or Interft Strobies work very well for medium shot portraits, as well as the range from Holn Photo or Lumiquest.
Holn Photo

Lumi Quest

One of my favorite accessories is the light box from Photofex, the OctoDome mini. I made almost all the portraits of the series “Friends” with this accessory. Its interior diffuser distributes the light very evenly and gives a good diffusion of the light in close-up portraits. It is also very easy to set up and transport.
Photoflex Octodome mini

I also like working with the Lightsphere Collapsible from Gary Fong. I normally use it very close to the camera. Directly directed towards the model, the size of the light source increases somewhat and it softens the glow. What I like about this accessory is to bounce the light in the ceiling without the hemisphere, as the contour of the fixture fills the shadows very well, as did the flashes that had two xenon lamps in the same flash, flashes like Nikon Speedlight SB16 or the Metz from the series 45 or 60 CL.

Nikon Speedlight SB16
Metz 45 CL4

This flash, like some Metz and others, allowed bouncing the main light in the ceiling or a sidewall and with a second fill flash decrease the contrast in the face. Today’s flashes do not have this second flash, and the accessory by Gary Fong solves this problem very well.

Lightsphere Collapsible by Gary Fong

Many times we might want to use correction filters like the ones by Rosco, Arri, Lee, etc. These filters will give a color cast to the light of the flash and they are very useful in certain situations which I will talk about in other posts.
Rosco Color Correction filter CTO

There are different brands that solve the problem of how to support the gelatin in front of the light source. Almost all of them rely on a Velcro™ strip fastening the gelatin holder.

Gel Holder

Strobist kit 3.pdf

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

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

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography

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