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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