13 Apr The Hot Photographer
Perth’s entry into autumn via a heatwave – and didn’t we all just love it when it got over 40º… raised the question about what we should do …when it gets above 40º.
As householders we should go inside, turn on the A/C, get a cold drink, and read a book – or type a weblog column. As photographers we should get get out there and capture the blazing sun, sticky asphalt, and overbearing UV. Nothing should stop us from being artists, including the car steering wheel being at welding temperature. I mean, what are oven gloves for anyway? If suffering for art is required, Perth can provide the raw material.
Well, art is all very well but artists at 40º plus are not a pretty sight. The wisest amongst them will adjourn to the darkroom to develop film or the not-so-dark room to work on their computer files. The very fortunate will disappear into the studio and decide to do something with chiaroscuro – something that doesn’t use tungsten lights turned up high.
Here is where Camera Electronic come in. Lighting the studio with a lot of heat and electricity is okay in winter but summer needs a smarter solution. If you can get away with a smaller set of studio strobes, both the temperature and the cost go down. Studio flashes do have modelling lights to let you see approximately where the final illumination will go but once you know that you can turn them off and work just with the momentary flash. And fortunately the more modest mono-blocks draw very little electricity and do not heat up the body of the flash in the stand-by mode.
I can say this with confidence, having bought one of the tiny ones myself – The 125 W/S Elinchrom RX One. I got it to serve as a hair light, and it does that job admirably when slung from a rail above the shooting area. Small, light, but with the standard Elinchrom bayonet fitting that takes all the other light modifiers I own. It even has an integral fan for hot weather.
I did not realise how useful it could be until I took it off the ceiling and put it on a boom arm over the shooting table. It is so light that it can be supported by a very simple arm, and no counterweight needed. It has an in-built radio trigger that responds to the Skyport transmitter on the camera and I need not remember to attach a separate receiver. And best of all, when the power is buttoned down from a higher setting it has an auto-dump circuit that reduces the resultant initial flash.
I have been progressively more impressed with the lower-power Elinchrom units as time goes on – the 500/500 W/S setup that was used with the film cameras gave way to a 250/250 W/S standard and now I am down to 125 W/S for individual product illustration. It means that I feel people can look at the D-lite 2 sets with as much enthusiasm as the D-Lite 4’s for small studio use.
When Perth swelters, that has to be a good thing.
Elinchrom D-lite and Rx sets are available in the Camera Electronic Stirling Street shop and in the on-line inventory too. Don’t forget to get some additional light shapers and some spare globes.