Promaster Tag

This sounds like the title of a Chuck Norris movie - he plays Ansel Adams in a blockbuster where he defeats the evil power of something. The idea of Ansel Adams stripped to the waist firing a machine gun is oddly appealing*.Coming away from that, I discovered that we have an all-in-one kit for active hobbyists who have at least one speed light and the desire to modify the output. You get attachment accessories that let you put on a snoot, diffuser, grids, filters, or small softbox. The filter holder bears a slight resemblance to the ones made by C---n or L-- but is sized for 3 1/2 inch filters and good luck finding those.The rest of the gear is pretty useful, and as it is all in one set you can get a good variety of looks going and experiment. If you've got a speed light setup that runs to several heads it is perfect for portable portraiture.Pardon the terrible pack shots but it is too big to fit in the editorial light tent.* They cancelled the planned movie...

Having occasion to shoot 18 dancers dressed in Middle eastern outfits on Tuesday at their dance studio, I opted to take along three speedlights, a background stand, and bags of  muslin drapes. I found out several things:1. The studio had far better a backdrop than I could have set up. I should have sussed it out beforehand and I could have saved carrying the kit.2. Several speedlights set to different powers and under control of the CLS system on a Nikon are capable of dramatic light ratios. 18 dancers are too many faces to try this on. Down came two of the lights and one SB 700 shot into an umbrella...

No end of people need a tripod for the occasional landscape or group shot, but never want to carry their big studio model with them. They sometimes try to get a tiny travel tripod to attach to their camera bag but are horrified when they see the weight and size equation that this creates.Overseas travel needs this equation to be solved with very small figures - but that means that the price goes up. That is inescapable - and if you add a further requirement of large lenses or camera bodies you need to go even further up the price scale. Eventually it becomes cheaper to just import the landscape rather than buy the tripod that you need to go photograph it...

 For the last year I have been shifting a number of interesting boxes from Cullmann around the shop shelves. The studio support sets come in various sizes - from basic to humongous with every camp known to man - and up to now I have never experimented with them. And normally I try everything that is lying around undisturbed. Ask some day about the container of hydrochloric acid and the pool chlorine...

The Japanese fish in this picture are pretty contented. They live at the Asakusa Temple in Tokyo and are cared for in the ornamental pond - there are a number of signs warning people not to feed them, so I suspect they are sometimes too well cared for. No matter - they are spectacular and friendly. Perfect subjects for a picture.Except when the skylight blocks out the surface of the water. Then you see whatever is bouncing off that surface. It is the same with shop windows and other shiny surfaces.Answer is, and always has been, to use a polarising filter on your lens. The older types were known as linear polarisers and did a very good job of seeing down into water surfaces. The newer types are called circular polarisers and may be a little less effective in actually penetrating the surface, but do give a more accurate light meter reading. The Circ Pol's are the ones most often supplied for modern digital cameras.We've got 'em from Kenko, Hoya, Promaster, and B+W. They are not as cheap as UV...

I bags being in the next photo shoot!This whole Friday morning footle came about when one of our good clients called a moment ago to pick up some rental lighting gear for a shoot in the city. I must record my admiration for his packing ability - he got more in the boot of a Holden than I could fit into a moving van. I think he will be getting some of it out with a crowbar, but that is his problem...

Here is a post for all our Sikh* photographers.Have you considered getting one of the Promaster 72" white umbrellas for your studio? We have one in the shop right now and it is the most marvellous light shaper that you have ever seen. It is the BIGGEST light shaper you have ever seen, with the exception of the Redwing soft box we had a few years ago that needs a commercial scaffolding firm to erect.People sometimes decry the humble umbrella, but when it is 72 inches in diameter it is not humble. It will throw massively soft light either as reflected or shoot through. It is not too heavy, though it will be necessary to consider the effect of wind if you are going to take it outside. Normally something this big in a stiff breeze has either Mary Poppins or a paratrooper under it...

Thinking outside the square is generally lauded as progressive and intellectual. Standing outside the square gets you ridden down by French cavalry. Trust me on this*.But thinking cheap is the best thing of all, particularly if you have to spend a great deal of money here at the shop to arrive at the most economical idea. I did and I have.To get to the best cheap solution for a problem you have to consult the Oracle of Google. You sit in a darkened room and try to think of enough key words to send you to a website that will have done your thinking for you - in reality it just dumps you onto YouTube and you watch cats fall into bathtubs.I adopted the policy of buying whatever looked cool as soon as it came in the shop, which accounts for the 54 camera bags that currently live in the shed. This shop is not the only culprit - the Crumpler man down in Wesley Arcade has much to answer for. In the end I have found out the best...