July 11, 2011

Cheap(er) Macro Options

House Fly - Front

Wanted to share a recent discovery I made with my fellow photogs…

If you’ve ever been interested in macro/close-up photography, then you know how expensive it can be to get a good dedicated macro lens.  They definitely work great, but are usually limited to 1:1 reproduction ratio and most people don’t shoot enough macro photos to warrant the acquisition cost.  I made this mistake myself, but fortunately  inflation worked to my favor and I was able to sell my 105mm f/2.8 VR for more than what I paid 4 years ago (lucked out!).

So for those who like to shoot on a budget (like me), there is a cheap and fun way to get into macro photography. 

June 7, 2011

Multi Flash with the JrX Receivers

Close Up of Tethering
As promised, here are some additional photos of my multi flash setup configurations.  This is a tri-flash bracket retrofitted with 3 AS-E900 hotshoes (one converted to a DIY RPcube).  The JrX receiver is connected to the DIY RPcube, which is tethered to AS-E900 #2, with the TTL signal terminating at AS-E900 #3. More images after the jump

June 4, 2011

Going Wireless... Part Deux.

DIY Interconnects and RPcube

I recently picked up a new remote triggering solution to augment my SU-800. The SU-800 and CLS system work wonderfully in my little home studio, unfortunately I have bumped into limitations due to line-of-sight issues when shooting on location. This issue can be remedied by a number of different methods, and the simplest and most cost effective would have been to simply slip a flash with commander functionality into the hotshoe. The trade off would be losing a flash that can otherwise be used off camera. Another reason for not going this route, like many other strobists, I shoot a mix between nikon speedlights and Alien Bees strobes. The optical slave on the alien bees is great for triggering, but unfortunately I'm unable to make power adjustments from the camera via my current triggering solution (SU-800 + optical slave). At least not until now!

February 27, 2009

SU-800 Notes... (not a review)

Cliff Notes: Go out and buy one of these if you're a strobist!

I recently acquired the SU-800, as I was beginning to discover the strength, convenience, and versatility behind Nikon's CLS system. The SU-800 essentially act's as a commander unit for CLS compatible Nikon speedlights. Most folks who are picking up the SU-800 are the Nikon shooters with the pro bodies that don't have a built-in flash on the camera bodies, or are interested in doing macro photography (the SU-800 is included in the close-up/macro flash kit). I purchased the SU-800 individually for $250 through b&h photo/video.

I already have several SB-800's that have the commander functionality, in addition to my D300 which also supports and acts as a CLS commander. So why did I pickup the SU-800? Here are my reasons:

Going Wireless...

Internet? Nope, we've been using an N router for some time now. 
Cellphone? Nu-uh, but I did recently pickup a 3g iphone - yay! 
Bluetooth headset? Nah, already got one of those nifty jawbone devices that makes me look like secret service.
Give up???  I'm talking about wireless triggering.

With everything being wireless these days, computers/laptops, phones, even gaming systems, it only makes sense to keep your lighting cord free.  This enables you to maneuver freely, and easily shift/change your lighting setups, without having to exercise your liability insurance in case one of your clients or models trips on a cord.  Leave the cables and wires for the datacenter =p

Why even worry about shooting wirelessly?  Because shooting with on-camera flash should always be a last resort to lighting creatively.  Exception to this rule, would be using a ring-flash (more on this in a future post).  On camera flash gives that unflattering cracked out look you see on your drivers license, and mugshots (you know who you are).  It's not natural, and leaves harsh shadows (which in some cases can be a desired effect). 

So what are your options?  

Wooot! First post ^_^

Pretty excited to be making my first post. I intend to start using this blog as an avenue for sharing some of the randomness that comes (and goes) in my life... but primarily it'll serve as an outlet for me to get some of my thoughts out, and have something to reference back to years, months, days, hours from now when all this stuff has slipped from my memory.  *As I get older I seem to be losing more and more memories -- it sucks!*

So to start off, I've been busy lately with photography and working on my lighting techniques.  I have to contribute much of my understanding of light to David Hobby and Joe McNally both these guys have a ridiculous amount of experience in the lighting arena.  David Hobby operates the extremely popular blog dedicated to the Strobist community while Joe McNally is a former National Geographic photographer who has moved onto sharing his wealth of knowledge through workshops, training videos, and books such as "The moment it clicks" and "The hotshoe diaries" (you can find both on amazon.com).  Check out these guys when you get a chance... they're both interesting (read: as funny as they are insightful) characters and I always look forward to reading their next posts.