Monday, 28 January 2013

I might have a softbox problem...

I was sorting out my lighting equipment today and for some reason I counted the number of softboxes I've got, it came as a little bit of a shock that I have 13 of them...

2 off 30cm x 40cm Calumet Nova
1 off 60cm x 60 cm Bowens
1 off 60cm x 80cm Redwing (very old)
2 off 60cm x 80cm Bowens 
1 off 80cm x 100cm Redwing (very old)
1 off 100cm x 140cm Bowens
1 off 120cm Octabox
2 off 22cm x 90 cm Strip-boxes
2 off 35cm x 140cm Strip-boxes

13 softboxes, I might have an addiction to buying softboxes...

I am a photographer, I have a problem, isn't 13 supposed to be unlucky? 

I might need to buy another softbox!

Update 30/1/2013: Problem solved, just picked up a 95cm Octabox... And does anyone have a phone number for Softboxes Anonymous?

A tale of cameras...

I've been using Canon cameras for a long time, a good 15 to 16 years, my first was a EOS650, quickly followed by by an EOS 5, that was joined by the brilliant EOS 3 soon after its launch. An EOS1N and an EOS1V have also graced my camera bag, that 1V was just the best 35mm film camera I think I ever owned. All gone now, except I managed to pick up a 1N off ebay a few years ago, in mint condition for £100, and I still put a few films through it every year.

My first digital camera was a Canon D60 just as I went freelance, and just as digital was starting to take a slice out of the film camera market, £2000 at the time and just 6 megapixels on an APS-C chip, it served me very well for three years. I still have it, it still works, but it hasn't seen professional action for a very long time. I bought a Canon 1Ds MkII about 6 months after it was launched, I was lucky to get one at the time as they were rarer than hens teeth. I just happened to pass by a local camera shop in Chester and cast my eye though the window, as I usually do, there it was, £5000 worth of loveliness waiting for me. The camera had been ordered in months before apparently, but whoever had ordered it didn't want it in the end, my good fortune. I snapped it up there and then. This camera has shot everything from portraits to product shots, cars, vans, buildings, it's always produced the right image quality, even now that it's getting a bit long in the tooth.

So now I've moved on again, finally, to the 5D MkIII, 22.3 megapixels, a good 6 megapixels more than my trusty 1Ds, and HD video, I'm really very pleased with it, handling and build quality are great, that big screen on the back is just amazing, at least coming from the small screen I've looking at it is. The 1Ds is going off to have a new shutter fitted soon, so then it should be fine as my back up camera for a good time to come. 

For all you Nikon owners out there, yes I used to use Nikons, my first was the tiny EM, FMs followed and F3s, but when autofocus came along Nikon were struggling in the catch up game and Canon were winning at the time, it wasn't an easy decision but I switched. I still have an EM and an FM with a few lenses, they still get outings when I'm in the mood to shoot film, but my investment in Canon glass has me tied to their cameras for the moment. Who knows though what will turn up from the camera companies over the next few years to tempt me away from Canon, those Fuji X series cameras look very tempting at the moment...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

And the winner of the Holga 120N is...

... drum roll please, 

leave a suitable lone pause like all those awful talent shows do on tv...

So the winner of the Holga 120N competition, with the correct answer of "Bob Carlos Clarke" was...

@Lo - LoneyJane

The Holga 120N camera, cable release accessory and a bonus prize, in the spirt of Lomography, of two rolls of Fujicolor 160S 120 film (out of date by a year, but they've been kept in the fridge so they'll be fine), will be winging their way to LoneyJane a.s.a.p.

Thank you all for entering, I'm hoping to do another give away competition soon.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Shut down my Instagram account today...

Finally did it, shut down my Instagram account, I know I said I was going to and I nearly did, but then they came back with a quick back pedal over the T&Cs, but I had a read of those new T&Cs and they still suck, so gone, binned, never to return.

In other news, I'm really busy at the moment, January can be such a hit and miss month for work, but it's been streaming in. Products, location, though the snow is going to put a spanner in that one till it melts away, and I've a heap of photoshop work come in. Creating coloured radiators images from some sample shots I took in November, the samples are of an area only a 15th of a full sized unit, but they are looking good and the client loves the first test images I sent over, just 12 sets of  different sized radiators in 16 different colours to create.

The sample is on the left, the full size radiator was created from this small section, the valves and pipes were added from existing images. All fun. 

Talking of fun, with new snow blowing in all night I think it'll be snowman building time tomorrow, we have one already built today, but he needs some friends. Have a good and safe weekend folks.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Timber! Or how a flash head goes from 5ft to 0ft.

This very set up took a fall on wednesday during a shoot, it went from being just over 5 feet up on the stand to being Zero feet on the floor. I have to admit my heart stopped as I helplessly watched the incident occur, watching the softbox hit first, then the modelling light blinked it's last and the LED dials on the side of the head went dead. It took just over a second, I swore, I swore quite a bit, it would have made a sailor blush. The softbox was undamaged, relief number one, the head looked okay, but nothing happened when I flicked the power switch on and off, so I quickly swapped the fuse in the head, pow, all the dials were back on, relief number two, the only casualty of this episode was the modelling bulb. I'm still not entirely sure why the head went over, a power cable getting snagged, whatever, chalk it up to experience and try to make sure it doesn't happen again. Accidents happen, that's why you have insurance, thankfully I wont be needing that this time. Looks like I need to order some more modelling bulbs soon, just used the last one.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Modifiers...

Calumet do a 27" Beauty Dish, amongst other sizes, on Black Friday they were half price, so I splashed a little cash. The dish comes with a bonnet diffuser but you need to buy an adapter to fit to your make of flash head, I've used the dish shooting some product shots,  but today, as my son was available, I thought I'd do some head shot tests with it. I used two 200mm x 900mm Strip Boxes, behind and to each side of him to give some rim light.

I have to admit I like this beauty dish, it's a good 10 inches bigger than my present beauty dish, it give a great soft light, with the bonnet diffuser, without the bonnet its a much harder light, coverage is very good, there is a grid available and I'm thinking that'll be another purchase very soon.

This shot is with the bonnet off, previous two were with.

The strip boxes I got off of ebay, £36 each, with grids and postage, and they came from China, unfortunately the seller has changed from photo-equipment too fashion clothing, but the link at the top of the post will take you to an e-bay seller in the UK who is selling the same units for only a little more. They are quite robust and I have been using them a great deal, travelling with them too locations as well as studio work. The grids are a god send, for directional lighting, laying one on the floor, without the grid, aimed at a background gives a great graduation effect. I could have spent an awful lot more on named brand strip boxes, but I don't think the quality can be that much better than these units.

My eldest can ham it up with the best of them, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil...

WIN a Holga 120N...

WIN a Holga 120N
with the timed exposure accessory and cable release


Has it been used? No. Have I still got the box? No, it fell apart, seriously it looked like it had been glued together with spit. So a box-less Holga 120N with cable release as pictured. And what you may ask do I want you to do to win said toy camera?

Question:- Name the author of 'The Dark Summer' : Hint: the photography book not the novel 

The prize draw will be made by my six year old son, he's very excited, all names with the correct answer will be drawn from a policeman's helmet, Oh yes it WILL! On the 26th January 2013.

Leave your name and answer in the comments section below, you might not be able to do this from a mobile device, phone or tablet, I've no idea why you'd need to ask Google. Alternatively you can e-mail your answer too .Your details will not be pimped, sold or horse traded to anyone, I'm not Facebook! I will post this out to ANYWHERE in the world, yes ANYWHERE. Though the further away you are from the UK the longer the wait for it's arrival will be. So if you've always fancied a Holga, give it a try, someone has to win this. No purchase necessary.