Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birthday Presents Come in Waves

And when the waves are good, you ride the waves.

Aurora and I took a trip up to Rochester last night to pick up two new strobes I had seen on Craigslist. I have wanted real studio strobes for at least twenty years. Always just out of reach, both in terms of skill, but also expense. Yesterday's find was more of a steal. These strobes have seen virtually no use. Since I already had light stands for my speedlights, setting up the strobes was no sweat. I wasn't sure how I would trigger them initially, but I think for now, I am pretty happy having a wireless trigger on one, and then have the other one slaved so it pops when it sees the first one fire. Pretty simple.

Of course, I had to get Aurora and Nancy to submit for some posing. I need plenty of time behind the lens to really figure out how I want to move the light and shadow. I think, sometimes, one light might be all I really need. Today though, has been non-stop flash. Probably shot over 500 images to get 20 or so that are pretty decent. Lots more to learn.

This was a fun hair-light experiment. I gelled it with a purple gel, and aimed it from straight behind Aurora. Just enough light to give her a "purple haze". Pretty fun. I tried some similar ideas using pink and red filters with Nancy's portraits tonight. After looking them over, Nancy was forthright that they would NEVER be seen by another human being. So I guess they were pretty hideous. Like I said... tons more to learn.


Amy said...

Very cool. I just got my very first SLR this weekend- been taking pictures of every. single. thing.

And Aurora's a good sport! (Not that Nancy's not, of course... I wouldn't want a purple hazed version of me floating around the internet, either! :)

Q. Cassetti said...

These are nice. The one with the light on the hair is great. If you want to practice (and get paid) put something on the bulletin board of the shure save, or an ad in the Pennysaver etc. to do High School Senior Year portraits. People take their kids to studios etc... and most images are at the waterfalls or in nature (hugging trees etc). The price has to be modest...but it might build the book. Ithaca High School has a significantly larger class than ours...but at 100 kids per class...even as modest as $50 to $100 a session with you handing over a few prints (from an epson) and a file might put a little jingle in your pocket, and at the same time give you a few images for your portfolio. Kitty can pose for you (she is used to my shenanigans) and there are the sets of triplets (Oros and Bialke) that could be fun as well as Arbus inspired work... Just a thought.

Its not a big idea...but might get you taking shots.
(ps. I can share what the "norm"is if you want...send me your real email and I will send you a pdf of the yearbook....OY. Cheers. Q.

cookingwithgas said...

I know nothing about photography But I love seeing your family.
Your daughter looks like a great kid!

justin said...

That's awesome! I'm totally jealous. I've gotten to play around with studio strobes a bit while assisting my buddy Spencer the last month but I love the idea that you have some of your very own to pop and pop.

Out of curiosity: What sort of wireless trigger are you using for the first strobe? For the last few months I've been using some ebay triggers from Opteka that I adore but I've heard tales of general unreliability of ebay triggers from around the internets. Wondering if you've run into any problems with missed shots yet.

Alex Solla said...

Justin- What I am not showing in the pics is that the actual birthday gift from Nancy, her folks and Aurora, (and my folks).... was a three light kit from Westcott. The kit package is called Strobelite.

As for tripping them wirelessly... I have tried two different wireless triggers. I tried the cheapo ones from the photo store in Rochester, Hahns.
Paid too much considering what they can and cant do.

They will trigger the Strobelites perfectly, almost every time... but the adapter or something else is preventing them from working on the White Lightnings. So we use a work around. I can trip ANY of the big strobes by using either my flash on-camera, set to fill, but ultra low power... or I can use the on-camera flash to trigger one of my speedlights wirelessly and that in turn trips the big strobes.
Works damn fine.

I figure when we are working with larger spaces, we might need something like either Radio Poppers or Pocket Wizards... but for now, this works.

As for missed shots, I should post some of my failures... (but I might not)
Most of them are:
-too hot due to not dumping the charge in the capacitor in the flash before shooting at a lower power setting
-shooting at the wrong synch speed and ending up with a black line caused my the shutter not being open when the flash was triggered.
- or simply not lighting well enough, too little power from the flashes.

As always, there is a ton to learn! said...

Hope you had a great birthday, your photos look great! For some reason I really like the last one I think the light in that looks best.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

Fantastic for you to finally get something you've been longing for. It's always wonderful when that happens.