Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Gear - What you wanted to know but were afraid to ask (Part 2)

All My Gear in 2 BagsAs the title shows this will be a very informative article with a lot of photos on how... and what is that for...

Many of you will know this back and forward and maybe with your eyes shut but others don't so this article is for you.

We all looked at great photographers and wondered "how the hell did this guys do that?" or "what kind of technique he used?" without getting any answers for those questions, except in some cases, and having this in mind I decided to pull out the cape and make this picture tutorial for the gear I use, some examples (based on links to Strobist) on what you can accomplish with that setup or gear and also some DIY tips on some of the items.

First of all you need is a camera, a lens and, or, maybe a flash depending on what you are going to photograph or if you have a camera with all of this built in that will also do.

Starting out by mention the basic and first thing that, almost all of us photographers do when we get our flashes, that's putting some Velcro on the tip of it so you can attach some gobos or some filters.

Take a look at Lighting 101: Cereal Box Snoots and GoBo's and Lighting 101: Using Gels to Correct Light for more detail information concerning this issues.

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Here is a photo of My 580Ex with Velcro taped all around so I can put a gobo in it either up, down, left or right. Do put the Velcro to near the head's end if you want to use a StoFen. You can see it in the picture the space between the Velcro and the end of the flash head.

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On this two pictures you can see the small gel filter with the Velcro tape each one represents one side so they can glue to each other.

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Now in a detail view of what I meant.

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An here is how you can use them (Green and Orange CTO) it on your flash head.

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And this is my latest DIY project that have replaced the other method. You can build one yourself follow the link to DIY: Lee Filters Flash Adapter and you can make one yourself.

This one is very useful since you can carry all the Lee filters color gels with you and do not need to worry about getting them with Velcro.

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And while we are in the Filter section here goes another free tip for you.

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The Lee filters come with a plastic thing to hold them together and if you break it you no longer can hold all of those tiny pieces of sheets together so...

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After you cut it and remove it from the hole they will fall apart... no, no, no.

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What I want you to do is to grab two ear plug boxes (I normally use these for my concert photography) .

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And remove the iron thing that comes with it. I think you can also find this kind of stuff sold by meter on some hardware stores, this stuff is used on bathroom Basin or in the kitchen Sink and it normally holds between the Taps and the hole. You'll see it when you get there... don't tell your wife I told you to steel one from there ;)

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Here is a detail of the two binding together.

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After binding you just pass them through the hole.

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And that's it. You can now close it. Let's see how it works in the filed...

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Let's think that you will need a blue filter from the middle of the pack. You just have to choose it and then slide the opening to it and as you can see in the above picture open it where you need it. Cool yeah?

Well let's move on...

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For people using the Pocket Wizard system a lot of question have been raised for the hot shoe connections between them and the strobes. Here is a photo of the hot shoe (with cable) system I use from Kaiser, on the photo you can see the top and back part.

I've chosen this system since it's not all metallic (so it won't fry you strobe) and because it has a PC sync cable so I can use with my 580Ex that does not have this connection... if you are lucky enough to have the 580ExII then maybe you won't need one with the cord.

They are not difficult to find just Google around for them.

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Before I find them I had one made, for my 580EX, from Michael Bass (This guy is very good in transformations and new ideas to your gear so at least take a look at the stuff he as maybe there is something you could need) but they turn out to be very expensive with postage to Europe. Above is the photo of the custom made.

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A little more about hot shoes. Why do you need them and what are they for.

Hot Shoe: The hot shoe is an accessory shoe built into the top of most professional cameras incorporating electrical contacts which allow you to usually add flash guns designed by the camera manufacturer.

Now that you know what they are let's see some illustrations on how to use them.

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Here you have the hot shoe attached to the flash and the plugged in to the Pocket Wizard so you can trigger the 580Ex wireless.
More on this at Lighting 101: PC Cords and Pocket Wizards.

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I also have these small stand from Hama (very cheap and very handy) you can attach the Hot Shoe to the flash and then used it on the tripod, simply screw them to the tripod and voila you got yourself a small portable stand for your flash to be triggered wireless from anywhere.

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Make your Westcott umbrella stiff with my DIY: Westcott Umbrella Reinforcement.

Moving on to another subject that's also very interesting is the stands.

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DIY tip
to make your stands moreas portable, just drill one hole on each of the sides of the Manfrotto tripod (like showed on the pictures above).

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Then grab that hold strap from a pouch or travel bag you don't use any more.

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Just put it through the holes.

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Look how portable it has become... now you can put it around your neck like Robin Wood :)

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This is another great piece of gear... small, light, portable and very useful.

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This is one example on what you can use it in. These are great since they are very inexpensive and small and you can find them almost in any hardware store and with different colors.

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Here is the setup shot to the main image. Light coming from 280Ex pointed at white wall on the right to produce soft reflective light, ISO 100, Tv 125 and Av 8.0.

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Remember I told you about the Velcro adjustable ties (Part 1) well here they are. I've just joined two together so you can see the effect and how long they can be.

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Above are some examples on what you can use them for. If you lucky enough to get your hands on Ball Bungees take a look at Lighting 101 - Ball Bungees.

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You can tie your umbrella to the Robin Wood's stick (Manfrotto stand) and carry it along without any effort.

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Manfrotto Super Clamps (035) and Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8”. You cannot leave home without one and next you will see why...

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When you put the Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8” on the Manfrotto Super Clamps (035) you now be able to attach a Hot Shoe adapter to connect your Pocket Wizards or your Gadget Infinity.

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This is what it looks like with the Gadget Infinity attached.

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You can attach it to Vertical or Horizontal objects. Here, on the example, it's on a movable chair.

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But you can use it on a door handle or on the door side. Imagine how cool this can be since you can attach it to almost anything in anyplace where you can not fit a stand on.

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Here is the setup shot for the door pictures.

You can get more on this at Lighting 101 - Super Clamps.

And last but not least,

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The Manfrotto umbrella stand adapter w/hot-shoe mount (026) and Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8”.

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This is the way to put it on the Manfrotto stand.

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The umbrella goes on this hole. Notice that I'm pointing out to a mark I made on the adapter , this is because one side of the adpater makes the umbrella off center with the flash. Take a careful look when you assemble yours to know what is the correct side.

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A closer look after mounting the umbrella.

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Here is the assembly with Gadget Infinty on top of the Manfrotto umbrella adapter.

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This is what it should look like after opening the umbrella and ready to shoot.
More of this umbrella adapter at Lighting 101: Umbrella Adapters.

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You can use it also with the Manfrotto super clamp and I'll show you how.

Here is all the stuff you need:
Manfrotto Adapter (015) 1/4” To 3/8”, Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8”, Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (119) 1/4” & 3/8” Universal short 16 mm spigot with double female thread 1/4” and 3/8”, Manfrotto superclamp (035), and Manfrotto umbrella stand adapter w/hot-shoe mount (026).

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Screw the Manfrotto Adapter (015) 1/4 To 3/8 with Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (119) 1/4 & 3/8 Universal short 16 mm spigot with double female thread 1/4” and 3/8.

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Insert it on the Manfrotto superclamp (035).

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Insert the Manfrotto Adapter Spigot (013) Universal 16 mm spigot with double male thread 1/4” and 3/8” into the Manfrotto umbrella stand adapter w/hot-shoe mount (026).

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Now mount them together like in the above shot.

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Here it is completely assembled and transformers alike ;)

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Now you just need to put you Gadget Infinity or Pocket Wizard there and you're ready to rock!!

Finally here are some photos of what you can do with this Transformer. It's kind of BIG but, as you can see, with the umbrella put on you will have a lot of flexibility.

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As odd as it seem all of the photos were taken with the below gear.

Gear used to shoot the all photos

Canon Powershot G6, Pack of 8 AA batteries, Gadget Infinity Transmitter and Receiver, Canon flash 220EX with no manual control and Quick Lok microphone stand.

As you can see you can get photos with the gear you already have. You simply need to put your head to work.

Hope you enjoy this My Gear 2 part tutorials and stay tuned for more good stuff.

Rui

My Gear - What's in the Bags? (Part 1)

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