Flashes: July 2008 Archives
I will start this series about flash modifiers with the cheapest modifier I can imagine. They do come simpler as we will see later, but at two for 0.99 US$ it's gonna be hard to find a less expensive store-bought modifier. At Saxon Computers you get two mini snoots for less than one buck. You will have to pay for postage of course, but even so... they're really inexpensive.
Apart from being cheap the mini-snoot also separates itself from many of the other modifiers I will discuss by fitting on a built-in pop-up flash. OK, fitting may be exaggerating a bit. Let's make that: meant to be used on. The fitting mainly consists of a bit of gaffer tape. Continue reading A mini-snoot.
I have always loved using off-camera flashes and want to extend my arsenal of different flash modifiers. In this first round I will concentrate on the type you can mount directly on the flash. I may return to umbrellas, softboxes, diffuser screens other larger modifiers later.
I have started assembling a flash modifier kit. You may remember my home made snoot from my coin podcast. Snoots are one kind of modifiers, but there are many more: filters, grids, flags, and gobos to mention some. Diffusers can also be counted, but are on the border if you look at modifiers in a more traditional manner. I will not make this a flash photography 101, but just briefly touch on each type, and then return to each in later posts. Continue reading Flash modifiers.
With a title like that and an author called Joe McNally, I think we have a winner. This is allegedly the title of the upcoming McNally book, which will be on small flash usage, and is bound to become a bestseller amongst us small strobe lovers. It's due in December this year according to Amazon, who is already taking preorders.
McNally's publisher - New Riders/Peachpit doesn't even have it on their list yet, so Amazon is certainly quick here.
So the title and the cover is all there is for now. "The Hot Shoe Diaries - Creative Applications of Small Flashes". Coming from McNally that sounds right to me. I loved his previous book, "The Moment it Clicks", and if he continues the style from that volume, the new book is bound to be stuffed with great tips and inspiration.
So you want to shoot like McNally? Well, here's step one: gear up. Renowned Nikon shooter Joe McNally's assistant Brad Moore has compiled a list of the gear the the McNally crew uses.
I did a head count of my gear recently to have a list for the insurance in case something happened and was actually pretty satisfied with what I saw. But my list is about one tenth of this one in length and probably about one third in quality. OK they do list each gel color separately. If I did that I could add a few items to my list. But it's still not quite the same. I know when Brad writes D3 it should say D3's (three at least) and when he writes D700 and SB-900 it also most likely to be more than one of each. Products which aren't even in the shops yet.
What can I say? Galloping NAS once again. More like a NAS stampede...
Using several speedlights means using many batteries - at least four times the number of strobes and most likely eight times as many batteries as you have speedlights if you have a couple of sets for each flash.
Personally I only use rechargeable batteries - nowadays of the NiMH-type, Nickel-Metal-Hydride - which mark the current optimum between capacity, price and other traits you want from batteries.
They have a high capacity, no memory (like the old NiCd cells had) and keep their charge fairly well, and can be "topped off " - boost charged right before use - with no loss of capacity in the long run. They are also more environmentally friendly than previous types due to a large number of recharge cycles and the lack of the poisonous cadmium and other nasty substances.
The available capacity per cell is increasing year by year, and while 1,800 and 2,000 mAh (milliampere hours) was the norm just a couple of years ago, today's AA-cells have capacities of 2,300, 2,600 and even 3,000 mAh.
Continue reading Rechargeable Battery Blues.
Everybody seems to be going haywire over the new D700 - which is of course an interesting new item from Nikon - but being a flashaholic, I have been waiting for someone to cover the new SB-900 flash in a decent way.
And who better to trust with that job that than Joe McNally?
McNally (of National Geographic and "The Moment it Clicks" fame) has had the chance to play with a couple of these puppies for a couple of weeks, and has a thorough writeup of his findings on his blog.
Now I have personally always thought that the people who designed the user interface on the SB-800 should be punished in ways not fit to mention in a good-mannered blog like this, and have never come to terms with the awkward and clumsy interface on this 300-dollar-baby.Continue reading New flash on the block.