February 27, 2011

DIY: PVC Light Stand

Recently I decided to build few light stands for all these flashes and workshop lights lying around. There are more than few examples of PVC light stands on the Internet.  I wanted however for only 3 points to touch the ground (thinking this will be most stable for a given amount of materials used) so decided to go with a C-stand design  made of 3/4" schedule 40 PVC pipes and joints.
I am pleased with the result.  As one might have expected the stand is not rigid (because of the flexibility of the PVC pipe) yet surprisingly stable.  Besides, because of the different height of the legs one can put two such stands very close to each other - try that with alternative designs!

February 24, 2011

Chinese New Year Parade in the City

I do not think I cracked this nut.  Combination of poor weather, limited access (or rather my lack of mobility - no excuse for that) and poor choice of the lens made this a fiasco.  I wanted to try the new 24mm prime so much I used it with too shallow death of focus.  By the end D90 had trouble auto focusing in such low light conditions.  Hand holding a CLS-driven SB600 worked though as expected.

What might have worked:
  • use tele lens for shots like this.
  • 16mm lens from inside the parade
  • setting an area with soft light behind a big diffuser panel or just finding a location where flashes could be bounced off.
Oh well, you live you learn.

DIY: Wearable Flash Rig and Diffusion Panels

I just realized that I never properly documented any of my DIY projects - wearable flash rig, diffusion panel or light stand.  Consider this in place of a "proper" documentation.

I use a wearable flash rig to take photos in a bright sun and I built it specifically for Burning Man 2010.  It proved to be an awesome solution for fill flash in a bright desert sun.  Just put your subjects with their back to the sun,  "say I'm soooo cute" and press the shutter.  Majority of these photos were taken with this rig - Nikon D90 on-camera flash driving via CLS 2xSB600 flashes being controlled by TTL.  Manual control is also an option.   The rig is made of 1/2" schedule 40 PVC pipes and joints.  It is a great conversation starter but be careful if you decide to wear it in the club - please be gentle to your neighbors in crowded places.

After this post was published I found an even more grandiose approach to a moveable lighting rig: Human Light Suit.  Designed for exactly the same purpose, Eric Schwabel's rig can overpower the Burning Man sun!  And the catch-light is nothing short of amazing!