Have a flash that's been sitting, unused, for a long time? Or did you buy a used flash with an unknown history? Turn it on the wrong way and you may be in for a bit of a surprise.
Doesn't matter if it is a speedlight, an Alien Bee mono, a Profoto pack-and-head or whatever. Keep reading for a nifty little tidbit of info that may help you avoid seeing that "magic smoke" escape from your babies.
UPDATE: The Polaroid PL-135 (AKA the rebranded "Triopo TR120") has been unceremoniously pulled from the market just a week or so after it launched.
Has the venerable Sunpak 120J bare bulb flash been reincarnated? By a world-famous company, no less?
Well, no. Not exactly. It's no Sunpak 120J (doesn't have the extra stop of power) and, strictly speaking, it's not really a Polaroid flash per se. Keep reading for the bare facts (rimshot!) on the Polaroid PL-135.
In-Depth QA: Martin Prihoda Photographs Priyanka Chopra for GQ India
Long-time readers will remember photographer Martin Prihoda, who was originally based in Vancouver before packing up and relocating to Mumbai. Or as he still often thinks of it, Bombay. (Martin, on the distinction: "You do business in Mumbai. You party in Bombay.")
His recent cover shoot of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra for GQ India represents a major departure from his previous use of color and light. So I contacted him for a QA.
My questions (and his generous answers) follow, along with more images form the shoot. To see any image bigger (and other images from the shoot not seen here) click through to his blog, Atomic Safari.
We're remodeling two bathrooms, and as part of a barter deal with the contractor I am doing a series of before and after photos. I'll post more about that later, but I just wanted to drop something in quickly about the lighting on the detail shots I was doing today.
It's a quick-and-dirty, two-light setup and the effect is almost like a charcoal drawing—sort of 2-D and 3-D at the same time. And try as I might, it's pretty hard to mess this up.
Tian Lu (left) and Yuri Shadrin are both accomplished pianists in their own right. But when they play as a duet (on the same piano) they produce an intuitive mix of music and banter that could only come from the married couple that they are.
He is Russian, she is Chinese. Which made them the perfect choice to perform in China later this month in commemoration of an upcoming regional trade partnership between China and Russia.
So I shot their publicity portraits in one of my favorite little environmental portrait nooks in Howard County—under the fountain downtown at the lakefront. I have shot here before, but every time I come back I see the place a little differently.
I am happy to announce that Strobist's video series, Lighting in Layers, has by special arrangement been adapted for the video tutorial site Lynda.com. Those of you who are Lynda subscribers can now view the videos there. (This includes Lynda's many corporate subs, so check with your company.)
It's May. Which always means two things for me: dealing with heavy allergies and beginning my next batch of portraits for the Howard County Arts Council.
The drudgery of allergies is offset by the pure pleasure that is getting to work with a group of insanely talented young people. Doing the portraiture for the Rising Stars program is one of my favorite projects of the year.
One of the first this year was soprano Rebecca Hargrove, who we photographed in the venerable Garaj Mahal Studios…
What Really Happens When a Fuji X100s "Syncs" at 1/4000th of a Sec
For leaf-shutter flash geeks only: high-speed Phantom v1610 video of a Fuji X100s shutter not-quite-really syncing at 1/4000th of a sec.
Sorry, I know many of you will be bored to tears by this. But the full technical article photographer Kevin Housen developed around this video (and others, at different shutter speeds) will really peel the onion for you if you want to know about the demonstrable quirkiness of this camera and ultra-high speed sync.
BaltoWash, June 7/8th: One-Day Blogging/Social Media Intensive
UPDATE: Due to a tragic event in the Howard County blogging community, this class has been postponed. Long-time (and widely read) local blogger Dennis Lane was murdered on Friday morning (more here). The local blogging community is still in a state of shock. Out of respect, we felt it was best to postpone the class until a later date.
If you were already signed up, the organizer will have reached out to you at your email address of record. Many thanks, and we will be in touch again soon.
Leaf Shutter + ND + Flash: A Fuji X100s Daylight Primer
Right about now I feel like Alice in Wonderland, holding the "drink me" cup. Having a leaf shutter, a built-in 3-stop neutral density filter and a real chip in a compact camera is opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
But with these possibilities come some quirks, some compromises and a few technical things to be mindful of. What you need to know about leaf-shutter compacts and daylight flash, below.
We have a bluebird nest in our backyard. There are two fledglings, and this is their dad.
To me, bluebirds have always had a specific connotation (i.e., the "bluebird of happiness," or more lately, "Twitter"). But this guy is a fearless badass. He'll fight off other birds, cats, squirrels—and photographers—if they get too close to his nest.
And for two afternoons this week, this particular bluebird led me down a photographic rabbit hole.
Having traveled more in the last five years than in all of the previous forty three, I finally feel like I have found a comfort zone as a traveling photographer. Though lugging far less gear, I'm still protected with backups for critical items.
Looking back just four years, there is now a huge difference in the way I approach my gear pack. A walk-thru and my reasoning, below.
One of my favorite things about being a photographer is that if you pay attention, stories are everywhere. But the trick is paying attention—even if that story is presenting itself after you have had a drink or two at a New Year's Eve party.
That's where I met Judith Schardt-Shure, a cafeteria manager at a local public middle school. We asked each other the typical "So, what do you do?" party questions, and the 30-minute discussion about cafeteria food that followed left me wanting to know more—and wanting to make sure other local parents knew, too.
Which is exactly why I have developed HoCo360 over the last three years. It has now turned into what I had for 20 years as a newspaper photographer: a license to be curious.