Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My New Light Modifiers

I recently acquired a couple of new light modifiers that I am pretty excited about. First, I bought a Saberstrip strip light. Using relatively large light diffusers outside can sometimes be problematic if there is any appreciable amount of wind. In addition, there are numerous situations, both indoors and out, where a strip light comes in handy, especially one that can be fit in some fairly small spaces. So when I saw this Saberstrip, I just had to have one to try it out.

The diffuser on the Saberstrip measures about 2-3/8 inches wide by about 29.5 inches long. That works out to about 70 square inches of diffuser area. The unit is 39 inches long, overall.

The Saberstrip can be used in a variety of ways. You can hand-hold it, you can lay it on the ground, or you can attach it to a light stand using the built-in 1/4-20 threaded insert in the bottom end. To change the flash power, you simply loosen the yellow thumb screw, lift the long tube off the bottom, and make your adjustments.

I used Pocketwizards to sync with the Saberstrip, as you can see here:

After reading this Strobist blog post, I was so impressed with the lighting setup that I had to run right out and get another light diffuser. This one is an official David Hobby Strobist® light diffuser (AKA Walmart bedsheet). I added my own modification to my new Strobist® light diffuser: I had my wife sew a loop (hem) in each end so I could slide it onto the pole that holds it up so I could use it without securing it with "A" clamps if I wanted to.  My wife was very happy to do this, because when I am doing my photography, I'm not creating saw-dust and tracking it all over the house (my other hobby is woodworking.) Here is a photo of my official David Hobby Strobist® light diffuser (AKA Walmart bedsheet) in action:

Trying out the Saberstrip, I first made an exposure without any fill light. Here is an example of a photo lit only by the Saberstrip, located about 45 degrees on camera right:

Although the Saberstrip does not "wrap" the light along its narrow width as much as a medium size softbox would, it "wraps" beautifully along its long axis. On the long axis, it is just as good as a 30" softbox. In many situations, you need the large diffusion mostly on one long dimension, and the smaller amount of diffusion in the narrow axis, while limited, is still quite useful.

Now, to add fill light, I included my new official David Hobby Strobist® light diffuser (AKA Walmart bedsheet). I set it up behind me, with a Paul C. Buff Einstein studio light set about 2 feet behind it to shoot through the sheet. This provided what I believe to be the perfect fill light. It does its job without being conspicuous. Here is the photo with the fill light added.

If you had not seen the photo before this one, you would hardly notice the fill light. It does its job without being conspicuous. The importance of the fill light, however, becomes obvious when you take it away and look at a photo without it.

I think this is a pretty handy 2-light portrait setup.

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