Cherrybilly!

Last weekend I had an awesome shoot with Cherrybilly, It wasn’t only really pleasant, I loved the result too!

Light assistant (and second photgrapher) : Sem Dendoncker

MUA: Connie Van Noten

The first concept was to put a fridge in a field and let Cherrybilly step out:

We were very lucky, the weather was awesome and we took some more pictures :

I Used 2 SB900’s: one in a 80×80 gridded softbox left and my softbox/beautydish on the right 🙂

I want to thank Ellen, Sem and offcorse the lovely Connie again for the great day!

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New Beauty dish… or is it a soft box

Hey guys,

I wanted to make myself a beauty dish a long time ago now, but always struggled with finding the right dome… One day I stumbled upon a nice dome, really cheap too (9€)!

So I was determined to make a beauty dish out of it. Problem 1: I like strudy brackets, not the ones I put my SB600 on and then the bracket lets go of the strobe…( remember?)

An exhaustive search on Ebay, several purchases later I found a good contender : Here. I found this bracket easy to modify to whatever I want to. It’s very sturdy and my new SB900 fits nicely on it!

Once the bracket was decided I mounted a nice big dome on it. Problem was (still is) the dome is too deep to get a nice beauty-dish effect… it acts more like a snoot. So I switched again to add some diffuse cloths in the dome and got a pretty good result. This with a minimum of cost. It’s quick and dirty but works as intended!

Now next step is to get me the same dome, another bracket and make a modification to the dome to finally get my beauty dish 🙂

oh yeah, I almost forgot the result 🙂

On the left with diffuse, right is bare in the bowl.

SB600 revived!

Remember I bought a SB900 because my SB600 died?


This is the mess…


I started real gentle about it and opened the strobe to see the flash tube was busted.

Again the good digital native in me started a Google search: here, here and here

so some pointers you have to consider:

  1. Order the flashtube from Nikon or Ebay (8-30€ -> an official Nikon repair is 200€…).
  2. Disassemble the flash and take the batteries out.
  3. Leave for 3 weeks (REALLY !!! the capacitor is charged and a big zap is waiting)
  4. De -solder  the broken tube
  5. Replace the tube (watch the side with the wire!)
  6. Test the zoom while the flash is still open. (so the wires are tucked away nicely)
  7. Work neatly! (don’t lose any screws, remember what screw goes where…)

The result is this :

IT WORKS!

thanks Google 🙂

RIP SB600 – heloooo SB900!

I was on the verge of settling and being happy with my SB600 (good workhorse!) then suddenly I decided to drop it onto this earth in a nice bed of rocks… the flash head is dead and now I have to buy a new one: I considered a SB600 again but then in the shopwindow is saw the big brother…SB900 in all it’s glory. I wondered is it that much better? Is it worth the price difference? Lets see 🙂

As every good digital native I googled it. Here, here and here: nothing but praise! only the pricetag seems to be the issue (mine too!) a good 400€ still…

But I went ahead anyway and bought the thing. Now that I can play around with it, I wanted to share my opinion, as a strobist.

First off : I mainly use the manual setting with triggers so the whole CLS/TTL is not really my cup off tea. I wonder if this is going to change now I own ‘the flagship strobe’.

My first test was a wedding for a Japanese couple. They came to Belgium specially to get married in Leuven (groot begijnhof) my hope was the flash could keep up with the necessary flashes. I heard a lot of rumors the flash went too fast in safety (due to heat).

First pop: DAAAMM that’s powerfull 😀

Second pop: Cycle time! thank you NIKON: the cycle time on these SB900 is fantastic. I didn’t have my external power supplies yet but i wonder if they are even needed? Yes you would have an even faster cycle. But I think it’s not the point to strobe a model blind either…

Third pop: CLS activated and going strong! I never used the TTL or CLS on a strobe, I’m used to work with a yongnuo trigger, which is a manual strobe. But this time I activated my CLS and triggered it with my pop-up flash. hesitation was around when I noticed the strong sun, but I did not have 1 misfire… only when the sensor was covered offcorse…

I’ll be posting some more remarks. But the general idea is that the SB900 is a very powerful, easy to use, well build strobe. Where I used to work on manual settings I switched to TTL and it works great! With my sb600 I never used it, but now i feel ok using it.

Triathlon Izegem

A couple of colleagues participated in a triathlon this past weekend, and we actually did good (for bunch of amateurs 🙂 )

In the beginning one colleague suggested we entered the trio-triathlon in Bruges, this is quite ok to do he said. 1km swim, 45km bike and 10 running. This is ok if you’re not going for the best possible ranking! So we entered and Tom did the swimming, Koen the biking and I ran. This was the logic team layout, matching everyone’s ‘best’ event.

We started out as a happy trio, trained a little and participated in Bruges. We finished 383 (out of 1200+) this gave us a big boost. A good result always leads to more crazy stunts right. So we got a little crazier and switched events. Koen was going to swim, I biked and Tom ran. We competed in Izegem and finished 87th.

Up to the next challenge: http://www.triathlonieper.be/

We’re going to compete solo 😉

Tomato splash

Last week a colleague of mine asked me if we could play with a camera to get a picture. The setup was to make a picture for his kitchen, a little corner that was blank and a little too blank… He is a big fan of cooking and being in the kitchen we had to do something with food… His idea was brilliant in concept and form:

Drop a tomato in a vase with water to have a dynamic image and narrow but high image.

We came up with this:
Tomato
We put the vase on a glass plate, mounted a strobe under it and one softbox left. As a kicker a bare flash right high just on the splash.

This was done in daylight in a garden with a black cloth background. The reflection was added in photoshop and glass plate was stamped out. Hope you like it and tell me what you think!

Ipad and a Nikon D300

So I had the opportunity to test an Ipad with a Nikon D300 this morning!

I was always struggling with the fact that in fashion photography and strobist meetings it’s not always that obvious to evaluate the shot quality or pre-show pictures to other people. Yesterday a colleague of mine walked in with an Apple Ipad and showed me some nice features : picture viewing was só smooth! I had to ask to test this.

The point was to test the tethered setup and a preview functionality.

We first hooked up the USB cable from the camera to the camera connection kit (apple) but we encountered a strange phenomenon. The camera was detected but picture previews where not shown… we google’d some of the fora out there and found someone had to change usb cable… so we did. I was using a 5m cable, that I usually have to shoot tethered with my laptop and lightroom 3.  Apparently this seems to pose a problem for the Ipad, we switched to a 1.5m usb cable and hazaa! raw pictures were recognized instantly, imported and previews (that are embedded in the NEF) were of decent quality to scroll trough. Also the selection of import, deletion of pictures on CF (in the camera) worked awesomely. A little note on the side: deleting all pictures on the CF is a bit too easy and really fast! so be careful with that!

The Ipad doesn’t support the NEF format, logic in my opinion, seen there is no real CPU power to support this smoothly. As mentioned it uses the embedded Jpeg, so zooming on a picture was not of that great quality.

So now the only question is, what the best workflow is? Using the Ipad as a storage facility to import them on a PC (or mac for that matter) is not the right way in my opinion. The Ipad is too expensive and not made for this application. There have to be better methods out there.

I believe the Ipad to be a real nice thing to preview pictures with but in the end, if that’s the only thing you can do with it as a photographer, maybe other solutions are more adequate… I will take a look at some other possibilities and talk about it some more.

For now i’ll stick to the 3″ I have on my D300 😉

Google Wave’s death…

Just a moment off silence …

I read the announcement today that Google is stopping it’s development for Google Wave. Not only stopping the development but dis commissioning the service end of the year.

The reactions on the net are divided. Some say it was meant to be, others blame the late opening of the ‘no-invitation’ policy. It is true at some point the invitations were scare, maybe too scare. But after opening the application to the big public only last May, the service still didn’t catch on. Moving the service to the Google labs was a good move, the history tells us that this is a good start for applications to mature. Google is notoriously known for being one step ahead in development or supporting new digital ways (google maps, Gmail, GoogleDocs,…) too bad they gave up on this one so soon.

As a wave user (apparently one of the few) I deplore the decision but the great news follows: they stressed again that the technology and application of it is groundbreaking compared to some others services out there. They’re releasing the source under GPL! A great move again! Can you imagine others doing this?

As a Wave user I wanted to recap on the great functionality I fell for:

  • Drag and drop files
  • live communication
  • gadgets and extensions (napkin, maps, voting, calenders)

So hoping the source Google releases is of any applicable use to the community, this ‘waver’ is waiting for the next wave…

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