Saturday, September 18, 2010

Upgrading... and admiring. [not in that order]

One thing I don't do, as a photographer - amateur or otherwise - is claim myself as a strobist.

Really, I don't. With great irony, I don't.

I love all the work that
David Hobby has put into his website, and I love the way he has created a following on such a basic principle. He has brought a beautiful technicality to that part of the equation that it is, if anything, nothing short of awe-inspiring.

I suppose, to a small degree I am trying to do the same [with this blog], but I am not methodical (nor professional) enough to lay down a gauntlet, in respect to photography. Although, I could probably do so with working with Alternative Glass and building a database like pBase [but more informative]. I certainly have quite a few (lenses) in my possession, and through creating a formulae, I'm sure I could build up a nice single-contributor pbase rival for that purpose. If i do that, I may have to rebrand this blog again! [insert perfunctory LOL here]

The inherent problem with the title I chose is that, in talking about Lens, i am not talking about lighting, and through virtue of extension, not bringing light to anything. Perhaps, i'm shedding light on subjects rarely discussed? [insert strong LOL here]

I ramble too much. [insert annoying LOL here]

Having said that, for the last 9months, I've been working with the Canon 5D. A magnificent camera that has yielded some rather awe-inspiring photos every so often, for me. I also upgraded my flash system, returning the well loved SB-28 back to it's rightful owner, my de facto mentor - Scott [aka Thinkincolor], and acquiring a Canon 430EX for my primary flash system. The Quantaray QF30 remains, as before, my backup flash - on the ready with fully charged Eneloops in it's bay, just in case the 430EX or its batteries fail. This is, by no means, a plug for the QF30. It's a crap flash that is only redeemed by the fact that it is dedicated and TTL. Unfortunately, the former works against it as it cannot be used with off-camera wireless flash systems, such as the Pt-04 "Cactus" triggers, or the Yongnuo RF-602 trigger. The RF-602's were a small upgrade for me as well, this past summer.

Also, acquired for my kit... A DECENT TRIPOD! I got an
Induro cx-114 last month, and my chances to use it, have been so far, very limited. It is a great tripod, nonetheless. I just don't have a tripod head for it yet, so i've been stuck with using it only when i bolt the camera on directly, which is never ideal. But at least, I haven't been forced to lug around a heavy tripod. Thank god for Carbon Fibre!

...But I digress [see what I mean about not being methodical?]


THE REAL UPGRADES I'VE BEEN MEANING TO TALK ABOUT


Flash/light modification is always key to a good photo. Something that my kit has been lacking is exactly that - light modification. I've been using my flashes as is all this time, with them either direct or bounced. Rarely, i slap on a snoot or grid, but more often than not, those don't work with the kind of shooting I do. On occasion, I have relied on bounce cards - which more often than not, have been playing cards or white cardboard, strapped on via elastic. I have recently moved over to scrap Chloroplast instead, as it is stronger and more durable.

Chloroplast by the way, is awesome for macro light tents.

So, I've decided that I need to get more out of my flash and to do that, I'm getting diffusers. I was only going to get one type, but I realized that I would still be limiting myself, so i went both with sto-fen and lambency types. The former, being a
cheapie from Hong Kong, costing me $1.60cdn, the latter, ten times more. The beauty is, I can use both of them at the same time, theoretically. The Lambency is a rubbery kind that slips over, and i'm assuming with enough give to go over the sto-fen. [For the record, I did not get a Gary Fong... i went with an unbranded knock-off]


Lambency Type Flash Diffuser Mounted to an older Canon Flash

Also being added to the kit is an optical slave. As you recall, the QF-30 flash is far from great, but I hope to expand it's abilities and use, within my kit, by adding an optical slave to it. It's my hope that I can get more into proper strobing with it on optical slave. The funny thing is, I had given thought to selling it on Craigslist. Maybe I will still, but not until after I give the optical thing a shot. At the very least, I might be able to use it in conjunction with the 430ex this way, and with the Rebel's on-camera pop-up flash.

Outside of that, I'm thinking about upgrading my knowledge too. I've been hemming and hawing over buying a few books off Amazon. If i do go through with them, I'll of course review them here. I should give reviews for the books i have already... there's an idea!
(right off the bat, I will highly recommend Michael Freeman's books, as they are a nice middle-of-the-road approach; using both inspirational and manual styles.)

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