Prototype LED Light …frustration on not finding what I want.



This is definitely a home made light, just like back in school with foam core, glue and gaffer tape. The only thing missing is any diffusion. It’s pretty crude but it is a very nice light. This is my first one and I am currently working on the second. I have found brighter LED’s and a new power source. The plan is to make it totally collapsable so you can put it in a small case. This one has been made with a hard structure, now its time to come up with the “Soft” one.

Hi-Light Disc, Controlling your light!


This was made using a Ranger pack with a standard reflector, with one of our new Highlight Discs (designed by Dr.Dan) and a 40 degree grid.  They come in three sizes and act just like an aperture  on your strobe head. We are showing here just one disc in a standard reflector can change the way you think about using a “standard” reflector. Generally, a standard reflector is designed to throw light out there with a specific coverage. With these discs and grids you can come up with amazing changes in how you control your highlight edges.

Gray Card


So important to be consistent in your work. All of the above are manufacturers versions of “neutral” gray. Which one is correct? They were all shot exactly the same! The point I am making is that they are all correct. You have to be the one to decide what is going to be “YOUR” gray and stick with it. Be consistent in how you work with your chosen gray. Naturally these will all be different they were made by different manufacturers. As far as I know there is no manufacturing standard set by any governing body, as to what the “gray” value should be. Pick one for your work, your camera, your lighting, your monitor and your workflow. Be consistent. Just know that Gray is not always Gray.

All shots were taken with the following settings  D800, 24-70 mm f/2.8 @70 mm,  ISO 100,  1/125 s,  f/8


Reflector Plate


I spent a little time in the shop this week and built myself a mirrored/reflector board. I decided that it needed to be the size of pre made filter kits like the ones from Lee or Rosco. The size I decided on was the Lee, as the pre cut filters are 12″ x 12″ and Rosco are 10″ x 12″. The default on the larger size.

I used a product called Sintra which is like a plastic foam core material. The thickness is 5mm and it light enough and stiff enough to work for what I wanted. I also used some scrap 1″x 2″ board for the side mounting.

I cut the Sintra to 12″ x 13″ on my table saw, making sure it was nice and square. I then cut my 1″ x 2″ board down to 13″ in length and trimmed the width to be exactly 1″.  I then went to the drill press and drilled a 1/4″ hole through the center of the wood strip so I could attach a Mini Mount from LightwareDirect to use on a LightwareDirect TF plate assembly. Now that I had a 1/4″ hole through the board, I wanted to fix in position a 1/4″ nut that was recessed and would be flush with the wood. I found a drill bit that was just a bit bigger than the nut and drilled out the hole just deep enough to hold the nut. Next, I just used a dab of glue around the outside of the nut to hold it in place in the wood. Then I painted the whole thing black. After the paint was dry, I used the all sticky and amazing gorilla glue to mount the strip of wood to the 13″ running length of Sintra. I used wood clamps to make sure they were in the correct position and clamped them together until they were dry. So this left me with a perfect square area of 12″ x 12″ to mount my mirror mylar with double sided removeable scotch tape. I like using the removable scotch tape because you can change to a variety of reflective surfaces that Lee and Rosco offer. You can even use aluminum foil if you want.

Using the Lee or Rosco gels on this board requires you to remember that whatever gel you put on it, you are actually doubling it. The light passes through the gel hits the mirror and then bounces back through the gel onto your subject, effectively doubling the “out put” of the gel.

This is perfect for using in the studio or on location to bounce a kicker hair light or edge light on to your subject. The  next one is a 20″x 24″ .

My heart felt thanks go out to Dean Collins who came up with this years ago and I have just now added it to my kit and it is extremely useful. He will always be missed.


microGaffer tape is here! Grab your own pack.


Lightware Direct just got a new addition to the Cool Tools line in the store. Yeah I know, you say I just wrap some regular gaf tape around a pencil and keep some in all of my bags. Yeah I did to until I found these. I like having the different colors so if we are doing video I can mark (spike?) spots on the floor or carpet where the models are to be when they walk into the frame. I don’t have to buy huge rolls of the colors they already come the right size.  Also useful for marking a set here in the studio if we have to take it down for some reason and then reset. We do a little map and then also write on the tape what light went on that spot. Personally I like the bright colors for my work along with the universal black.