Modify the Paul C. Buff Umberella with a Piece of All-Thread

Modify the Paul C. Buff Umberella with a Piece of All-Thread

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Well it has been some time since I posted last. Life kind of got in the way. Had a meeting with a surgeon and his scalpel. He worked on me for a long time. Fortunately I was a good patient and did not have to spend the night in the hospital, but was given instructions to do nothing for the next six weeks. Sit, walk around the block, nap, read a book … just don’t go back to work.  I started back at work when the recovery pain was tolerable. I did not do myself any favors by doing this, I just prolonged my recovery. It hasn’t been until this last week that I was feeling kind of like my old self. Lots of things changed, but getting back into the swing of things has been a challenge. My don’t list was running pretty long because of the chronic pain. I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do that, I just don’t want to do anything if it hurts. But life keeps going even if your not ready to get back on the train.

I was working on a set up with two of the Paul C. Buff umbrellas when he brought out the “parabolic” series that were big. For some of the stuff we do here, having a couple of big/giant umbrellas throw light at a large group of people was just the ticket. This umbrella shown was one of the first that I bought and it had some challenges for me. The way it was designed there was not enough of the rod to go through the FourSquare block. (This has since been fixed). Trying to figure out a solution, I needed to make the rod longer and the umbrella pole was hollow. After scratching around the studio, I had a section of all-thread (1/4-20) that fit just perfectly into the center of the umbrella shaft with next to no play. For those that don’t know all-thread, it it a rod that is threaded so you can make your own bolts and connecting devices if standard bolts that are threaded are just to short. I cut off a section of all-thread about five inches and filed the burrs smooth after using a metal hack saw. I made sure it would go in as far as I needed then marked it with a sharpie at the point where it stopped. I then pulled it back out.

Next I mixed up some two part 5 minute epoxy and spread a generous amount on the end going into the shaft and proceeded to slowly push it in the umbrella shaft until I came up to the point I marked with the sharpie. Next I used a paper towel with some Acetone to wipe off the excess epoxy and then set it aside to dry.

The beauty of this fix for me is that with the all-thread, I can use it on the FourSquare Block, a Manfrotto 026 umbrella stand adapter, it fits into my Elinchrom heads, my Dynalite heads as well as an old set of Comets.

I really like that the all thread really beefs up the strength of the aluminum shaft. I’m sure that if you have broken a umbrella shaft before this is one way to put that umbrella back into service and not into the land fill. In fact I fixed an old Photek umbrella that I had broken years ago only needing to use a different size of all thread.

Hope this was helpful.

 

Budget Diffusion from Ikea

Budget Diffusion from Ikea

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Hey! Listen up! Take notice ! I found these “curtains” at Ikea. They are a great deal like wedding dress tewell and diffuse the light very nicely.  This set was $2.99 and gave me two pieces 110″ x 98″.

I have stapled and layered these to a large artists stretcher frames and have made myself some very useful light modifiers. They would also work really well on location to diffuse light from a really strong sun filled window or to hang over the window while you blast your strobe into the room from the outside. Layer them up thick or thin, you have a great deal of lighting control.

No Ikea where you are? Just buy them on line. You can’t go wrong for only $2.99!!!

Wescott Arm for Holding a Sunbounce Scrimm

Wescott Arm for Holding a Sunbounce Scrimm

Now this is one of those moments when you just go….ah ha. That was for me any way. This is a holder from Wescott that is used to hold a there Scrim Jim frame.  They retail this arm for around fifty dollars (grip head not included). In the studio I use a lot of lightweight California Sunbounce frames and have always rigged a grip head to a Sunbouce frame and them onto a stand. This clamp made it so much easier because I can articulate the frame and diffusion frame on the axis of the mount (both sides mind you). So when I am shooting I can float this above me and use a tweak of light to get a soft sparkle of light in the models eyes or I can blast away for a on camera look.

I now have married two of these together so they are always ready. I have changed from a grip head to a manfrotto umbrella stand adapter, it gives me the same articulation for less dollars out. It has become a handy little tool around the studio.

Sync the FourSquare With Optical Slaves

Sync the FourSquare With Optical Slaves

The FourSquare with optical slaves and a pocket wizard

 

 

The FourSquare, Nikon Speedlights and optical slaves with a pocket wizardThese Nikon SB-900s have a PC port on the side so we only needed three optical slaves. We found that the small Nissin slaves worked great.
The FourSquare, Canon Speedlites and optical slaves with a pocket wizardThe Canon580EXSpeedlites do not have a PC port so I went with a Wein slave. This allows us to attach a standard Pocket Wizard to trigger the first light, and the remaining are being fired by the optical slave on the bottom. 

 

 

It seems pretty simple and it is. For the technically challenged, the optical slave works just as well as separate triggers. Using these in the Four Square box assures they will all “see” the light. The real trick is finding the right optical slaves! I found a real difference as to what slaves would trigger which brand of flash. I did not think this would be such a “touchy” issue but it was. And finally, this is a great way to use older flashes and bring them into your current workflow.

It is really amazing how much you can do with these flashes if you think beyond the borders. High ISO capabilities along with speed lights are a great combination.

My Location Kit

My Location Kit

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