Sometimes Life Gives You Lemons

It has a been awhile since my last post. Just while I thought I had the bumps in the road smoothed out, life came a knocking at my door. It has been a interesting experience. One that I can not recommend to anyone. Challenges just facing you and not the motivation or energy to follow through. I am sure there will be a number of us who will have the joy of going through this life with not many health obstacles and for those of you, I congratulate you. I wish I could be one of you.

No image on this post just a explanation of where I have been. Sometimes you just got to take care of the more important stuff. I wish you all well and hope that I can continue to put up info that is entertaining, fun and just all round good stuff. Until the next post, keep shooting. Practice makes you better.

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.

DSLR Shade For Every Lens

DSLR Shade For Every Lens

Mamiya lens shade on a Canon DSLRProblem solving 101.

I use both brand of 35 cameras. I was tired of all the lens shades that seem to clutter up my case. They all are designed specifically for each lens and work as they should but some of them are large and take up a lot of space.  One Friday while I was shooting a portrait with my Hasselblad and Phase back the light bulb went on. Why couldn’t I do the same with the 35 like I do with my Hasselblad?  I called the folks at Capture Integration and spoke with Dave Gallagher. He let me know he had some old Mamiya Lens shades for 645 and he was willing to let me try to solve my problem.

After receiving the shade, I needed to make some modifications. I need a threaded adapters that would fit the lenses and the lens shade. First off, I standardized everything to 77mm sizing, iFront View of a Mamiya Lens Shadet was also the largest the the shade could handle that was a common size and readily available. Next I purchased step up rings for all my lenses so that they would be a universal 77mm thread. The easy part was now done. Now I needed to have adapters machined. One side to fit the lens shade and the other with a 77mm thread that would screw into the step up rings. Fortunately a friend and colleague had some machine time available so we arranged to meet for a friday breakfast and discuss the project.

After bacon, eggs, pancakes, fruit and coffee, he decided that brass was the material to start with. George bought a block of brass and proceeded to machine two adapters to fit the shade and lens.  They worked perfectly. The only drawback was being a little heavy but they were built like a tank.

After trying the brass adapters George offered to make one out of aluminum. It turned out significantly lighter, but the problem was with the 77mm threads. . Watching a tool head on a metal lathe make these little threads is fascinating. After taking it out of the lathe we discovered that the aluminum really likes to gall on such small threads. We used a real cheap block of aluminum ($3) for the build. I’m sure we should have purchased a higher quality of aluminum to fix the threading problem but we were only making one and it was just a trial.

In the end, I found that using some silicon paste and a Q-tip to put a little on the threads really solved the problem of screwing the adapter into the step up rings. Solved.

I’m using the shade on everything except for one of my wide lenses. I’m a happy camper. This shade swings both ways and doesn’t seem to mind that its Nikon one day and Canon the next.

Hope this gave you some ideas. Til next time……

Radio Shack Mini-phone 4 Way Sync

Radio Shack Mini-phone 4 Way Sync

Radio Shack Sync Cord Splitter 4 Four way

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry while they are still available! I picked these up at Radio Shack and they are mini phone splitters. As we show in the photo three of them can connect up so that you can run four strobes from one Pocket Wizard or Radio Popper. A vey simple solution that costs just a few dollars.

Since I started teaching, finding a simple solution for students to fire multiple strobes attached to a FourSquare block has been a challenge. This seems to be as cheap as I could find. You can check out one of my other posts on the “Belkin Rock Star” hub. Does exactly the same thing but differently.

Laundry Bags

Laundry Bags

Laundry bags are the perfect solution for storing diffusion and background material

Having been around for a few years, I have acquired a number of backgrounds, silks, diffusers and fabrics. In cleaning and purging the studio I needed a solution for storing all of the backgrounds that needed to be stuffed. I don’t fold my fabric backgrounds I just stuff them. It keeps the wrinkles pristine. I just use laundry bags that I purchased from IKEA to hold all the different backgrounds. It is a cheap and easy solution. It lets us seen what’s in the bag. We made little ID tags from gaff tape with dimensions and cable tied it to one of the corners of the background.

They then all get piled on the storage shelves with the ID tags facing out so we can easily find what we are looking for. It really helped in organizing all the fabrics.