Practice and mastering the technical side

Today was a practice day of my technical skills and understand my gear. The workshop with Joe McNally did definitely inspire me to try new things and work with more strobes.

I did receive my Yongnuo speed-lights and controller and also wanted to test my Sony Gear with off camera flash to see hot it did perform. I am torn between 2 masters and their different approaches to light: Frank Doorhof “If you think you need 2 lights, use 1 light, If you think you need 2 lights, use 1 light” and Joe McNally “Hell 94 strobes seems like a reasonable number”

First I had to get a willing model. My child hood Bunny would be perfect. Camera on the tripod with Zeiss 135mm lens.

Things never go smoothly for some reasons Capture One would not start on my laptop and refused to install the Sony driver on my main desktop. I still had the shooting desktop but not ideal position. Well LCD and view finder are good enough.

Step 1 using the light-meter I did measure the light ISO 100, f8 and I got readings between 1-4 seconds. Perfect this will mean a dark room. Building it slowly I started with the Sony HVL-F20am this is the one I use to trigger my HVL-F60m. The added the HVL-F60m to camera left with a Roge Flashbender. I then tested different zoom levels, flash compensation and shutter speed. Them moved the light stand, changed the shape of the flashbender to focus the light and avoid spill. Meter the stropbe to check the value. Nice exposure but boring  I tried to use my Trigrip with the diffuser and then Reflectors to shine some light on the right side of the face.

Step 2 move to the Yongnuo speed-light, controller on camera. Step 1 disable Live-view preview. Try with 1 strobe camera left maybe 40 cm from the subject using the flashbender, try different zoom and power levels. Add a 2nd speed-light camera right group B  this time with a shoot through umbrella. There was too much spill cover the half closer to the back with the black cover, Add a 2nd speed-light to group B on a the triflash. lower the power. Once the light was where I wanted it, take the camera of tripod and start shooting different angles and study how light and reflections change.

The Commander and setting for the Yongnuo are a great addition to my current gear so easy to zoom, adjust all from the camera no need to change anything. Next test. Try the integration with the Studio strobes there are different options : slave mode, or maybe integrate the skyport withe the Yongnuo using a sync cable.

So far I am very happy with my purchase. spent some time organizing the new strobes: 3 Group A,3 Group B and 1Group C with different Clamps all nicely fit in a single backpack. Also did spend some time rearranging my great packing it nicely into a suitcase to make it easier to take everything on a shoot


Here the complete shoot, no special editing just my default recipe applied to all the raw files.The behind the scene pictures did get a little boost in the shadows and exposure


It is not about the picture! It is about the story !

If you are into photography you have heard this before “It is not about the gear”, After 4 years at this, I finally realized that it is not about many other things either. OK you can call me a slow learner.

So it is not about the gear and it is not about the location or model or light or even the final picture. It is all about the story the picture tells or in some ways even better what it does not tell but suggests.

I am fortunate enough to go out at least 1-3x a week to shoot. Weeks without any photography are really an exceptions. You will never ever see me complain about the location, the light, …

Does it suck ? Yes sometimes big time! But I can’t change that, I can only work with it and make the best of it, bend it, maybe if I am lucky shape it a little, the same goes for location. After all this time I realize it is about the story or fairy tale I am going to tell with my art.

Some will argue that my weekly model is not the prettiest. Ok maybe her skin tone is a little strange, she has a gigantic mouth. I know one is not supposed to say that. But honestly when you need to shoot at F16 to get all her head  in focus it might be a little bit on the larger side. Her Red clothes are a nightmare to work with.

But I have know her for some time .I know the softer inner side. The loving, funny, whacky, up to no good spirit. I am always psyched to haunt the Stadium with her, I am awfully constrained. Single flash on camera or big lens high iso and low F-stop. Joe Mc Nally told me to get my flash off camera in some ways. Well after last nights crowd I don’t see that happening, unless I am allowed to be followed by a drone with the light.

Every time I am looking out for the moment,  a new story to tell: real, touching, crazy but a story with ah single picture. I fail more often that I succeed but I fail with passion and determination.


Watch out more stories coming from this brain