The Strobist Corner: Protect Your Strobe With A Frisbee

Free-Style by Iguana JoEver had your light stand taken down along with your precious 5000$ Profoto? Not a fun experience.

Next runner up on the not-so-fun light stands falls is a knocked-down speedlite. While the cost of speedlites is considerably less than the cost of a Profoto, if this is all you have it can still be pretty annoying. Especially if you’re on the beach where it’s sandy. 

Keep reading for a cheap and ingenious solution. 

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Magic Lantern – Photographers Take Control

Just a quick news flash, if you’re not up to date yet with the Magic Lantern.

Similar to CHDK, a firmware hack that allows you to take control over all the hidden features in your Point & Shoot, Magic Lantern unlocks some very nifty features on your New and shiny Canon 5D Mark 2.

Magic Lantern Firmware is mainly focused on video, but hey – if you’re techie enough, feel free to jump in and download the source code and add whatever feature you’d like. (A movie, feature list and some thoughts after the jump).

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The DIY Super-Robotic Panohead

panorama robotic headWhat’s better than Obama? An Obama Panorama, of course.

If you clicked the link above, you will find a 1,474 Megapixel image of president Obama inauguration. Yup you heard right. 1,474 MP.

This image was made possible with a cool robotic device called the GigaPan. The GigaPan is an automated robotic cradle that tilts and pans in small steps to complete huge panoramic views. It even has a little robotic arm to press the shutter release button for you. And now it is going DIY.

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Three Great iPhone Apps For Photographers

iX-ray, by slowburnUPDATE: coolest app added at the end of post.

The iPhone (or THE iPhone) is gaining popularity fast with photographers. Well, it has an in-phone camera. That kinda means that you carry a camera whenever you go (admit it!! you carry your cell anywhere!!). See Chase Jarivs’s Twitpic iPhone pic stream for example. Just another argument to show that it is not the gear that makes you a good photographer.

Another evidence is the ever increasing number of “how to take good pictures with your iPhone” tutorials. Here are a few that I like: Wired, Goodtree & company, Chase, Neutralday, but really, the net is loaded with tons of tips, guides and creativity enhancers for iPhone images.

So iPhone is popular. OK; no news here. The news (at least for me who still wears black headphones) is that iPhone also packs great applications for photographers. The round up below, courtesy of Ladislav Soukup, is probably just the first mushrooms in the post forest rain of iPhone apps for photogs. I’d love to hear (on the comments) what’s your favorite iPhone app.

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Studio @ Home – Full Scale Backdrops & Backgrounds

Photography Studio @ HomeOn the last post we saw how easy it is to set a “backdrop” for any small object.

In this post, we will continue to explore backdrop solutions, only this time the focus is going to be on full scale backdrops. The type that goes better with taking portraits.

The underlying principles remain the same: once you have a space to shoot at, you will want to remove distractions from the background. Again, you’ll want to use a seamless backdrop removing seams in Photoshop is a painful and time consuming process. The standard width for most backdrop, muslin or paper is about 108″ (although 53″ is a common size as well). This width allows for some freedom in terms of subject placement and subject movement.

As with most simple things in life backdrop creation can be divided into two parts: creating the backdrop and mounting it.

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The DIY Light Table – A Weekend Project

diy-light-table

Here’s a great project for a weekend. The DIY Light Table, courtesy of Félix Ménard (Flickr).

The idea behind the light table is simple. Things look really great if the light is passing through them. As opposed to light being reflected off them. This is why slides look so good, this is why we love vitrage windows in churches.

A light table is the perfect way to inspect slides, negs and to do some really interesting art.

This project by Felix uses an old desktop (from when desktops were actually made from wood and did not have any chips in them), however, a similar project can be made with more temporary means which are great for a weekend project. I’ll discuss this towards the end.

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The Portable Flash Pack

Portable Flash PackIf you’ve read the small backdrops post on Studio @ home, you know I am now on some R&R with wify. Of course I am packed for the ride with my photography gear. Aside from a camera I wanted to share how I pack my flash things. I got this tip from a long while ago at Strobist and here is my adaptation: The Portable Flash Pack.

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Doing More With Less – A Mannequin Case Study

Doing More With Less - Photography Studio LightsWhen I was a young manager, I went to my boss once, and bitched about a resource cut down and the fact the marketing was imposing a hell of a schedule on us poor R&D guys.

I really liked his response and even though it did not get me more resources it gave me good directions on how to make a plan. He looked straight into my eyes, patted me on the shoulder and fiercely said “Any manager can do more work with more resources; only good managers can do more with less“. Okay, strike the shoulder and fierce thing, this is just my father complex kicking in.

However, the same idea also applies to photography, and especially starting photographers where big dollars equipment is rare.

In the story below Martin Kimeldorf (Flickr) shares a lesson on making more with less. Actually, Martin managed to double the amount of light sources he has with just a bit of imagination. [Read more...]

Studio @ Home – Small Backdrops & Backgrounds

Photography Studio @ HomeOK, so you have your space, and ready to take your first shot on your new studio.

One of the first things that you’ll need is background. Whether you’re doing a product shot or a full portrait, backgrounds play essential role in the final outcome.

A good background will not create distractions from the subject, and will help draw attention to its features.A bad background, on the other hand, can spoil a perfectly good subject and create a cluttered feel that will distract from the subject.

In this post I’ll cover backgrounds for small objects and product shots.

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