Control Your Flash Settings With a TV Remote Control

Control Your Flash Settings With a TV Remote ControlControlling your strobe from a distance has always been a priority for off camera flash photographers. If TTL works for you, you can extend your TTL cable quite a bit using a simple Cat5e hack.

But what if you could do this remotely. and I mean skipping the whole walking to the flash and adjusting it bit. (Or asking your assistant to do so, assuming you have an assistant). Up until now remote controlling your strobe like this was a benefit saved for Profoto Air Remote ($325 remote only) and profoto heads, or Radio Popper Jrx owners (Strobist review here).

Now this very exciting feature is available for the oh so cheap YN460 manual flash ($69 + about $10 in remote parts) – read the howto after the jump. [Read more...]

DIY FlashBender

DIY Flash BendersIn this post reader Bob Jordan walks us through a DIY one-piece, strobe modifier, which is kinda like a FlashBender. Which in turn kinda remind me of the Honl system (which also has a Honl DIY version).

I am a big fan of the Honl speed strap system and have been using it along with my DIY straps and other additions for a long time. The high control along with the very light weight serve as an excellent on the go modifier system. While I have never tried the Bender, it looks like a worthy alternative. <switching to Jondan> [Read more...]

A DIY 9Shooter: Shooting Stills & Video Simultaneously & Audio Too!

45surf 9 shooter The post below shows a simple way to capture video while taking still pictures. Sure, there is some added weight and yea, video will not get a dedicated person and will just “follow along”, yet, this is a neat way to achieve video with just one person shooting, This is also a great instructional tool for yourself to see how you interact with your model, what things work and what makes them shrink.

There are two versions for this mod – a dueler which mounts a DSLR with a video camera and a 9Shooter that also has sound attached. From now on it is all Elliot McGucken. [Read more...]

A DIY Clip Gel Holder

A DIY Clip Gel HolderWe have featured some awsome gel holders on the site before. But never one with this simple approach. It is fast to mount, easy to use and leave no residue on the strobe.

It also fits any size flash and any size gel, how cool is that?

Thanks, Jerry R Hamby, for this awsome build. [Read more...]

Interview With Caleb Charland

Interview With Caleb Charland Caleb Charland is a photographer that captures the everyday physical phenomena which we never think about in a unique and inspiring way.

DIYP was lucky enough to have Caleb for an interview.

DIYP: Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

CC: When I talk about my work I need to share the experiences that made me wonder. Those moments when I began to think about the world, to show from where the pieces fell.

I grew up in a do it yourself household and learned to appreciate the power that tools and materials hold.

Interview With Caleb CharlandThere’s one day I go back to when I think about my work. It was probably the summer of ’89, give or take a year, somewhere on the edge of July and August.

Since before my memories began my dad spent his vacations pounding nails and sawing boards, making his mark.

His life was work and our house his medium. He seemed so alive atop a ladder with an arm load of 2x4s.

On this day we got up early, we always did when there was lumber to cut. I remember the smell of sawdust at daybreak, watching the particles scatter in air like a golden summer snow.

We were in the process of doubling the size of our house by adding on a two car garage with rooms on the second level.

I was nearly nine at the time and learning there was something magic in those materials. Snapping the chalk line expelled electric blue nebula

A mishandled hammer drew sparks from a nail.

While copper pipe in a propane halo emitted lime green meteorites in all directions.

Had I been just a few years older my teenage angst might have clouded these observations or dimmed the phenomena from imprinting on my recollections. I was still young and at full capacity of wonder.

“Wonder is a sort of suspension of the mind between ignorance and enlightenment that marks the end of unknowing and the beginning of knowing.” –Lugli

Photography has always been a medium of wonder for me. Light traced in silver. From the beginning I have attempted to find the extraordinary in the everyday. I took my observations of material properties and possibilities into the darkroom.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: What do you do for a living?

CC: I was just hired by the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. My job will be a media tech/ artist in residence for the photo department. I’m looking forward to this experience; it could be nice a transition into teaching. I didn’t expect to be back in academia so soon, I just finished my MFA at the school of the art institute of Chicago this past May.

DIYP: How did you first get into photography?

CC: See above and: I remember asking for a camera when I was in grade school, I don’t think any early pictures remain, and they probably weren’t very good. My high school had a decent darkroom and I took classes on the weekends that were run by Maine college of art…funny how things circle around like that in life…since I’ll be working there this fall.

Also I was never any good at drawing, photo was a way to be creative without draftsmanship. Even from the beginning I was questioning the world through photography. The first artists I was exposed to were Mike and Doug Starn’s work. I really responded to the tactile nature, the cut up pictures, the frames they would build around the images. The presentation and the images had a harmony and DIY aesthetic that, in retrospect, reminded me of my experiences remodeling the house.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: What drew you to photographing physical phenomena?

After I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art I lived in Boston for a year then I moved back home and began taking classes at a community college in math and science. Being home gave me access to the basement and garage; Both are spaces of tinkering, hobbies and building. Hidden spaces in America where people usually do those things they rather do if work was not a necessity.

I was back where my curiosity had been awakened as a kid. My mind was awakened too. The classes I was taking, algebra, anatomy and physiology and so forth, made me access parts of my brain that had been dormant as an undergrad in Art School.

I was reminded of the joy and challenge in simple science. I started looking at even simpler methods in the form of children’s books of science experiments. These books are a how to guide to fascination.

There is a lot to be taken for granted in the world. A Lot of Ordinary. But if sought out, there are amazing possibilities, if you stay curious.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: How do you set up your photos?

CC: Simpler is better. Photos can take anywhere from 5 mins to a week or more to set up. Or in some cases they may take months to develop, waiting for the right time of year or requiring several field tests to get them right. Again I often learn a lot about a picture just by doing it. So I’ll prepare an instrument or an apparatus for a picture then just go for it. If I’m lucky it works out the first time, but often the initial test tells me how the idea will actually look or be rendered.

I also usually shoot many sheets of film. So there might be multiple variations on an idea, multiple attempts. I never combine negs digitally. I guess what I’m sating is that I feel a lot of pressure until I complete one full process. The with each successive attempt I might try something that feels like I go too far or something that varies the process.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP : What do you do to edit your photos? 

Often once I’ve completed a picture I’ll email it to friends and colleagues to get a sense of how it reads. Sometimes I re-do it after this point. I think with my mode of working I can just keep adding to a body of work. I don’t think of projects with a definite end point. Each image is a variation on visual possibilities and simple discoveries I’ve made.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: How does your process relate and interact with your artist statement?

I state that each picture begins as a simple question, how would this look etc. And basically that’s my driving force. I make work to see how it looks in print. Recently I have been acknowledging a somewhat performative aspect to the work. Ever since I stepped in front of the camera for the image Light Sphere with my Right arm and Cigarette Lighter, I’ve been interested in using the body as a device or a machine to produce the image.

If we think of these images as a visual question, the titles are a clue, to the viewer, hopefully. I imagine the viewer putting them self in my position as the maker. Really this is all simple Photo 1 techniques, all in camera…the fact that these all actually happened is important to me. Like a physical and technical achievement, not just pixel pushing.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: How would you describe your process to a stranger who doesn’t know anything about photography? 

CC: Its like 5th grade science mixed with sculpture. Its about being curious and playful. There is still a lot to wonder about. I might then have to go into an explanation of photography, its is fundamentally tracing light into precious metal. And I hope my work explores and exploits that basic material quality of the medium. In many images I make what appear to be structures out of light, film is the perfect medium for this, it suspends many different moments in time and space, you get to experience the compression of time that long exposures and multiple exposures provide

DIYP: How do you come up with ideas for your photography?

CC: Ideas come mostly from being curious about the world, how things work… and wondering what a certain process or series of events will lead to visually. The fact that some of these images actually work is my favorite part. Its usually the unforeseen, or uncontrollable natural tendencies of materials and processes that end up being the most interesting parts of the images. If I knew exactly what I would get on the film I think it would be too easy or boring. Each picture is like an arena for a potentially fascinating visual puzzle. 

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: What photography equipment are you using?

CC: I use a 4×5 monorail view camera, color and black and white film. Black and white images are printed as gelatin silver prints and color images are archival pigment prints. Sometimes I use a single studio strobe, or clamp lights for illumination. The recent work has been combining available light in the landscape with flashlights and matches etc.

DIYP: And what equipment in general. Where do you get/find it?

CC: Equipment or materials and objects? I’ll look through surplus and salvage yards, antique shops (but they usually want a lot of money, sometimes its worth it) the dollar store, and hardware stores and sometimes yard sales…this is an interesting list given the DIY aesthetic and inspiration for my work, ha ha. It all circles around

DIYP: Where is your main working space today?

CC: I’m trying to make more work out in the landscape, so that would be eastern and central Maine for now. If I ever make any money at this perhaps I could afford to go somewhere for more site specificity. But for now I’m enjoying exploring Maine.

Interview With Caleb Charland

DIYP: What do you do with your constructions once the photo is captured?

CC: Often times the contraptions look more complicated or elaborate than they really are. I often disassemble them to re-use. There are only two things I’ve saved. The matches left over from Helix with Matchsticks and the apparatus for Electromagnetic Demonstration and those are just stuck a corner of my work space.

You can view more of Caleb Charland excellent work on Caleb Charland’s website.

Ghetto Magic Arm From An Old Golf Club

My Ghetto Magic ArmPhotographer David Martinez thought that $110 is a bit too much for a magic arm. He came up with his own version for half the price. It’s all David from here.

Over the years I have found a few broken clubs laying near tee boxes on golf courses. Graphite shafts are usually very stiff and I always thought they might be repurposed. So I have collected a few of them. Well it just happened that I was in thinking about buying a Magic Arm recently. A friend had one and it was pretty sweet but the price was kinda crazy. [Read more...]

Photek SoftLigher II – A Product Review

JimLately I’ve been finding myself wanting more out of my all around umbrella. I’ve been using the Westcott double fold umbrella for a long time now as my main on location modifier. While I am generally happy with it as a softening device, I wanted to have some more options in my bag without giving up on portability.

The Softlighter II by Photek provides an interesting option for that sake. I’ve been using it for a few days and in general I am pretty happy.

The images on this review are from a recent shoot for Jim Ridolfo profile pic. Jim Ridolfo is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric at The University of Cincinnati. [Read more...]

DIY iPhone Teleprompter

DIY iPhone TeleprompterUPDATE: Martin Just added an explanatory image of the model along with a sketchup model for the matte box. See image and links at the bottom of the page.

DIYP don’t often feature video or iPhone hack. It does, but not often. When I see a hack that is both video and iPhone, though, the little geek inside of me simply commands a post.

Reader Martin Taylor came up with a very cool teleprompter project. It requires nothing more than an iPhone, a Fresnel sheet magnifier and a sample piece of beam splitter glass. It is designed for 50mm lenses.

OK, a Teleprompter is the thing that news persons read from when they sit down. It’s kinda like the scrolling opening of StarWars. (this is why it looks like newsman are watching ping-pong while broadcasting the news). The cool thing is that the camera sits right behind the teleprompter so it looks like the anchor is looking straight at the camera. [Read more...]

SyLights Goes Mobile And SLR Allows You To “Pre Check” Your Lighting

SyLights Goes Mobile And SLR Allows You To Pre Check Your LightingLooks like the Strobist community is taking over the iPhone apps stores.

Two new members to that community – the new Studio Rig Locator and an iPhone port of SyLights.

SLR – Studio Rig Locator is an app that not only allows you to position lighting elements in the studio, but also allows a somewhat weird preview on the newly lit model. (this app is a paid app £3.49)

The other new iPhone App is a SyLights port to the iPhone. And really, I like the mobile version even more that I like the SyLights site (which is not that shabby at all). SyLights allows to create store and manipulate diagrams with loads and loads of studio equipment. Then those can be saved to your camera roll (iPhone’s lingo for image directory). Best of all it is a free application.

both apps has intro videos after the jump. [Read more...]

Introduction To Radio Controlled Plane Aerial Photography

Aerial PhotographySome time ago we introduced R/C Helicopter Arial Photography, however Helicopters are not the only thing that flies, in fact R/C planes are cheaper to get in the air.

Although they provide less control they are still a good option to get your camera up high and they are lots of fun to take pictures with.

In this tutorial -manuel- will explain how to apply a similar concept for still and RC planes which are much cheaper. [Read more...]