This Is How Dan Vojtěch Shoots an Airplane with 30 Strobes

red-bull-airplane

Red Bull always seems to be up to something (perhaps it’s the “wings”), trying to impress us with various antics to get us to buy their overrated energy drinks.  But, on the plus side, it affords those of us in the creative world with some great inspiration.

In one of their most recently-released videos, stunt pilot Martin Šonka dips his wings while flying dangerously close to the ground betwixt two 15-light banks of strobes for some incredible high-speed action shots.

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Test Your Flash Duration With An Arduino And a 50c Diode

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By now you already know that Flashes don’t just pop for a fraction of a second. This fraction has a value and its value determines how well it will stop motion (say a splash of liquid). This time is called T.5 (and T.1) and they are explained here.

So every flash manufacturer shares their T.5, and as with many devices there is some variance. Matt Kane of vela.io recently built a device for testing the actual flash duration using an Arduino board and a cheapo diode. The reason for this was to test how the output from strobes (and the vela LED airgap) behave.

Interestingly LED strobes behave differently than Xenon strobes and their fall off patterns is different. They are also much faster (see title image).

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Yongnuo Goes on B&H. Similarly Priced, Better Service (+lenses?)

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Yongnuo has been the goto strobe brand for many off-camera-flashers (yea, I said it). Between the low price (it’s pretty hard to beat a $60 strobe, even if entry level), the plethora of features and the compatibility with major brands systems they are hard to say no to.

The only thing that kinda sucked on those strobes was their origin, they were shipping in from China. Shipping from China means hard to exercise warranty or returns. Don’t get me wrong, if you got 4 Yongnuo’s and one was a DOA, it was still a good deal price-wise, but you ended up with one dead strobe. Add to that the fact that many eBay sellers were selling those strobes with a lesser levels of Quality Assurance and you can see why there was a certain kind of risk involved in such purchases.

But this is changing as B&H are now adding the Yongnuo brand to their catalog. This means getting the same strobes with a significantly higher level of security. As for warranty, at least the items that I checked had a Limited 1-Year Warranty.

I was kinda expecting the B&H prices to be higher than the Amazon ones, but in fact they are not:

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Thinking Outside The Box: Creative Use For A Speedlight And Pack Of Gel Filters

creative-gels

Gels are common tools to use when you want to change the temperature of your light or add color to white backgrounds. but they can also be used to simulate the look of different kinds of lights. In this case, Joe McNally uses a blue gel over a speedlight to mimic the look of a glowing movie projector. It’s a pretty creative application of the gels and goes to show that with a little imagination and a pack of Rosco gels, the sky is the limit.  [Read more…]

Check Out The Awesome Makeup In This Epic Self Portrait Project: 31 Days Of Halloween

amandachapmanFor most of us, the hardest part about committing to a portrait project is coming up with new and creative photos day in and day out, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for pro photographer, Amanda Chapman. Since 2012, Chapman has been partaking in a 31 Days Of Halloween project where she dresses up in different makeup and costume every day for the month of October. Once learning her husband had been diagnosed with cancer in August of 2012, Chapman desperately needed an outlet and a project to ease the mind’s of her and her family. As October of the same year rolled around, she started doing different makeup every day and posting the photos to her facebook page.

Though she had no formal training in makeup, in fact, she had only done it a couple times in the past for Halloween costumes, her Tim Burton inspired looks grabbed the attention of her fans while simultaneously giving her family something fun to look forward to each day.  [Read more…]

Photographing The Movement Of Dancers Using Speedlights And Long Exposure

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Photographer, Phillip McCordall, has put together a great video tutorial explaining the how he uses a combination of studio lighting, slow shutter speeds, and rear curtain sync to create almost atmospheric photographs of dancers, such as the photo you see above. While there are many applications in which you can use this technique on, the graceful leaps of the dancer are really eye catching when you are able to illustrate the motion of them, too.

If you’re not already familiar with rear curtain sync, this could be a really fun project for you learn it with. To put it briefly, when shooting with a rear curtain sync, the flash will fire at the end of the exposure rather than the beginning of the exposure. When used with a slow shutter speed, this allows you to record motion (as a blur) using only the ambient light at the beginning of the exposure, then right before the shutter closes, the flash will fire and freeze the motion.
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Elinchrom’s New ELC Pro HD Strobes (And Richard Terborg Getting Poked)

We saw many new flashes in Photokina, one of the units that we thought was worth mentioning are the new ELC Pro HD units. We talked with Richard Terborg, Elinchrom Ambassador, to get the inside on those strobes.

They come in two flavors: 500WS and 1000WS, both in a new streamlined body. The strobes are pretty much what you have come to expect of mid-range strobes but they do have some interesting features worth considering:

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Yongnuo’s YN600EX-RT Now Selling, Looks Remarkably Similar To Canon’s 600EX-RT Flagship

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Earlier in august this year Hong-Kong based company YongNuo announced that they are releasing the YN600EX-RT – A Canon compatible strobe.

Some Canonistas, especially off camera flashers (AKA strobists) were pretty excited about this announcement. Mostly because the strobe was said to be compatible with Canon’s new 2.4GHz RT radio system that their 600EX-RT strobe features.  The RT is a pretty awesome TTL triggering and strobe control system working on radio rather then on IR. But, Canon’s strobe sells for about $499 while the new Yongnuo which appeared on eBay today only sells for about $185. Roughly a 1:3 ratio.

DIYP are the last to be blamed with lack of frugality, but looking at the images that popped up on YongNuo’s sites got me thinking. Look at the two photos on the top. See any resemblance (aside the obviousness of the names). The strobe on the left is Canon’s 600EX-RT flagship, and the right one is the new YN600EX-RT.

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Siros – A $1,000 Broncolor Strobe (Yes, Broncolor. Yes, $1,000)

When we did the Benjamin vs. Rebecca Challenge a few months back I asked Ben how much the Broncolor cable between the pack and head costs? It was around $800. So, in Photokina, I was quite surprised and pretty happy to see that Broncolor are coming out with Siros – a ~$1,000 strobe.

Here is the interesting part, according to the discussions we had with Broncolor those $1,000 heads will have all the features of their big $10,000 brothers. They will not be as fast, or as powerful, but they will still give you that super fast T.1 t to completely freeze water splashes.

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Can A Strobe Stop The Action? Profoto D1 Air, Elinchrom BRX500, Photogenic And Broncolor Compared

If you are planning on shooting water splashes* one of your primary concerns is flash duration. Usually when shooting high speed, you set your camera to bulb and shoot in complete darkness. When you want to take the photo, you pop the strobe. This makes the flash duration (actual time the flash emits light) act similarly to shutter speed – the longer the flash duration is, the more motion blur you’d get**.

Alex over at Photigy took four strobes to the test, ranging in price and specs to see how they stand up to freezing a water splash. A low res crop of the splash is posted right under the jump with our the name of the strobe which made it. See if you can match the photo to the strobe before watching the film or reading the full post over at Photigy.

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