Guerilla Style Shooting with the Tronix Explorer 500Li

Oct 24, 2015

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

Guerilla Style Shooting with the Tronix Explorer 500Li

Oct 24, 2015

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

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Have you ever had a dream shot that you wanted to do but could never do it? I think it has been more than a year since I wanted to do a shoot where I could shoot in the middle of the road with cars passing by and had my model lit by my flash.

Recently I was contacted by Innovatronix the maker of Tronix Explorer Battery Packs and they offered to let me use their battery packs and it was the moment I was waiting for to do my Dream Shot. In this article I will do a review on the Tronix Explorer 500Li and a step-by-step explanation on how I got my dream shot.

Featue image Tronix

I have never tried to do this shoot, where security may kick me out, because I only had 2 speedlights for outdoor use and the recycling time wouldn’t be enough if I was in a hurry that’s why the Tronix Explorer 500Li was the perfect battery pack for the job.

Before even going in the middle of the street to shoot I needed to prep up and do my research so that the shoot would go as smooth and as quick as possible.

First the exposure, I knew that I wanted my model to be lit by a flash because this would stop the motion of the subject, and I knew that I wanted to drag my shutter to produce light streaks from the incoming cars. I first tried the exposure of the light streaks in the sidewalk and experimented with cars passing by.

Tronix Setup (1)
ISO 200 – f5 – Bulb (4.1 Seconds)

After doing some tests I found out that shooting in bulb mode was the best thing to do because I could control the shutter depending on how fast the cars passed by, and shooting between f5-f8 is the best aperture for the job.

It was my first time to work with this battery pack so I wanted to do a quick shoot even before going on the street. I was excited to see the how well the battery pack performed so we set up in our rooftop to do a sunset shoot while waiting for the sun to go down and the traffic to pass.

Tronix Setup (8)

The battery pack comes with its own carrying case and has an easily-replaceable battery feature for quick installation of the spare battery. It is rated at 500watts continuous and powered by LiFeP04 Li-Ion Battery. It can give around 350 flashes at full power using 400ws monolight and recycling time close to that of a wall socket so I wasn’t worried at all about the recycling time of the studio strobe.

I also really dig the green and black look of the battery pack itself.

Tronix Setup (6)

For this shoot we were shooting with a 500w Elinchrome studio strobe thru a reflective umbrella.

Tronix Setup (16)

I was using both my Fuji Xe-2 and Nikon D3 for this shoot. I was shooting the studio strobe at around 1/2 power and it recycled fast! No more worrying and waiting for the studio strobe to recycle. You could also plug in two studio strobes if needed.

Tronix Setup (7)

I was using my 2-stops under expose technique for this shoot.

Tronix Photos (3)

Tronix Photos (1)

After a while I needed to charge some of my batteries and do a quick edit on my shots good thing the Explorer 500Li can also power your computer and chargers, and it also has a 5V usb socket for your mobile phones.

Tronix Setup (5)

While I was planning to use the Elinchrom for this hoot, I also brought the Tronix Explorer P-Dock which is built for studio strobes and I thought that I can use my 2 YN-560 II flashes as a backup

Tronix Setup (9)

Tronix Photos 1 (1)

Tronix Photos 1 (2)

When it was dark, it was time to move onto the street but first we had to pack our stuff. We used the modeling light of the studio strobe plugged into the battery pack so we could see what we were doing.

Tronix Setup (11)

I was already confident that the battery pack and the studio strobe can take the stress of shooting fast, but I wanted to do a little bit of extra testing before going to onto the main highway for the shoot.

We first tried shooting in front of the studio to do some test shots because it had less traffic and cars.

Tronix Setup (14)

Tronix Photos (7)

After getting hyped up it was time for the real shoot. We had a van with 8 people including me just to make this dream shot happen. There was a highway near my studio that had a bay (where cars can actually park for short while) in the middle where we could park the van and setup the shot but we needed to do it Quick as it was a main highway.

Tronix Setup (3)

When we arrived in the bay, I was the first one to get out with my Fuji Xe-2 and tripod. I set my exposure to ISO 200, f7.1 Bulb mode and told the other people to get out of the van so we could take the shot.

Two people were handling the light stand with the studio strobe and the battery pack while the others took some BTS shots. Because of all the testing we did  before the shoot it only took around 8min from the time we stopped until I got my shot.

Tronix Setup (15)

Tronix Final

So that is the story how I got my dream shot to happen.

Thanks to my girlfriend Jubcy for modeling, Genesis for helping and The Innovatronix team for making this happen.

Tronix Photos (5)

Tronix Photos (4)

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Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!

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7 responses to “Guerilla Style Shooting with the Tronix Explorer 500Li”

  1. TByte Avatar
    TByte

    Hopefully you don’t have any more Dream Shots which require breaking laws and causing traffic hazards.

    1. LSG Avatar
      LSG

      Yep! that was it ;) sometimes you just need to do it. That’s why we did all the tests even before going to the final venue.

      1. TByte Avatar
        TByte

        No. You don’t just need to “sometimes do” things that break the law, endanger other people, and give your fellow photographers a bad reputation.
        You just don’t. The photo wasn’t even that good.

        1. LSG Avatar
          1. TByte Avatar
            TByte

            What an asshole.

          2. noel perena Avatar
            noel perena

            I am just a law student and I may be wrong but I have yet yet to read a law or an ordinance prohibiting what they did. Having no permit and declaring an act as illegal are two different things. Yes it was dangerous but saying that it is illegal may be pushing it. In fact a similar stunt was done by FHM in EDSA with a model in a bikini.

          3. TByte Avatar
            TByte

            Are you saying a cop wouldn’t have stopped then had he seen them? Are you saying a cop wouldn’t have arrested them had they continued? I’m sure some ordinance against creating a public hazard would apply, and the fact is that these people knew what they were doing was wrong and a danger to others.