For those of you that are unaware, a couple of weeks ago, U.K. online photography retailer WEX photographic, quietly announced that Bowens was coming back. And to many, myself included, this was a huge surprise.
The whole epic Aurelius/Bowens/Calumet saga now seems to be drawing to a conclusion. And what a journey it’s been. Calumet USA goes bankrupt, Calumet UK and Bowens are bought out by Aurelius. Recently, Bowens winds down and is sent into liquidation. Now it seems the Calumet is going to disappear, too. At least in name.
Calumet just sent out an email blast to all of their customers to let them know that from tomorrow, things are changing. Calumet and Wex are merging into one giant retailer. Sometime later this week, the Calumet Photo website will be closing down, and moved to the Wex website. Presumably Calumet’s 8 stores around the UK will also be rebranded to match.
After Calumet’s closure of US based retail stores and filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2014, it was pretty clear they were in trouble. With Bowens, this news comes as something of a surprise, however pulling out of The Photography Show at the last minute was a big clue that something was up.
Now, both companies are reported to have been acquired by investment company AURELIUS.
Most folks will be fairly familiar with the Beauty Dish and its usefulness in both fashion and general portraiture. In this tutorial I would like to share with you just how versatile I think the humble Beauty Dish can be and show you just how many lighting patterns you can create with my personal favourite light modifier.
First of all, I should describe exactly what a Beauty Dish is for those perhaps unfamiliar with the modifier. Beauty dishes are essentially large metal bowls, which typically are available in a variety of sizes such as 16″, 22″ or 27″ in diameter. They can be used with both studio strobe and speedlights with the correct speedring fittings.
Inside the dish is an internal reflector. This is a disc of metal, spaced a few inches in from the strobe. This deflects the light from the strobe and pushes the light towards the outside of the dish, ensuring that the only light hitting the subject has been reflected. This creates a very smooth, even and flattering light though this can also depend on the interior of the reflector. Beauty Dishes typically have silver or white interiors. Silver interiors are very specular and produce harder more contrasty light, whereas white interiors are softer and more even as the light inside gets more scattered before leaving the dish, reducing the specular reflections.
“It has been a joy to share our passion for photography with you all of these years. We’ll miss each other and we’ll miss all of our customers. Thank you for everything.”
That was the last post written by Calumet on their US Facebook page before it disappeared along with their website last morning. And just as abruptly as their online sites closed down, their retail stores in the US closed down as well. Reports have been coming in from different locations across the country of employees that couldn’t even get inside the buildings to see what was going on. Just like that, they were informed that they no longer work for the company anymore.