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Photography Question 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Lighting question


I have a couple of cheap 400 watt lamps with 24" umbrella's and recently discovered these were not providing enough light for taking group portraits outside under the shade tree's. They helped but I did not get the nice even illumination I wanted. My 580EX fill flash bailed me out.
I am starting to do more portrait work and would like to know if I get a couple of Interfit 1000 watt lamps (for 2000 total) with 24" softboxes - would this be a waste or would these work in many different situations ? If this would again be insufficient, I dont want to waste my money but I also don't want to spend an arm & a leg.
I know I have a lot to learn about lighting and I have already begun experimenting and reading about different lighting configurations. I would like to hear from some of you what your thoughts are about what a reasonable & versatile setup would be.
I defintely want to take John's lighting class when it comes around again.
Thank you - Carlton


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8/19/2007 1:28:00 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You can get even illumination with a flash light, so that's not really tied to how much power you have. More powerful lights will mean smaller f/stops and longer distances but it'll still be uneven if you use them the same way.
What was so uneven looking?


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8/19/2007 6:40:22 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Carton,
How many are you tring to shoot?
and how much do you want to spend on lights?

I have these, I love them but as normal use, I have to turn the power down Very low:

http://www.photogenicpro.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=478&DEPARTMENT_ID=82


Go to page 11 of the Photogenic catolog at this link for a example of the 2500 DR used on a large group:

http://www.photogenicpro.com/docs/Photogenic2005Catalog.pdf

Here are the Powerlight 1500/1250 kit on Ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Photogenic-Strobe-Powerlight-1500-1250-Umbrellas-Case_W0QQitemZ290151230793QQihZ019QQcategoryZ30087QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I hope this helps a bit,
Debby Tabb


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8/19/2007 7:17:25 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Oh yes,
and remember that with large groups , the lights should be high.
Normal Main light hieght is a foot above head hiegth.
You may not be able to do this on a large group on risers, but you Need to get your lights as high as possible, at a 45 degree angle.
Debby


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8/19/2007 7:39:02 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Carlton. When you say "watts" are you talking about watt seconds or hot watts? Deb posted a note here about some old Photogenic lights for sale on e-bay available for pick-up from someone in Houston, but I saw a couple of Speedotron packs that were good value, available for shipping and a bunch of lampheads and reflectors that were really in apparently good shape for $50 bucks each.

Those packs, and others listed there, will do switchable 2400 or more w/s(depending on which pack you get) and will also toast frozen bagels and make grilled cheese sandwiches in just seconds with the incredible "cook-a-mong-ya" adapter available from Ronco. They also have replaceable modeling lamps and tubes. Take a look at http://cgi.ebay.com/Speedotron-2403B-Black-Line-Power-Pack-Works-Great_W0QQitemZ120152541130QQihZ002QQcategoryZ30087QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

So instead of dropping an arm and a leg you'd be golden for a song and a dance. And, btw, from what I hear, John Siskin gives great lighting classes. Good choice.
Enjoy the weekend.
Mark


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8/19/2007 10:24:11 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  I am trying to learn a lot very quickly . I am an outdoor (nature/landscape) photographer but lately have been doing more weddings, portraits and other events that require me to use lighting. The problem I encountered was shooting outdoors under a shade tree with various sized groups in a quick manner. I do believe Greg is correct about my distance (I may have been to far back for the larger groups) but is was not a situation I could easily move them around for each shot. I did position the smaller groups a little closer to me which worked better. This is exactly why I thought I may need more powerful lights. I set one light pretty high (about 6 foot)at 4 o'clock and the other about a foot lower at 8 o'clock to try to keep the occaisional sunlight streaks between the leaves and the darker shadows evened out.
So Deb, my lights may have been a bit low. This did work for the most part with the smaller groups and I took the shots without the 580 flash but others (the larger groups) I needed to use it for fill. This is why I didn't think I had suffecient lighting.
Mark, I am not sure what "watt seconds" or "hot watts" are. These are continouous 400 watt bulbs.
I may be able to attach a couple of strobes along with the umbrella lights for the additional fill needed but have never used them. I am also playing with reflectors more for the portrait shots. I will look through all of your links. Thank you for your responces. BTW - I went to sign up for John's class starting 10/03 and it is already FULL. John (if you are reading this) please squeeze me in or let me know if anyone cancels. I did add it to my wish list. I have to say that I am really enjoying learning to use lights but also realize that there are so many scenarios, that it will take time to gain the experience.
Thanks again Everyone - You all rock.
Carlton


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8/19/2007 8:55:04 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Carlton: I refer to continuous lights as "hot watts". You probably don't want to mix hot lights with strobes, especially if you work with film. You might get a problem with color shifting and color balance due to the different temperatures between the flash units, that are usually daylight temperature or quite close to daylight temperature or about 5500 degrees Kelvin, and the incandescent/continuous lights that are usually cooler around 3400-3600 K.

Sounds to me like you'd benefit from a monolight strobe or two with modeling lamps. Bowens makes some great ones, and they also make them for Calumet Photo. A lamphead that has a rating of 750 Watt Seconds is good for a portrait main light. It gives you some latitude. And, btw, Bowens put out some monolights that will now work with rechargable power cells. Nice to take to the woods for a portrait shoot. A tad pricey but package deals are available through outfits like B&H.

If portability is a factor, there are smaller units like the Quantum that also work with rechargable batteries and unlike the monolights, the heads (that will deliver a 400 w.s.) will fit in a camera bag or back pack.

If you like the idea of quality used gear, Norman Enterprises equip. is pretty reasonable on E-bay. A small 800 w.s. pack with a couple of heads, switchable power source (very handy to ratio your lighting) are pretty plentiful there. John S. and I both like Norman equipment quite a lot, I think. Very reliable, very durable, pretty easy to get tubes, modeling lamps and other parts for as well.

Photoflex has a new series of monolights out that I hear from a few people around here are quite good and they're really pleased with. Check the Photoflex website for current special deals. Like buy 6 lights and get a free order of egg rolls.

Photogenic gets a good rep too. I'm just not familiar with their newer equipment. Check to see where it's made unless someone knows. Bowens is made in the U.K., Quantum in the U.S., and Norman used to be built in Burbank but I think they told out to an outfit in Minnesota. Photoflex, I think originates in (you guessed it) China.
Take it light, Amigo ;>)
M


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8/22/2007 8:15:49 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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carltonwardphoto.com
  Thank you Mark, I just recently bought some photoflex reflectors with a stand (but didn't get eny egg rolls ?) and I am also looking at the wireless remote for my 580EX flash and getting a 440 to act as a slave but would also like some hot lights as well to give me more flexibility. I do like the power pack idea because I prefer shooting outdoors, even for portraits and itsy bitsy spiders. I will check out the Norman lights as well.
I am off camping for the next couple of days to a place with a big rock that looks like a face with horns by the river and a section of a stream that has these rocky ridges that we call the Dragons back.
Capturing light in a box,
Carlton


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8/23/2007 10:54:30 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Thank you Mark, I just recently bought some photoflex reflectors with a stand (but didn't get eny egg rolls ?) and I am also looking at the wireless remote for my 580EX flash and getting a 440 to act as a slave but would also like some hot lights as well to give me more flexibility. I do like the power pack idea because I prefer shooting outdoors, even for portraits and itsy bitsy spiders. I will check out the Norman lights as well.
I am off camping for the next couple of days to a place with a big rock that looks like a face with horns by the river and a section of a stream that has these rocky ridges that we call the Dragons back.
Capturing light in a box,
Carlton


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8/23/2007 10:58:13 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Thank you Mark, I just recently bought some photoflex reflectors with a stand (but didn't get eny egg rolls ?) and I am also looking at the wireless remote for my 580EX flash and getting a 440 to act as a slave but would also like some hot lights as well to give me more flexibility. I do like the power pack idea because I prefer shooting outdoors, even for portraits and itsy bitsy spiders. I will check out the Norman lights as well.
I am off camping for the next couple of days to a place with a big rock that looks like a face with horns by the river and a section of a stream that has these rocky ridges that we call the Dragons back.
Capturing light in a box,
Carlton


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8/23/2007 10:58:13 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Wow, the BP site got really slow and I must have hit the button too many times.


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8/23/2007 11:00:54 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Sounds like a nice trip Carlton, although your description of of the big rock face with horns sounds a LOT like it was modeled after my mother-in-law, including the rocky ridges of Dragons back. YIKES !!!!!

Have fun, be safe. See ya when you get back.
Mark


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8/23/2007 2:24:21 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
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BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   Soda Springs
Soda Springs
f/11, 6.0 sec, iso100, 22mm, tripod & circular polarizer
© Carlton Ward
carltonwardphoto.com
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
  Rock Face
Rock Face
0.4s, f/6.3, iso100, 100mm macro w/tripod
© Carlton Ward
carltonwardphoto.com
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Well, I just did a one nighter to a camping spot called Soda Springs. Here is a picture of the spring and another of the face rock that lost one of its horns. Dragons back was too deep under water to get a photo of.


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8/25/2007 4:03:31 PM

 
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