GEAR

Jun 26th

2008

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CategoryPosted in: GEAR

Great Gear: Lastolite Skylite

skyliteFor all the talk about fancy gear, there are few pieces in my kit that I like more, and rely on more than a simple large diffuser. For learners looking to take their portraits up a notch – it’s hard to beat a good diffuser/reflector panel.

A diffuser softens the light and removes harsh shadows. Placed directly over a subject it allows me to shoot on-location in Africa at high noon. Placed to the side, even without a reflective panel, the diffuser bounces enough to provide some subtle fill. It even makes a great flag when flare is a problem. I’ve used the black panel as an ad hoc background, and the gold panel to bounce back some fill when I’m backlighting a subject with the low evening sun.

When I travel on assignment work I use a large, and now battered, 5 in 1 collapsible reflector disc. When I am at home it’s a Medium Lastolite Skylite. It measures 42″x78″ and If I could take this on every shoot, I would. It breaks down easily for transport, though it’s still rather long when packed, but really well-built and sturdy.

I like my Skylite for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, as a diffuser it makes the light absolutely gorgeous. Gor. Geous. Secondly, it’s really rigid which allows me to mount it on a couple stands, sandbag it, and not have to worry about it flopping all over the place. Thirdly – its changeable panels allows me to have a diffuser, a white panel, silver, gold, or black, relatively quickly

On the field the Skylite is just too big for my uses. It would add one more challenge to packing and transportation that I don’t want to add right now. So I use the collapsible 5-in-1 but I could do away with it and just use the Lastolites.

The downside? Like any piece of good gear they aren’t cheap. I bought my initial kit at B&H for $349 – that includes the frame, the diffusion panel, the white/sunfire panel, a crossbar/handle, and a carrying bag. But for the quality and versatility I get out of it, I’d pay it again in a heartbeat. Lastolite also has small Skylites (42″x42″) and a large one (78″x78″).

If the Lastolite Skylite isn’t in your budget, try a large oval 5-in-1, like this one that sells for $80. Either way, once you’ve played with simple diffusion and bounce lighting you’ll be spoiled. It’s not fancy, and no one is going to ask you what brand of reflector you use – but your images will look fantastic.

Jun 24th

2008

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CategoryPosted in: GEAR, Travel

Polaroid PoGo: July 06, 2008

My sponsors, ZINK, the technologists behind the new pocket-sized Polaroid mobile printer dubbed “PoGo” just told me the product is about to hit the market. The Polaroid website says PoGo hits Best Buy stores (probably in USA only) on July 06, 2008, and in Target on July 20, 2008. Estimated price will be $149. I […]

Jun 20th

2008

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CategoryPosted in: GEAR, Influences, Resources

Friday's Resource Roundup

James Nachtwey opens the LOOK3 Festival – read about the inspiring conversation between Nachtwey and Time’s MaryAnne Golon on PDN Online HERE. I respect this man more than I can say. (If you’ve never seen his TED speech, head over HERE to A Thousand Words where Jordan Nielsen has it posted.) From that PDN article: […]

Jun 19th

2008

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CategoryPosted in: GEAR

Canon G9: The Mobs Have Spoken

Every once in a while a camera comes out just at the right time, and the Canon G9 seems to have done that. I’ve been watching for signs of discontent among the masses and so far it seems everyone loves this camera. Matt Brandon has it, loves it. When Scott Kelby and I were talking […]

Jun 12th

2008

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CategoryPosted in: GEAR

Fish With SKINS

Steven Frischling, aka Fish, has a great blog for photographers who do alot of flying – if it’s not a frequent read for you it should be. Steve’s post a couple days ago was a review of the Think Tank Skins which I reviewed a while ago (link to the review HERE). If you’re on […]