Great Gear: HonlPhoto Shoe-Mount Flash Tools
Just before I left for Mongolia I made some decisions about making 2008 the year I dive more pro-actively into strobe lighting. In part because I now have a studio to shoot in while at home in Vancouver, and in part because I’m getting pickier about the look of my images and there is often just no way, without a strobe, to get seperation between my subject and the background when I am shooting in dark huts and gers. Also, I’m a sucker for carrying lots more gear; it makes me feel all manly-like.
So the day before I left I got a package of from David Honl – a couple of his SpeedStraps and two of his snoots, a short one and a longer one. In addition to these snoots, Honl also sells a gobo, a gel set, and coming very soon, a grid. Eventually I’ll have one of each, but I was so impressed with his gear I wanted to push you in that direction.
First, this stuff isn’t rocket science. Honl isn’t opening the door to the magical kingdom of Make Your Flash Shots Not Suck. You could get the same effects with gaffer tape and cardboard, some gels, and some black straws cut to length. What Honl gives you in this gear is the convenience and speed and durability of a product made by a professional who understands that you’re way more likely to set up a snooted or gridded hair light when it can be done quickly and easily.
Basically it works thusly. Buy a Speedstrap and put it onto your strobe. The velcro faces out, no glue, no tape, no sticky. Easy on, easy off. Now stick on any one of his snoots, gobo, or gels, and start shooting.
The snoots and gobo are made of the same cordura his Honl Gear Wraps are made of and I’m a huge fan of them, so they’re durable, and they fold flat in your bag, taking no space. They’re also flexible and there’s no reason a snoot can’t be mounted un-rolled and used as a gobo/flag. The inside of the snoots is reflective, so it can also serve double duty as a bounce card as well.
I used these a couple times in the dark gers (yurts, rount felt tenty thing) while shooting portraits in Mongolia, and the ability to very quickly add a snoot to make a very direct and confined hairlight from across the ger, made a number of shots possible that would have taken much more work otherwise.
Honl’s gear is well-made, well thought-out, and comes at a decent price for those of us who value our time and sanity too much to spend it on DIY projects involving glue, foil, tape, cardboard. When the grid becomes available I will be ordering a set of gels and the grid and it’ll become a permanent part of my location lighting kit. I can honestly say there’s nothing I dislike about the pieces of gear I tested – the only thing I wish Honl offered is a kit with a bit of a “buy one of everything and get a discount” special pricing. It’d be much easier just to pick up one kit for each strobe and be done with it. I have issues and like buying stuff to be pyschologically easier.
If you’re wanting to brush up on your off-camera strobe theory and practise, I can’t recommend a better place than The Strobist for that kind of information and inspiration. Furthermore, you must, must, must read Joe McNally’s The Moment It Clicks - it’ll get you a little more jazzed about using strobes more creatively.
Link to HonlPhoto HERE
YouTube Video showing the product -line HERE
I give this one a 5-Pixel Rating