Saturday, October 22, 2005

PhotoPlus Expo - More Interesting Booths

I’ve been doing some still life photography in various rooms of my house. When my daughter, Debra was away at college I used the desk in her room to set up flower shots. I had heard about special light “houses” or light boxes and I knew that some people constructed their own. I saw several lights at booths, but the one I liked best was at Phototek. I chose one 24X24X36. It came with a black and white liner and I bought the additional “wide angle” one so I could do horizontal shots. I already have two studio lights – so I did not buy their lights.

When I first bought studio lights, it was an experiment – so I bought just about the cheapest ones my local photo store (Precision Camera) had. I discovered that I would indeed use them. I also discovered the room I was working in got very hot. I tried bouncing the light off the ceiling, as well as shooting with them directly. I bought plastic diffusers (which never seemed to fit correctly) and I tried shooting through white material. So one of the things I was looking for was an upgrade for my lighting.
I did look at AlienBees, but they are strobe lights. The helpful staff there told me that I would need a flash meter to set my exposure. Sigh . . . . . one more thing to learn to use. I am spoiled by my in camera meters. I had been by the Westcott booth and drooled over one of the lights they had. They had a professional model and their rep was extolling the virtues of the cool lighting. She was cold. I priced it the first time and walked away . . . . . But after checking out AlienBees, and knowing there was a show discount . . . . . I went back and got their Spiderlight TD5. I bought one with a “kit” because I already have a reflector that I can use to balance the light. Perhaps next year I’ll get a second one. I got the light, a bracket, a soft box and a lightstand. And then of course I saw some portable backgrounds (made similarly to the fold up reflectors) that I would see myself using a lot.

AlienBees Flash Units
Whereas I looked at their lights and perhaps one day I will go that direction, the item they have that I do drool over is the portable power system. I did some bluebonnet portraits this year and tried to use my car inverter to power my lights. Something did not work the day I tried it . . . . but at least the sun cooperated. The power systems look like they might work with my existing lights and perhaps my new one. (And I did fill out the card to win a set of their lights . . . . . .)

Lee Filters
While I did not spend much time drooling here (I already have Lee ND gradient filters). I like their filters MUCH better than the Cokin filters I started with.
Lee Filters

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