Quick and Easy Boom

Here's a quick DIY alternative to buying an expensive boom for your studio strobe lights. You can use this pretty much the same way you'd use a normal boom, except you're limited to a 90˚ boom angle. Other than that, it's easy to achieve overhead lighting without having to shell out a hundred bucks or more for a good boom stand.

There are a couple of important points to keep in mind, though. If you plan on using larger studio strobes or heavy softboxes and the like, this method probably isn't for you. Also, never use a boom without an adequate counterweight or your model may feel like they're working under pressure. (Okay, I officially suck at telling jokes.)

A Bogen Super Clamp is all it takes to load up a lightweight stand (a Manfrotto 3330 here) as the boom. Clamp it right above the leg section. Since the only adjustment you'll be able to make is rotating the boom parallel to the floor, go ahead and set up whatever equipment you want on the boom before you raise it up. And you should probably load a counterweight before you raise it up, too. In this picture I used a 3-pound ankle weight that you can find in most fitness equipment stores.

The base stand is a Manfrotto 3336 and at 11' it has enough height to accomodate shooting through an umbrella directly over a 6' model. Having a tall stand also buys you a little more stability with its wide legs. And even with a counterweight, it's a good idea to always keep the boom hanging directly over one of the legs.

That's it for now. Have you done anything like this? Let us know!

Quick and Easy Gels

I ordered my first sets of flash gels a few days ago from a place called PhotoGels, and the process was so simply easy and quick I wanted to share it with everyone.

I placed my order on the evening of the 12th--evening Hawai'i time. My gels arrived on the morning of the 14th. How quick! I never get packages that fast. (For things like 2-day air shipping it generally takes one extra day to get here.) The gels came just in a standard business envelope, with each set double wrapped in tissue paper and regular paper. Can't wait to have fun with these.

Lens For Sale

...for only $99,000. :)

Check it out here.

60 Frames Per Second Not Fast Enough? How About 1,200?

Absolutely stunning, that's all I can say. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these bad boys and try it out.

Sixty full-resolution (6MP), high-definition frames per second video in this stunning hybrid camera beats out Canon's new 10fps 1Ds MkIII (unofficially, the "uzi") by leaps and bounds. And, as if that wasn't enough, you can get up to twelve hundred frames per second--that's no typo--by dropping the resolution as far as 336x96.

An Insider Look at 1-Hour Photo Labs

For a long time, I considered 1-hour photo labs--"minilabs"--to be a place with a nebulous box full of chemicals and machinery that spat out generally acceptable but not always great or consistent prints.

Of course, technology has improved vastly since the early days of 1-hour photo, and now it's as easy as uploading an image to a store's website and have it ready for pickup in an hour. (On a side note, isn't it amazing how our technology has made it astoundingly easy to spend more time in front of the computer screen?)

Anyway, Steve Elliott has posted a nice article about some often-misunderstood ideas about minilabs. If you frequently use a local minilab then this article is for you.

Adobe Lightroom: Masking Your Sharpening

There are a lot of valuable tools in Lightroom's arsenal that have saved us hours of tedious work and the trouble of constantly switching between Lightroom and Photoshop. The sharpening tool, specifically, has an added time-saving bonus with its built-in masking slider that allows you to apply the effect to specific parts of the image.

Nicholaus Haskins has put together a great short video that explains how easy it is to save yourself another trip to Photoshop.