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  1. #11
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    I know an assistant had a Norman pack that discharged on him. It's like getting tasered. He should have dumped the pack after turning it off. I think they're illegal to use in the European Union.
    I worked with this guy back in the 90s, a big fashion shooter. He had all these Norman and Calumet packs that would just randomly go off like a gunshot KABLAM!! It was very disturbing. None of the assistants wanted to touch the packs and risk electrocution.
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  2. #12
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    interested in venturing into this area. As of now I'm reading random articles on the internet, a few from strobists.com, and I'm browsing flickr. My sole interest is in portraits/fashion work but at the hobbyist level, not professional, so keep that in mind. I'm not trying to go cheap but I do not want to overspend. I'm thinking monolights, reflectors, modifiers, that type of stuff, with a starting budget of around 1k. Maybe less or more. I'm not here to seek advice in what I should get or which brands are better but just advice in figuring out what I want.

    A lot of information to digest and I'm nowhere near purchasing as I'm trying to figure out my needs/requirements. I might just end up going with cheap speedlights in the end of my research.
    Monolights have come a long way since the old days where they were huge, clunky beasts. I greatly prefer them to a pack and head arrangement, as the only cord that runs to the pack is a power cord, which is easily extended with a non-proprietary extension cord. Plus, the advantage of being able to vary the power of one head without affecting the power of another (something most packs still don't do unless you are dropping some serious cash) is a huge plus.

    For this reason I would also advise against speed lights. There is so little power and control that it's just not worth it. Modifiers are expensive and clunky to use. Add to that you can pick up a used monolight for about the price of a new speed light. I know some people love the whole speed light thing but it would just drive me nuts. Invest your money wisely and you will be happy for a long time.

    My suggestion is to start with two monolights, a couple of cheap umbrellas, some grid spots and maybe one soft box. Add a silver/white reflector and you are in business. I'm a White Lighting guy, and I just freaking wear those things out. They are amazingly reliable; worth every penny. I have made a lot of money with my five lights.

    As far as learning lighting goes, nothing beats a digital camera. That's your Polaroid. If you want to shoot a final version on film, you'll be very happy that you didn't spend four rolls to get the light just right.

    Lighting is the soul of photography. You'll be a much better photographer for all the time you invest in it.
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  3. #13
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Wait, so when you say that the only cord that runs to the pack is a power cord, does that mean that it can't run off some sort of battery unit?

    A lot of advice on the equipement side, I'll be sure to look into the brands. Any advice on the reflectors?

    Also, which photographers were known for simple lighting. Off the top of my head I'm thinking Avedon and Penn. Any others?

    I have a digital Nikon D70 + zoom which I plan on using as my digital polaroid before shooting with my Rollei.

  4. #14
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Mr. Smith is right

    Quote Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto View Post
    As far as learning lighting goes, nothing beats a digital camera. That's your Polaroid. If you want to shoot a final version on film, you'll be very happy that you didn't spend four rolls to get the light just right.

    Lighting is the soul of photography. You'll be a much better photographer for all the time you invest in it.
    I remember learning lighting using Polaroids. A digital camera is a great substitute. Strobes aren't a great tool to learn because there isn't a constant light. Get a set of inexpensive hot lights with a digital camera to learn how to light first.

    When using strobes, you must have a way to proof your shot. Modeling lights most of the time doesn't match the strobe.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  5. #15
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    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #16
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    Wait, so when you say that the only cord that runs to the pack is a power cord, does that mean that it can't run off some sort of battery unit?

    A lot of advice on the equipement side, I'll be sure to look into the brands. Any advice on the reflectors?

    Also, which photographers were known for simple lighting. Off the top of my head I'm thinking Avedon and Penn. Any others?

    I have a digital Nikon D70 + zoom which I plan on using as my digital polaroid before shooting with my Rollei.
    Sorry. I meant to say that the only cord which runs to the monolight is the power cord for that light. So, you can use an ordinary extension cord.

    With a central pack arrangement, each head has a cable that brings the power from the central pack (rather than being self-contained, as a monolight). You may have two or three heads running out of one power pack, which means that if the heads are at some distance, you will need extender cables for each head, which are proprietary to each brand of light. This gets expensive, and it makes location shooting problematic unless you have multiple power packs.

    In my studio, the monolights are mounted on rails, so I had my electrician pull a u-shaped circuit over the rails. That way, there is always a power outlet within three or four feet of the light. It would be nearly impossible to rig this up with a central pack and heads.

    Penn is a great choice for simple lighting. He used an intensely bright tungsten setup in a large box. It's simple, but dramatic.

    Avedon's setup depended on his projects. For his fashion, he used a strobe head on a stick, which his assistant would hold like a boom and move as the model moved. For his studio portraits on white, he used four lights on the background and then one or two for the main light. All of his "American West" portraits were done in open shade and then overdeveloped for contrast.

    Have fun!
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  7. #17
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    Wait, so when you say that the only cord that runs to the pack is a power cord, does that mean that it can't run off some sort of battery unit?Any advice on the reflectors?
    I use the Paul C. Buff Vagabond as a battery pack when needed. It's terrific.

    Silver/white reflectors are available on Amazon. Just bought several new ones for a whopping $12 each!
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  8. #18
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    attached is all i know about the subject.three-point lighting and bob is your uncle.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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