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The Litra Torch

28th March 2018

Tiny LED Lighting


As I was walking through the WPPI Expo, the display to the right caught my attention. And so I stopped to talk to the rep. Here is a small aquarium filled with water. At the bottom are two small cube devices. Both of them were brightly shining to demonstrate that they are waterproof.

The small device is the Litra Torch – a cube about 1-1/2″ in size and weighing a mere 3 ounces. It provides up to 800 Lumens of continuous daylight balanced light but is also adjustable to 450 and 100 Lumens. With it’s 80 degree coverage, it’s usable with most wide angle lenses. The Torch also has a strobe mode – useful for special effects while shooting video.

There are a variety of options for mounting the Litra. The body has two standard 1/4-20 tripod sockets. Its back is magnetic for attaching to a metallic surface.

For close up work, you can attached the diffuser (see below). It includes a mount when used with a GoPro. Rep Andrew Siminoff showed me a GoPro mounted with a pair of Torches that was set up for video recording (see below right).

The Torch is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery that provides about 30 minutes of light at the high 800 Lumens setting.

Litra also has a set of accessories for the Torch including bicycle mounts, head mounts, several handheld mounts, miniature tripod and filters.



 

The Torch is an accessory that you can literally carry around in your pocket to provide a convenient light source. Suggested price is $80 and includes the diffuser, belt clip, GoPro mount, USB charging cable.

For more information please visit Litra.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

WPPI 2018

05th March 2018

What’s is WPPI?


Late last momth, I left the bitter cold and snow of Michigan and trekked to a warmer environment for a couple of days. My destination was the Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo in a warmer Las Vegas.

Here are some of the photographers lining up to register for WPPI. I was told that attendees numbered about 13,000.


WPPI is an annual event. The audience is the large set of professional photographers and videographers who earn their living shooting weddings, portraits, school and sporting events. The five day conference consist of classes, seminars, photo walks and live demonstrations taught by celebrated professionals and industry educators covering every imaginable photo topic.

In addition to the conference, there is a three day long expo at which several hundred manufacturers of photo equipment, accessories, photo finishing services, frames, albums, software and services present their products for attendees.

The venue for WPPI was the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the south end of the LV Strip


This year the conference consisted or more than 200 different classes covering a wide gamut of subjects: equipment, lenses, posing, lighting, flash, printmaking, pricing, babies, special effects, drone. The list of instructors are among some of the most well-known and successful photographers: Me Rah Koh, Matt Kloskowski, Denis Regge, Terry White, Bob Davis, Lindsay Adler, Miichele Celentano, Bambi Cantrell, Julieanne Kost, Hanson Fong, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela, Tamara Lackey, and Joe McNally to name a few.


While I sat in on a few classes, I spent most of my time at the expo.

Follow me as I take you on a quick walk through of the exhibit hall to show you the types of photographic knowledge that is available at WPPI.


Special Effects Class

Lindsay Adler behind the lens


A Lighting Demo

Posing Babies


Jerry Ghionis at the mic

Portraits Up Close


Single Flash Demo

Group Shots


Hanson Fong Bounce Flash

…and the result


During the couple of days that I spent at WPPI, I talked to several exhibitors about their products.

I’ll have additional articles here describing these products in the next few weeks.

I hope you’ll be back here soon.

Fashion



 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

Weddings, Portraits and More

11th February 2018

Upcoming WPPI 2018 Conference & Expo

Having been part of the software, computer and publishing industries since 1980, I’ve been to Las Vegas more times than I care to count.

However the thought of another laborious trip out West isn’t going to keep me away from the Wedding & Portrait Photography International event this year. For the past several years I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this meeting where 200+ classes are taught by professionals covering a wide range of photography topics including lighting, posing, drone, video, baby/child, sports, school, printing, retouching, marketing and business. Among the instructors are many recognizable names: Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Julieanne Kost, Sue Bryce, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela and Joe McNally who will share their skills with the attendees.

In addition to the standard classes, there are smaller and more intensive sessions aimed at a limited number of attendees. And for those who’d rather be in a non-classroom setting there are multiple scheduled Photo Walks that provide hands-on learning.

I’m especially interested in the WPPI Expo. In the large exhibit hall you’ll meet with manufacturers and suppliers of photo equipment, accessories, photofinishing, presentation and framing, software and services. On the expo floor, various manufacturers present live demonstrations of their equipment and techniques. It seems that all of the major brands are on hand to demonstrate their products and answer your questions. I’ve made many purchasing decisions after having met with sales reps at earlier WPPI events..


This audience is taking in a presentation at the Canon booth

If you’re anxious to sharpen your photography skills, take a look at the many classes that are offered at the conference. Last year WPPI hosted about 13,000 professional and advanced photographers.

WPPI will take place February 24 to 28 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. For more information please visit WPPI Conference & Expo.
 
 

By Arnie Lee
 
 


PhotoPlus Expo 2016

28th September 2016

Like A Kid in A Toy Store

As a long time follower of all thing photographic, I’m attracted to places where I can see, touch and fawn over new and innovative photographic equipment, accessories and services.

The upcoming PhotoPlus Expo 2016 Conference and Exposition is magnetically drawing me to New York City where more than 250 exhibitors will gather to show off their latest products and services. It’s the largest photography and imaging show in North America and has the distinction of more than 30 years of continuous operation.

Additionally, dozens of noted professionals and instructors will conduct 100+ of in depth seminars and classes demonstrating posing, lighting, wedding, portrait, marketing and photofinishing techniques.

Over the many years that I’ve been attending PhotoPlus seminars and demos I come away a little smarter as a photographer. Unfortunately (for my wallet), I also leave itching for new camera equipment and accessories.

The conference includes daily photo walks where attendees will explore the sites and streets of New York City accompanied by well-known professionals.

One standout is the Drone+ Seminar led by photographer George Steinmetz as he shows his aerial films. Also joining him are representatives form the FAA that will explain regulations concerning commercial drone photography.

PhotoPlus takes place October 19-22 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. With the completion of the #7 subway last year, getting to Javits is an easy ride from other areas of the city.

If you share my enthusiasm for photography, visit PhotoPlus Expo 2016 for more details. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


WPPI Conference & Expo

22nd February 2016

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

As I sit at my computer in crusty Michigan with the clouds building for another forecasted snow storm, I’m looking forward to escaping for a few days.

My destination is the WPPI Conference & Expo which begins March 3rd and runs through March 10th. For professional photographers and hobbyists alike, it’s a chance to learn from experts.

Additionally, you’ll travel to the warm climes of Las Vegas at the MGM Conference Center for extracurricular activities that are sure to add up to a practical education and fun packed week.

WPPI is comprised of hundreds of classes and seminars taught by noted photographers such as Joe McNally, Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell, Hanson Fong, Kevin Kabota, Jerry Ghionis and Gary Fong to name a few.

Alongside the conference is the expo portion in which 80,000 square feet of space occupied by 300 exhibitors who will showcase the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers will set up booths to demonstrate their latest wares.

To look at the wide range of classes and seminars please visit WPPI Conference & Expo.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Rogue Safari

26th March 2014

Flash Extender

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International event can be thought of as a conference of 260+ instructional classes for where photographers can sharpen and learn new skills and a huge expo where they can meet with more than 300 exhibitors displaying, explaining and selling all kinds of photographic equipment, accessories and services.

For two days, I roamed the two exhibit floors at the MGM Resort visiting with several dozen exhibitors as they showed me new camera models, innovative equipment and useful accessories.

 
In the next few articles, I’ll review a few of the more interesting finds from the exhibit floor.


 

Rogue is a maker of a variety of flash accessories. I got a hold of their a new device they call the Safari. This small unit sits atop of your camera’s pop-up flash to extend its range.

The Safari package comes with a couple of shoe mounts to fit on different model cameras. The mount slides onto your camera’s hot shoe. The Safari then slides onto the mount.

Your pop-up flash then “opens” inside of the Safari as you can see below.


Below are unretouched photos without any flash compensation. Clearly the Safari does a good job of extending the range of the camera’s pop-up flash.


Taken using the pop-up flash without the Safari

Taken using the pop-up flash with the Safari

Rogue says that the Safari works best with lenses that have a focal length of 100mm or greater. My simple tests proved equally effective using both Canon and Nikon cameras. You may want to dial down the flash compensation if your subject is close to the flash.

The Safari sells for about $35. For more information, please see www.RogueSafari.com
 
 
Reviewed by Arnie Lee
 
 
 


Your Mind’s Eye

30th November 2013

It May be too Limiting

What do you visualize of when you hear someone say that they are going to visit Colorado?

Most of us already have a picture in mind even before that person finishes his/her sentence.

It doesn’t matter if they are visiting New York City or Texas, Paris or Timbuktu. And of course it doesn’t matter if we’ve never before visited that place. We’re all influenced by our mind’s eye – the previous information and images that we’ve associated with that particular place.


This past year I visited Colorado on several different occasions.

As I reviewed a few of the photos taken during my visits, I found it interesting to see how these photos aligned with my idea of “Colorado” images.

These three photos contains what I most closely identify with Colorado: mountainous, snow, lots of wildlife.

 

 


 

 

Colorado, being a large state has quite varied terrain. So as not to shortchange Colorado, I wanted to take a few photos that expand my preconceived notion of the state.

These stacks of hay in Del Norte show that there’s plenty of farming and ranching here.

I believe that the yellow trees are aspens growing near Cortez – part of the high plains desert.

This leafless cottonwood tree sits close to a nearby stream near Salida – running water is another trademark of Colorado.


 
So I keep telling myself: don’t fixate on the “mind’s eye”. I tell the photographer in me to keep eyes wide to everything when traveling. Colorado is more than the Rockies, New York City is more than the Statue of Liberty, Texas is more than the Alamo and Paris is more than the Eiffel Tower.

 

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Another Amazing Feat of Nature

The story goes that hundreds of years ago herds of antelope grazed on the grounds where natural forces carved an assortment of narrow passages through the sandstone to create what native Americans call Tsé bighánílíní or the place where water runs through the rocks.

This sacred Navajo monument is commonly known as Upper Antelope Canyon. This slot canyon is a phenomenal site to experience and photograph.

Since Antelope Canyon is a Navajo Tribal Park, access is is granted only through one of five guide services that operate from nearby Page, Arizona which is also home to the Glen Canyon Dam. I chose to take an extended 2-1/2 hour photographic tour.

I’ll illustrate my visit with photos that show you the scale of the passageways and canyon walls in relation to the size of an average visitor.


This is one of vehicles used by our tour operator. The ride from Page to the canyon entrance takes about twenty minutes.

Notice the vehicle’s sizable off-road tires.

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The canyon entrance is at the end of a long, sandy road, hence the need for off-road, four wheel drive transportation.

The road is actually a wide channel that serves to drain the watershed for a large part of northeastern Arizona.

With five tour operators, there is a steady stream of visitors coming and going.

This is the parking area immediately in front of the entrance. My experience was that each of the tours was well organized.


Judging from the size of the two photographers here, you can gauge the narrowness of the pathways in the slot canyon.

The color of the canyon walls varies greatly. Here the opening at the top of the wall is quite wide so it lets in a lot of bright light.

The pathways are very level making it easy to walk on the hard packed dirt surface.

You can see that the walls jut out randomly along the pathway. As you are walking, you need to take care not to bump your head or appendages.

The coloring is quite different here. The dim lighting accentuates the texturing of the rocks.


The widest part of the canyon is a cathedral-like alcove near the entrance.

Here the canyon opens to about 30 feet wide and the walls are simply splendid.


For anyone interested, I chose the 2-1/2 hour photographic tour from Antelope Canyon Tours. The cost was $80.

Before this visit, Antelope Canyon had been on my list of “must see” places for several years. Now that I’ve experienced this enjoyable place, I am again thoroughly impressed by Mother Nature.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

 

 


The Shadow Knows

30th August 2011

a case for more activity

 

This year, summer has been an especially busy time for us. I’m just catching up with some of my tasks including writing these articles. I’ll do my best to keep sharing some of the things I’ve learned having spent so many years with a camera.

We all know that light is the agent that makes photography possible. Most often we spend our time making sure that the light is “perfect” – the right intensity and direction to bring out the essence of our subject.

When light diminished or missing, your camera records the darker areas as shadows.

Here’s a few examples of how I’ve played around with shadows.


One of the reasons for a busy summer was two cross-country trips by car from Grand Rapids to Reno, Nevada and back – a journey of 4400 miles x 2 or a total of 8800 miles. That’s a lot of driving.

On one of these drives, my five year old granddaughter and I took a side trip to visit nearby Yosemite and decided to hike a long 3 miles to gaze at the Giant Sequoia trees.

The entire trail was tree covered and occasionally the sunlight would burst through the leaves. When I spotted our stark shadows ahead of us on the path, I simply snapped the shutter to capture an interesting shot of both of us hiking.

Skip forward to last weekend. We’ve just returned from the second drive out west.

As I’m admiring the colorful stencils on one of the grandkids’ bedroom wall, I see a captivating reflection superimposed over the cartoon characters.

The sun shining through the window is casting a reflection on the wall too.

The shadow of the window has turned the stencil into a magical scene.

 


We see that lighting (or the lack of lighting) can be used to create neat pictures too. Experimenting with the shadow side of lighting was easy and in my case fun too.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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Add Soft Lighting to your off-camera flash

The modern day external flash unit is a vital accessory for indoor portraits, still life, food shots and more.

Light that originates from a small source such as an external flash unit is harsher than light that originates from a larger source. To “soften” the lighting especially for portraits, photographers often use “modifiers” to alter the lighting to something more pleasing. Most of the modifiers work by spreading the light out over a larger area.

LumiQuest has been a well-known maker of modifiers for many years. Among their bestsellers is the Softbox III. When I was attending the WPPI Expo, Heidi one of LumiQuest’s principals gave me a quick demonstration of this lightweight device. I was so impressed that I ordered one when I returned home.

The concentrated light from the flash bounces inside the reflector of the Softbox III and passes through the translucent material covering its face. Instead of harsh light originating from the small flash head, a softer light originates from a much larger reflector.

Follow along as I show you how I’ve used the Softbox III to improve the lighting on some of my recent portraits.

When it’s disassembled, the Softbox III folds flat to a 8″ x 9″ size, making it convenient to take anywhere.

As folded, it easily fits in the outer pocket of my camera bag so is always available when I’m carrying my external flash.

(more…)

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