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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
 
 
 


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.

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Enjoy those Winter Brights

24th January 2011

In my last article Fight those Winter Blahs, I pleaded that you not put your camera away for the winter. In our part of the universe (western Michigan), December through March are known to bring day after day of heavy, blanketed overcast. Along with these dark clouds come lots of dull lighting that tends to stifle the picture taking mood of many of us. I suggested that despite the dark skies, there’s plenty of opportunities to find ways to make your subjects “shine”.

So it was a very pleasant surprise to see today’s sterling bright sunshine. As I looked out the window, I could see a crystal clear blue sky and blinding reflections coming from our snow-covered lawn. But as I opened the front door to fetch the Sunday newspaper, the bone-chilling winds reminded me that a 10-degree temperature makes Grand Rapids feel like the Arctic.

After enjoying a cup of hot tea, a couple of the grandkids were prodding me to play outside in the snow with them. Despite the icy cold, I decided that I wouldn’t miss this chance to have some outdoor fun and maybe take a few winter photos too. So I tracked down my trusty ski jacket and soon followed the grandkids outdoors.
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The Holiday season has always been a wonderful time for me. While it’s envigorating to all of my senses, I’ll concentrate only on my visual sense here.

As I look around at the Christmas and Chanukah decorations, I’m overwhelmed by the variety of colors, textures and shapes. I’m often amazed at the intricate detail that I find. Let me show you what I mean.

 

Here is an ornament which at first glance looks simple. But look a little closer and you’ll see that it is very elegant.

The colors are simply amazing. I love the way in which it was made from many strands of yarn woven into an intricate pattern and carefully wrapped into a solid ball.

By taking a close up photo, I am able to see this detail. If you click on the photo, you’ll see this detail in the enlargement.

 

To photograph these ornaments, I used the available light. I set the camera ISO to 800. The lights were incandescent so I set the White Balance accordingly. I used a large aperture to blur the background which in turn helped to produce a shimmering look. To avoid camera shake, I braced my elbows against my sides to keep it steady.

With close-ups, you may want to turn off Auto Focus (AF) and manually focus the lens. At short distances like these, manual focus comes in handy.

Note that if I had used a flash, I would have spoiled the visual look and feel that I wanted to retain.

 

 
If your visual sense appreciates all of the stimulation that the Holiday season brings, go fetch your camera and take a few up-close photos. They’ll help you recall the Holidays long after they’re over. Happy Holidays!

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


Lighting Tip # 1

05th October 2010

It’s not too Late to Capture the Fall Colors

 

This article was a fun and easy assignment for me. From beginning to end it took barely two hours to shoot and write.

Confession: I spent an additional 30 minutes driving back to the office to fetch the camera’s memory card which I inadvertently left with my computer.

Why was this assignment so easy? Because the colors and lighting do all of the talking.


Here the sun is at my back. This emphasizes the texture of the leaves.

Here I’ve moved a few feet so that the light is now coming from in back of the leaves.

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Portrait Tip #2

02nd September 2010

Portraits are one the most common type of photographs. We’d like to share some tips for taking better people pictures.

Direction of the Light

Shooting people outdoors offers a wide variety of lighting. Observe and take advantage of the direction from which it is falling on your subject.

Here the lighting originates predominantly from behind the subject. This backlighting produces shadows on much of the girl’s face.


For this shot, we turned the subject slightly so that the light is coming from the side. By doing this, we have added a more “rounded” and fuller look to the facial features.

Portrait Tip # 1

30th July 2010

Portraits are the most common type of photographs. We’d like to share some of our know-how for taking better people pictures.

Lighting Tricks
Portraits are usually composed using soft, even lighting. However, you can put strong and high contrast lighting to good use by carefully posing your subject.

This photo was taken in the shade where the light was soft. This type of lighting made the young girl’s skin tones equally soft.


Here, I’ve placed the subject in a location that has strong side lighting. I like the effect on the highlighted side of the face. Take care not to overexpose the highlights.