Thursday, May 06, 2010


This post was a bit delayed as I was hammered with what seemed to be food poisoning early in the week. Don't eat the stuff you find in the sofa. Of course that set back the awesome photography things I had planned like pouring a sidewalk blogging. On to the real post...I got a few new tools to play with. I was at a loss a time or two with my flash gear. It's a bit tough to get three flashes firing at once without some way to trigger them.
I was using a hot-shoe mounted optical slave and cords. This works okay as long as the flashes are in a line-of-sight configuration. Sometimes line-of-sight means in-the-photo. That would be bad. Also, I've got a couple of flash units that were built sometime before I was born and if they are wired directly to my camera I'll let the smoke out. That too, would be bad. I ordered a couple of Universal Translators from MPEX with a cord so I can have my "modern" flash fire with a cord and trigger the optical slave and pop the other old flashes that are linked together. Clear as mud? The point is, I can now trigger them all and not have to worry about having 250V running through the microprocessors of my camera. Hmmmm....old flashes and cords.

Being on a budget I've got to do what I can with what I have. This scenario works but what if I want to get away from that line-of-sight issue? Enter radio triggers. Professional photographers can't be bothered with cords. A pro would get a whole compliment of Pocket Wizards. I cannot afford PW's. They rock, everyone loves em. Everyone also agrees they are a bit spendy. Remember the budget? Like all good products, they get ripped off by our friends on the other side of the planet. Less reliable, fewer features, and less money! I bought a transmitter and receiver of the Cactus V4 variety. Due to the growing Strobist community, the quality of the Cactus brand seems to be getting better all the time and the V4's seem to be robust enough to handle the Vivtar 283's immense voltages. The shot at the top was with the flash in the bathroom and me about 20 feet away around the corner. The blue is because I forgot to change the white balance I am an artist and I consider these things before just whacking the shutter release. No wires, no line of sight. Success. I had done some tests with the optical trigger as well and thought I had it figured out. I was playing around with a portrait of my friend Joe and I had some issues. I did some more testing when I got home and it turns out I just had things configured wrong as the lower pic shows. The gear works, my brain was just fading. Learning all the time. Now, I will still want to buy twenty million dollars worth of gear but I really should be o.k. for a while. Off to bed,


Gymi said...

I like it, it looks way cool.

Surly said...

Thanks. I hope to use these for some better stuff. Thanks for stopping by.