Homemade soft lights for almost every purpose.

If you are tired of spending money on photo gear but you need a good light consider what we did for a project. We bought four fluorescent "under the counter" lights at Home Depot, taped them all together and bungee-corded them to a light stand. Spent $24 bucks + sales tax. Worked perfectly for the project we had in mind. There's more than one way to skin a Scheimpflug Principle....

The dour assistant is extra.....

It's a great way to practice your custom white balancing skills.

OT: I'm curious to hear what all you smart VSL readers think about the Apple Watch. Will it offer something to photographers?

Image done for Austin Lyric Opera. No real connection to our Apple Watch question. 
But would note that the model is wearing a watch, being lit with tungsten light and photographed with a Nikon 105mm f2 DC lens on a Kodak DCS 760C.

I am interested in what the upcoming Apple Watch will eventually offer to photographers and videographers. Since the watch will be linked to the iPhone will it be possible to do some of the stuff we normally do directly with our phones on the watch? 

For instance, if I am running the Olympus Share camera app on the phone could I see the menu on the watch? If I can see the menu on the watch and control the camera from the watch could I trigger the camera's shutter with a deft touch of the watch face? Could I arrange it so the live view is shared on the watch screen? Can I also watch my heart rate increase if I accidentally drop an expensive lens onto the concrete?

I know that my son's demographic currently has little to no interest in wearing watches and I am genuinely curious (as long time Apple stockholder) to see whether Apple's marketing clout will change that. But I am also interested in what you think about this. 

The watch isn't cheap. The least expensive one is reported to cost about $350. Is this something you will buy? Is it something you would use?

I remember when the iPad was announced. It was soundly ridiculed by everyone on the planet and spoofed on the TV show, Saturday Night Live. By October of 2014 Apple had sold 225,000,000 of the units at an average price of over $600. ( or, $135 billion U.S. dollars of product in four years).

Will the watch enjoy similar popularity or will the need for it to be tied to second product, the phone, limit it's success. Which then introduces another question: if the Watch does become popular enough will Apple also release on that works with Android phones. Will we one day be able to buy an Apple watch to use with a Samsung phone?

What am I waiting for in an Apple Watch? The same thing I've been thinking of since I jotted down a note in 1982. That would be to have an incident light meter in my wrist watch; no matter what company it came from. But, of course, if it all comes to pass I'll need a stronger pair of reading glasses to use it to it's fullest extent... Naw, that's too much.

I'm interested to read your opinions. Hit the comments. 

Thinking about lighting today. Something about sunny days in Spring.

I have one simple lighting design that I use a lot on sunny days. Today is our first sunny day in a while so I thought I'd share an image I did of Emily a while back. We wanted to shoot an image of her toting her bike, along with some other triathlete imagery so we went to the lake and found some nice foliage in the background.

It was full sun and in most cases like this the full sun combined with electronic flash always seems to give me too much fill. I generally put up a 6x6 foot diffusion scrim like the one you see above. It's anchored to two light stands and the connections that hold the scrim to the stand are also wrapped with gaffer's tape to keep them from coming apart in the breeze. 

The scrim is in a position to block almost all of the sunlight striking Emily. We've positioned it to provide a small amount of backlit on Emily's head. Probably just a bit too much....  But we were having too much fun and no one wanted to walk back a mile or so to the car and get a second, smaller, weaker diffusion scrim to finesse the highlight. 

I like to light this way because I can use a big, soft umbrella modifier for the main light and get the highlights to roll off into the shadow areas exactly how I want them to. The main light was a single Profoto Acute B head running off a battery powered Acute 600B generator. The extra power of the Profoto rig allowed me to place the main light exactly where I wanted it (not too close and not too far away) and get exactly the effect I wanted. 

It's just a fun photo and not a big deal but I thought it would be fun to show an actual set up for a change....