Big umbrellas for soft transitions. Weird rigging for just the right modifier illumination...



A little eccentric? Probably. But I wanted to use this big, 72 inch umbrella to light a nice actor and, after messing around with flash for a while, I decided that I really wanted to use a couple of bright, highly corrected LED lights. The problem (opportunity?) is that the Aputure Lightstorm LS-1/2 lights aren't made with umbrella holders or anything else that would allow one to sensibly attach an umbrella. A double conundrum because I actually wanted to use two of the lights to get that extra stop of light punch. What's a photo-practitioner to do? Improvise. 

I looked into the black, canvas bag that holds most of the grip gear and clamps and I came out with an "arm" that has 5/8 inch studs on each end and is pretty flexible in terms of moving stuff around. That would be a good device on which to mount the lights but I then needed to mounted the articulated arm onto something that would fit on the top of a light stand. An all-purpose grip head was just what the Light Doctor ordered. I was able to mount the two lights on a positionable articulated arm and then put the arm on top of a C-Stand. The lights could be positioned in any number of configurations in order to most evenly illuminate the enormous number of square inches of soft whiteness that the umbrella offered. 

It all worked in a straightforward way and I was able to get a couple hundred solid shots this way. I'll do it again. In fact, I have this lighting set up in mind for an upcoming video interview as well...

Just thought you'd like to see today's zany approach to "real universe" lighting. 

Hyper Acuity Archivable Collector's Prints available... (not really).

A first attempt with a regular C-stand arm, a couple of grip heads and a super clamp. Ho Hum. No articulation = no excitement. 

The Real Deal. ARTiculation galore. The flash head was already there holding up the umbrella. If I forego the flash head I'll use the umbrella mounting technique shown in the image just above this one. 
72 inches seems to be a glorious sweet spot for umbrellas. 
And cheap as dirt compared to a nice softbox.

Swing em. Turn em. Rotate em. ARTiculate them. Done.


  1. That umbrella is impressive. Also, it's good to have a higher ceiling in your studio. I like these types of post. I have a sudden urge to buy stands and weird clamps.

  2. Nicely done for the work around. With the right bits and pieces "you can get there from here". With a Manfrotto lite-tite or another flash shoe umbrella bracket one can also do the same if you don't have that bit of kit.

    But, again unfortunately I found myself tinged with disappointment. This time about your "Hyper Acuity Archivable Collector's Prints available... (not really)"...

    Really?... Sigh

    Still holding some spare cash in hand for your limited edition beach towel test shot print. I have a small wall here where that print would just sing ; )



  3. Shiny things with nobs. It moves to may positions, has nobs to turn, and often is shiny! What's not to like...


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