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October 2007 Archives

October 1, 2007

Flash Waves Wireless Synch Kit

By Joe Farace

Whether in the studio or on location I prefer wireless flash unit tripping for many reasons, like having one less cord to fall over. Untethered shooting has lots of additional advantages for photographers who may be less clumsy than me. The connections are positive and you’re free to move around to get the perfect angle, unrestricted by synch cord length or all-too-frequent cord failure. Poof! It just stops working—usually when you’re in the middle of an important session, too. On a more practical level, using a wireless electronic synch kit such as Booth Photographic’s Flash Waves isolates your digital SLR from the studio flash, eliminating the chance of voltage feedback into the camera. Bang!

Image ©Joe Farace

I’ve found the Flash Waves kit to be an important accessory, especially for on-location shooting. What sets Flash Waves apart from similar units is that it’s tiny, relatively inexpensive at $249.95, and quite versatile. Booth Photographic doesn't provide a pouch for it, but the whole magilla fits inside Lightware’s sturdy and attractive $23.97 GS400 case. It has a belt loop, too.

Flash Waves synchronizes at shutter speeds up to 1/250 second, which should easily match up with your favorite digital SLR or MF camera. It has a 165-foot operating range, but my guess is that it’s a typically conservative rating and you could probably push it more, especially when you use it to trip electronic flash units placed outdoors to highlight a building for low-light or nighttime architectural photography. Wedding and press photographers will appreciate the fact that the system offers five coded channels to eliminate misfires by locking out other strobes.

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Hughes Soft Light Reflector

By Karen Linsley, CPP
Soft Light Reflector

Those of you who use on-camera flash might be interested to hear of a relatively new product called the Hughes Soft Light Reflector. This light modifier, made by Jerry Hughes, joins the ranks of Gary Fong’s Whale Tail and Lightsphere, and a homemade foam modifier created by Ron Jackson, a frequent contributor to the OurPPA.com community.

The Soft Light Reflector has many advantages, the most obvious of which is portability.  The Soft Light will fold up or lay flat, and can be stuffed into your pocket or nearly any nook or cranny of a camera bag. It comes out ready to install on your on-camera flash quickly and easily.

The Soft Light attaches with two pieces of Velcro that you stick  to your flash and to corresponding spots on the Soft Light to attach it. If you're hesitant to stick Velcro on your flash, Hughes provides a Velcro strap that simply wraps around both the head of the flash and the Soft Light.

I took a test photos using on-camera flash with no diffusion or modifier at all, on-camera flash with built-in diffuser, Gary Fong’s Lightsphere, Jackson’s foam, and the Soft Light Reflector.

All of the test images are jpeg files converted straight  from the raw images with no retouching and no adjustments of any kind. I shot all of the images vertically, with the flash on a bracket so it was above the lens for each image. Each exposure was at f/5.6 for 1/60 second, ISO 100. The only thing that changed in each image was the light modifier.

The Soft Light Reflector provided the best results in this test, yielding softer shadows and the most flattering light. The Lightsphere gave a color cast to the images, the foam created some harsh shadows in this test, and the built-in diffuser also created some harsh shadows.

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Roundup: Entry-level Digital SLRs

By Ron Eggers

Just a few years ago only expensive, high-end digital SLRs had the resolution, speed and creative controls required by professionals. Advanced consumer models, also known as prosumer cameras, didn't have sufficient resolution, lacked the speed required for professional applications and didn't provide the full range of options demanded by professional photographers. Every year the entry-level models seem to conquer the territory only recently left behind by the professional-level cameras: resolution, response time, battery life, advanced controls.

You still hold the advantage with a high-end DSLR, but many of the limitations in less expensive models have disappeared.

Even if you never plan to pick up a DSLR that costs less than $3,000, you should educate yourself about how far the technology of the entry-level DSLR cameras has come. This is the market where many of your affluent to moderate-income clients or potential clients are shopping, and they may be asking you about it.

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October 2, 2007

Review Supplement: Canon EOS-1D Mark III images

Ellis Vener reviewed the Canon EOS-1D Mark III in the October issue of Professional Photographer. Here is a closer look at some of the images he took with differing subject matter, ISO settings and lighting conditions.

Click any photo for a larger view. All images have been sized down for Web viewing. Large views are 1000 pixels on the longest side.  All images ©2007Ellis Vener.

Exposure: Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens at 38mm, 1/160 second at f/11, IS0 200. Lighting: Alien Bees ABR800 with Moon Unit softbox, triggered by PocketWizard MultiMAX.


Images ©2007 Ellis Vener 

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October 12, 2007

Giving: One Laptop Per Child

Child with XO laptopOne Laptop per Child’s mission is to provide a means for learning, self-expression and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education. While children are by nature eager for knowledge, many countries have insufficient resources to devote to education—sometimes less than $20 a year per child. Imagine the potential that could be unlocked by giving every child in the world the tools they need to learn, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, no matter how little they may have.
Our answer to that challenge is the XO laptop, a children's machine designed for “learning.”

A donation of $200 will pay for and deliver one XO laptop to a child in a developing nation.
Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home.

For more information on the Give 1 Get 1 Program, visit xogiving.org.


Editor's note:  While researching products for a holiday wishlist for photographers, I decided I would also like to provide information about opportunities to give. It's easy to get wrapped up in the stresses of personal and professional demands, but it helps bring things into perspective when you think of people in need and causes worthy of support.

The One Laptop Per Child organization caught my eye in particular because the designers and organizers have a forward-thinking goal with longterm benefits: to bring something to children around the globe to help them learn, connect, teach others, and develop on their own. The laptops are designed to withstand harsh conditions and rough use. They're tough, the screen is still viewable in bright sunlight, they require little power to run, and can even be recharged by hand methods in areas where there is no electricity. It uses only open-source software, the interface is designed for children and fosters learning and connection to others, and the laptop itself includes a video camera, audio and wi-fi connectivity.

The more I read about it, the more amazed I was. I believe that education is one of the greatest means to help people help themselves, and so this cause appeals to me, personally.

Please consider giving to a charitible fund or aid group this holiday season. I urge you to contribute more suggestions for giving opportunities in the Comments area below. Tell us about your favorite cause or charity.

—Joan Sherwood, Senior Editor 


October 25, 2007

Canon EOS 40D High ISO Image of California Wildfire

Ron Eggers has been using the Canon EOS 40D to shoot firefighters battling the wildfires in Southern California. The image below was captured with an EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens at 1/40 second at f/5.6, ISO 1600.

The top image is a 1:1 sample of 501x501 pixels, saved for Web at 80 quality.


Image ©2007 Ron Eggers 


Firefighters battle a blaze Tuesday evening, Oct. 23, in an unincorporated area of Orange County at the Santiago Canyon Fire up the hill from Majeska Canyon. Image ©2007 Ron Eggers

Look for the complete review of the Canon EOS 40D in the December issue of Professional Photographer


October 26, 2007

Moab by Legion Unveils Moenkopi Line

Press Release—Legion Paper has announced its Moab brand will unveil its most unique product yet, Moenkopi Japanese Washi.

Brought to market in conjunction with the Awagami Factory of Tokushima, Japan, Moenkopi is the newest
product introduced by Moab and continues its tradition of developing and supplying the most innovative and
unique inkjet papers available today.

Moenkopi is a line of traditional Japanese Washi designed and coated for digital photographers and artists. Washi is literally Japanese Paper and has been part of the Japanese tradition for over 14 centuries. Unlike most papers, Washi is made from sustainable and environmentally friendly fibers like Kozo (mulberry) and Hemp.

All three of the Moenkopi papers incorporate the use of Kozo fibers. These fibers are harvested from live shrubs which continue to grow and produce after the harvest. This method of paper making is the most environmentally responsible today and is a driving force for the introduction of the Moenkopi line. Going one step further, the line incorporates a 100% handmade sheet, Bizan which utilizes the power of the sun to dry the sheet. Drying paper is traditionally the most energy intensive process in papermaking because of the large continuous heat ovens required.

The Moenkopi suite of products consists of three archival grades:

Kozo 110 has the smooth surface of a hot press art paper without losing the sensual nature of traditional Japanese Washi. Machinemade in Tokushima, Japan using the Kozo fiber. This white 110gsm sheet is available in A4 and A3+ (13x19) sizes in quantities of 10 sheets with rolls available as special order.

Unryu 55 is made by adding long course fibers to a wet layer of Kozo on the mould. A highly decorative sheet which is perfect for adding depth to a print. The name Unryu literally translates to ‘cloud dragon paper’. This natural white 55gsm sheet is available in quantities of 10 sheets of A4 and A3+ (13x19) as well
as 44”x15m rolls.

Bizan 300 are individually handmade sheets produced by Japanese artisans at the Awagami mill in Tokushima, Japan. Made from environmentally friendly Kozo and Hemp fibers featuring four naturally deckled edges then dried beneath the rising sun. Moenkopi Bizan represents the ultimate in Japanese craftsmanship. This natural white 300gsm paper is available in single sheet quantities in the A4 and A3 sizes only.

This backlit image of Moenkopi Unryu 55 shows the Kozo fibers that give the paper its character. 


Continue reading "Moab by Legion Unveils Moenkopi Line" »

About October 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in October 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2007 is the previous archive.

November 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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