Took a photograph of Stevie Ray Vaughan the other night. We had talked about getting another Stevie photograph into our Austin Events Calendar. I did one a few years ago, but I wanted this one to have a bit more punch, and a bit more edge, and a bit more Austin music feel to it. I decided I would take this image at night, but I knew I would have to get some fill light to light up the statue. I brought out my ABs with the vagabond and the radio poppers to photograph this one. I needed my main light to have a hard edge to it, but not to much of a spread, so I put the first AB on a stand with a 40 degree grid on it to narrow the beam and flew the stand up high to get it to light his face. I positioned the light more on his left side of the statue (camera right) so I would get a nice wrap light effect. After I had that dialed in, it needed a bit more, so I positioned another light behind Stevie (camera left) on a bounce umbrella to give it a nice soft fill from behind with being over bearing. Pretty psyched with the results. Here is the image:
I’ve recently had to the opportunity to work with a custom home builder here in Austin photographing some of his houses for his new website scheduled to launch pretty soon. The Muskin Company has a site now, but they are going for a new look/ design/ feel and will be adding my images to it. So check back for that. Here are a few exteriors that I photographed for them:
My wife’s younger sister Carly, got married last month in Jamaica to her long time beau Brandon. Such an awesome location for a destination wedding, it just seemed hard to take a bad photo here. It really made everything super easy that the bride is so beautiful and the groom is such a handsome fellah. Congratulations to the two of you!!!
If you don’t already know…. lemmie tell you a lil bit about TC’s Lounge. This hidden Austin gem is located on the east side. And when I say east side, I am not talking about the hip yuppy urban development zone that is going on right now, I am talking the EAST SIDE. So every Monday night, this bar transforms into one of those places that you only see in the movies. They play THE BEST blues in Austin, and people are dancing their @$$es off and of course there is no A/C so everyone is glistening with sweat. I have never gone on a Monday night and not had a blast. On top of this it is BYOL, and they sell cheap beer. If you have never been, next Monday night, go. Seriously. It’s good. Since this is a photography blog, here is an image that I got last week.
Disclaimer: As with any DIY project, you are “Doing It Yourself”. If anything happens to your flashes, radio poppers, you stub your little toe, etc etc, I am not responsible for it. This is what I did, and this is what worked for me. That is all.
A couple of days ago I posted some images from Reimers Ranch and I talked about how my friend Erik and I got together and made our own home made RP Cubes for our SB800s. This wire allows you to plug in your Radio Popper receiver into your Nikon SB800, and manually adjust the power output of your flash via the Radio Popper Transmitter on top of your camera. Just to clarify everything, I am using a Nikon SB800, a Radio Popper JRx Transmitter and a Radio Popper JRx Studio receiver. So here’s the nitty gritty:
We started off getting some of these because we knew that what we were looking for is the 3 pin connector that connected to the quench pin, and these were cheap ($3.95) and we wouldn’t feel bad about hacking them up.
and then we just picked up a couple of 1/8″ stereo jacks from radio shack. Those are pretty cheap too ($7.99)
we also picked up some heat shrink tubing to make our connections nice and tight:
So from here on out, it’s just pretty much cutting and splicing. Here’s a photo of what the splicing and rewiring should look like. The grey cord to the left of the splice is the multi flash adapter and the black cord to the right of the splice is the 1/8″ stereo plug. Sorry folks, this is the only photo I have of this, but it should work just fine as a reference pic. Also, remember before heat shrinking these suckers up, test them out to make sure that it works.
and this is what it looks like after everything is all heat shrinked up. Might not be the fanciest cord out there, but it works, so I’m psyched!
Here is an example with my wonderful model “G-dawg” using the SB800 with the DIY RP Cube. All camera settings remained constant, only the power output on the flash changed all done right from the transmitter, which means I didn’t even have to get up and move from my spot.
I have two SB800s, which means of course, I needed to make 2 sync cords. Total cost was around $20.00 for both of them, plus the time that we spent splicing the little wires etc. Is it worth it? Radio Popper website has RP cube listed at $29.95 which means $60.00 for two plus s&h. So compared to that, I think it is. Flash Zebra has pretty much the same thing we made but it’s all neat and pretty for $19.50 or $40.00 for two. Had those been available at the time, I probably would have just got those and been just as happy. BUT, I wouldn’t have gone through the experience which for me was really fun, and as an added bonus, Erik cooked up a MEAN rib eye steak that night which made the whole experience/ night definitely worth it!!! Overall, it’s really not complicated, just a bit tedious with those little wires. If you choose to DIY, good luck.
I had a photo shoot set up with Rupesh on his project at Reimers Ranch that we have been talking about for quite a while now. I hauled in the Alien Bees with the vagabond battery pack, as well as one of my SB800. I was able to trigger both with my Radio poppers. How did you do that with a SB800 and a radio popper receiver?!? My friend Erik and I spliced together a couple of wires and we were able to make our own “RP Cube”. This allows me to not only fire my SB800 wirelessly, it also allows me to vary the power output of the flash from the radio popper transmitter that is on top of my camera. So psyched to have these. No worries, I will post a more on this soon. The first shot was a two light set up. One AB on the ground to fill the cave, and a SB800 on a stick that I hand held to use as a fill for the climber.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am pretty happy with this shot, I just think there might be something better that would give this climb a little bit more. You see, at the lip of the climb, Rupesh does this crazy heel hook, rose move, hand to foot match to make it work. Even if you’re a climber, you are still probably having a hard time comprehending what I am talking about. The problem is, is that I need to be further away from the wall in order to capture this, and still be able to see the cave below. So I have drawn up a schematic of my solution to how this will someday happen in order to achieve the shot that I want in my head. This schematic is a first round go, so some adjustments have been made:
So there’s that, and when it happens, it’s gonna rule!
While I am sitting in my harness shooting photos of Rupesh, there just happens to be a climb just to the right called block party. I have shot block party before, but not from this good of an angle. I have my mid range lens with me, so I switch out lenses (scary) and fire off a couple of Vinny as he’s working out the moves to this classic pumpy climb.
So it’s almost noon, and I’ve got two pretty sweet climbing pics under my belt. I’m psyched! Then Cody Ramsey shows up and he’s all “blah blah blah… I’m really want to do ‘Love Shack’ with out a rope”. On any normal day, a photographer knows that shooting photos at noon is going to really suck. I should just bag it, call it a day, and go home, or do some climbing. But today was a special day. Cloud coverage! WIN! So I pack up all my stuff and Cody and I head down to love shack. He’s rapping down, cleaning holds, checking out moves etc which gave me an awesome opportunity to set up fill lights, check exposure and get a good composition. I know he’s only really got one shot at this climb cause if he falls at the crux, he’s probably not going to want to do it again, and I don’t know if I want to watch. So everything is set, all systems go. Crux move, snap the shot! DONE! He’s psyched he got the climb, I’m psyched I got ANOTHER shot and the day is pretty much done. I don’t remember why, but I know I had to be home by 4:00 and it was 3:00 which was perfect. What a great day for shooting! I can’t wait to go back and get that one of Rupesh. TBC…..