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At my Lightroom Live Tour (which kicks off in LA next Wednesday), I’m going to be doing three live studio shoots in the classroom, so I needed a full studio set-up (softboxes, stands, background, etc.) for those shoots.

I usually use strobes for my studio work, but last month (when I did that two-day hands-on Lightroom workshop at the Digital Technology Centre in Sarasota, Florida), I got a chance to try a continuous light source, because they had Westcott SpiderLites, and I was so impressed that when I put this tour together, I called B&H Photo to buy a SpiderLite system for the tour. Well, they put me in touch with David Piazza over at Westcott, and with their help we put together a three-light system to my specs, with three different size softboxes, stands, two TD-5 SpiderLites and a smaller TD-3 SpiderLite, along with a pop-up Westcott Illuminator background.

In preparation for the tour Matt, Dave, Corey and I set up the entire SpiderLite kit in NAPP Headquarters yesterday, and I have to tell you, we were all blown away. Once you work with continuous light, and can clearly see the shadows and light patterns as you reposition the lights, you just fall in love. Plus, the quality of the light (it looks like daylight), is just amazing, and best of all; they’re not “hot” lights. They’re absolutely cool (since they’re based on specially designed banks of flourescent lights). Really just amazing.

For me, another bonus of using SpiderLites is; you don’t have to sync with strobes, so there’s no wireless remotes necessary, or sync speed issues, or adjustments to make in the camera to work with flash, becuase…it’s not a flash (you shoot just light you would in natural light). So, on the breaks between sessions I can let any of my students who brought their camera to the seminar, just walk up and take shots, because the lighting is just “on.” No flash issues, no syncing issues, they can just walk up and shoot. If you’re coming to my tour on Wednesday, you’ll see what I mean, and then you’ll want this link to Westcott’s site, or to B&H Photo to pick up one of their TD-5 SpiderLite kits (they’ve got two light kits, three light kits, or individual TD-5 units which are only around $365 for the light itself, plus you need the five blubs (around $95) and a Westcott softbox, which attach directly to the light without having to buy a speedring, and a stand. B&H has a full kit like that for $499, but I think the softbox is too small—get the next size softbox up—like a 2′ by 3′).

Anyway, I’m delighted to announce that Westcott has now come on as an official sponsor of my Lightroom Live Tour, and I just couldn’t be more tickled to have them be a part of this new tour, and to be using their lighting in my seminar. (My thanks to Dave and everyone at Westcott for their support).