Category Archives Photo Gear

I’ve been working with the newly introduced Elinchrom BXRI-500 studio strobes, and I did a video review for you guys (below) to look at the pros and cons of this new mid-level set-up.

Here’s the link to the complete Elinchrom BXRI 500 kit at B&H Photo (They currently show it selling for $1550, with two 500 watt strobes, two 20″ softboxes, two 9′ light stands, the wireless transmitter, two cases, etc.).

Here’s the kit with 1-500 and 1-250 (but still includes all the other stuff).

Here’s the kit with two 250s. (also includes all the other stuff).

NOTE: There’s only a $200 difference between the two 250s and two 500 watt system. There’s only $100 between the one with one 500 and one 250, and the two 500 watt kit. In short; spend the extra money and get the two 500-watt strobes system.

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Hi Gang: I’m trying to wrap up my book by Friday, so in the interest of making that happen, here is an abbrevited news thingy:

  • I didn’t get to field test the Jobo GPS this week like I had hoped. Maybe next week.
  • Come to my Lightroom seminars in Denver and Portland, Oregon. (link)
  • This photographer rocks (link)
  • I finally broke down and bought an Elinchrom Beautydish.
  • Go visit Zack’s blog (link)
  • Just two days left to save $100 on Early Bird Registration for Photoshop World (link). PLUS: Scriv put together a new teaser with our football theme, and it’s pretty cool, so stop by the site and check it out.
  • Jessica is working on a new cover for the CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks book, and I saw an early proof of it today. She’s rocks! It made me really glad that we decided to go with something completely new.
  • Today would be a great day to back up your photo collection.

OK, that’s all I could come up with. Have a good one, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow when I have even less time to blog. ;-)


Here’s another shot from my shoot with rapper “10 Minute.” After we lost all light at our location shoot, we headed back into the studio to finish up. Here are the details on the shot:


Although you can see two lights in the production shot above (photo by Brad Moore), only one (the one directly above his head) was actually connected (the light in the background was left from an earlier shoot that day (the one I did with the clamp-on fan). The light directly above his head is a White Lightning 1200 watt strobe with a Beauty Dish reflector and I have the diffuser that goes over the beauty dish (to somewhat soften the edgy light that comes from a beauty dish). The reason the medium gray background appears so dark is because I used a high shutter speed, so it would fall off to black (I used 1/250 of a second). NOTE: In the production photo, it kind of looks like the beauty dish is in front of 10 Minute, but it’s actually directly above his head, aiming straight down.

Now, you might be thinking, “Hey Scott, I thought you only used Elinchrom strobes?” True dat. But I bought this set-up a while back, and at the time it was the cheapest route to getting a beauty dish look, so I picked it up, but Brad was bugging me last week to finally break down and buy an Elinchrom dish to go over my RX-600’s, which I’ll probably do because the big pain of the White Lightning is that I can’t use my Skyport triggers to change the power output. Each time I needed to change the power output, we had to pull the whole boom down, and not only is it a pain, it really slow things down during the shoot.

I had my buddy Rod Harlan on the set, because when I was finished with 10 Minute, I was going to shoot a couple of headshots for Rod (Yes, I had three different shoots that day—-I couldn’t have pulled that off without Brad’s help). Anyway, 10 Minute went to change clothes for another look, and before I changed the lighting set-up, I had Rod step in to the exact same beauty dish set-up I used for 10 Minute, and the  photo is shown below (though I did convert it to black and white in Lightroom).


We had Rod hold the MacBook Pro, just so he’d have something to hang on to (a prop), and it was an easy choice since he’s such a Mac-head, but surprisingly enough while he was holding it, it started rotating his canvas (kidding, just a joke).

Anyway, just a little Monday morning one-light quickie to start off the week. :)

At Christmas I got a very cool new electric guitar from my wife (that’s not the accessory, by the way), and she wanted to make sure I got a guitar I really liked, so I went to the local music store to find one I liked, but while there, I walked by the drum department and that’s when I saw a small, specially designed fan for drummers that mounts right on a cymbal stand.

Well, I took a look at how it was mounted and realized that it would fit perfectly on a lightstand, which would make it an ideal fan for people shooting fashion, because you can easily control the height and angle of the wind (rather than having it sitting on the floor, where it’s harder to access and aim).

Anyway, the fan is called the “BLOWiT Personal Cooling System” (OK, the name needs some work), and I tried it in the music store, and it seemed like a perfect fan solution for portraits since you could mount it up high so easily. So, I got home and ordered one (it was only $69.99). It’s pictured here below mounted to a light-stand in our studio.


Anyway, I did a shoot week before last and I got to try it out for the first time on a real job, and I have to say; it totally rocked! (sorry about that lame pun). But seriously, it worked out amazingly well. The shot below was taken using that fan on its lowest setting.


Below are two set-up shots (taken by Brad Moore) so you can see the fan (and the lighting, in case you care) in use during my shoot.



Lighting Info: I used two Elinchrom RX-600 Strobes for the shoot, one beside the subject with a 40″ Elinchrom softbox, and one behind on the opposite side with a Elinchrom strip bank softbox. Both are triggered by Skyport wireless triggers.There are no lights on the gray background, so it pretty much fell to black. The photo directly above is just to show more detail of the fan, but there I’m using an Elinchrom 53″ midi-octa softbox on the same RX-600 strobe.

Camera Info: Shot with a Nikon D3, with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, at 105mm. The ISO was 200, and the exposure was f/8 at 1/160 of a second. I shot in Manual mode. The post-processing was done in Lightroom (exposure, white balance, tone, etc.), and then over to Photohsop for some retouching (removing some minor blemishes, brightening the eyes, some dodging and burning, and I enhanced the highlights in her hair.

Fan Info: Usually, doing something like this (taking a fan made for drummers, and using for something entirely different), doesn’t work out, but here it worked just like I hoped it would. I let the subject be in charge of the angle and intensity of the fan, and during the shoot she would reach over and adjust the angle or speed (it has three speeds). Although we used it on the lowest speed most of the day, if I could add one improvement, it would be for the higher setting to be even higher (I’m not sure that’s possible with its light weight and size). Anyway, I’m pretty psyched about it and wanted to turn you on to this new discovery. You can order your BLOWiT Personal Cooling System direct at their Website (here’s the link).


Our good friend, and legendary Wildlife Photographer, Moose Peterson has posted a mini-review of Nikon’s new D3x over at his Moose News blog, and he gives one of the first real field tests out there (from the Digital Landscape Workshop Series taking place out in Yellowstone right now) of this newly released high-end camera.

Here’s the link to Moose’s blog to check it out.


I’m finishing up the update to, “The Photoshop Elements 7 Book for Digital Photographers,” (co-authored with Matt Kloskowski) and each time I update a book, I always use all new photos throughout the book, which means I have to be shooting pretty much all the time (which gives me a great excuse to use with my wife, “Honey, it’s for work.” ;-)

Anyway, I shot a number of new images just for the book, and I thought it would be cool to do an on-location sports portrait of some local kids who play Soccer (which is called football about every place else on the planet). My buddy Jim Workman is president of the local Soccer (football) league and he set-up a shoot for me with a family that had three talented, fun, and really sweet kids.


This was my first location shoot with Brad assisting me, and we had an awful lot of fun. One of the highlights was watching these little kids blast the ball past Brad, who is a much better photographer than he is goalie, and then watching him chase the ball all over the field.


LIGHTING: We used one Nikon SB-800 off-camera flash, with a hot-shoe EZYbox softbox, (the one I talked about last week) mounted on a sturdy C-stand (if I had used a shoot-through umbrella, the wind would have taken it down about half-a-dozen or so times). Because this was a sunset shoot, we taped a 1/2 cut of CTO gel over the front of the flash to warm up the color. When the sun was completely gone, we added a second SB-800 on the opposite side of the player, with a HonlPhoto 8″ Speed Snoot to keep the light from bare flash really small and concentrated on the right side of the subject’s face.


We did the shoot at a local playing field, rather than in a big stadium,  and there were some unattractive maintenance buildings and a parking lot in the background, so I had to compose the shots to keep all that ugly stuff out of the frame. I took nearly all the shots lying on the ground shooting up toward the kids. I positioned the kids so the setting sun was behind them putting great color into the clouds (we got lucky having such great clouds that night—the next night there wasn’t a cloud in the sky). The field was pretty plain, so I made sure the goal was in most of the shots, so it would be more obvious that we were on a field. I also tried to included some of the field lights in the shots, to give more of a stadium feel.


CAMERA INFO: All the shots were taken with a Nikon D3, using a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens at 200 ISO. I shot in Manual mode, and most shots were taken at f/9 at 1/200 to 1/250 of a second (I used a higher shutter speed to minimize existing light and darken up the clouds).


I’m planning on doing a special bonus video for people who buy the book on how to set-up a similar location shoot.