Miraz Light At Work Photography

Price: Two scraped knees and One bruised elbow

Lessons learnt: 1. Just because you have a particular piece of equipment on hand, you don't have to use it.
2. Photo umbrellas morph into avian creatures with wings at the slightest presence of a light spring breeze. Unfortunately they re-transform into their original umbrella state when the breeze dies away having the "avianrellas" come crashing to the ground - flash, stand and all.

I was out shooting a local pre-school today. Before leaving home, I stepped outside to check on the weather. It was a lovely spring morning, a little cool in the shade, warm in the sun. I had visited the pre-school a few days earlier to check out the perfect picture location and decided on using the school's pretty flower garden. With the red roses in bloom, it would make a great natural backdrop. What would also be nice would be the sun  backlighting my subjects and with a tiny bit of fill in flash, I'd get a lovely golden hairlight as well as properly exposed subjects.

It is a misconception that if you are an outdoor photographers you don't need to use flashes and so don't need to learn flash photography. I shoot outdoors at various hours but still never leave home without my lighting gear.

Ever since I purchased my umbrella lighting stand a few months ago,  with great indoor lighting results, I've been wanting to use it outdoors. Today looked like the perfect day to do it. With the severe weather having passed through yesterday, we were to have a partly sunny, quiet day. Perfect weather !

Having packed the umbrella gear, I was tempted to leave my portable reflector home. Why carry extra stuff thats not going to be used right? But then, as an afterthought, I decided to stuff the reflector and strap in my purse just as I was running out the door.

Yes that is what my reflector looks like and I get excellent lighting with it ! They lay flat and are so easy to carry ! Can you tell why I'm in love with this?

I reach the school, set up my shot using the umbrella kit, fire a couple of test shots like the one below. Perfect even lighting in the front and the sun from the back !

The first class of kids come in, I arrange them on and around the bench, get on my knee, count down to 3 and just as I am about to press the shutter, I feel a slight breeze coming in and out of the corner of my eye, I see the light stand being lifted off, flash, umbrella and all and thrown to the ground in slow motion. At the same time, with the gears in my brain going into panic mode and wanting to save the flash and protect the camera I am holding I dive at it. A futile attempt I might add since the whole thing came crashing down. One positive outcome of this saga is that my appreciation for the cricket fielders on the outfield who've dived to catch a shot and succeeded  has increased ten fold ! The other positive outcome, even though the umbrella's spokes were bent (the rest of my gear suffered no damage) was that  I've come to love my honl gear even more !

The picture above shows one of my flashes, the honl speedstrap and the honl reflector. I paired it with the flash so that it gives you an idea about its size. Other than the flash, the rest of the items can be stuffed into small spaces like pockets, purses even into the belt if you're a male and don't carry a purse - perfect for taking along for an outdoor shoot where you need to have portable stuff (think chasing down kids). Now for a few pictures showing the light it produces. Note that they're SOOC with no edits

This picture above, shows the lens cap illuminated only by light from the window.

This second shows the illumination with offcamera flash in Manual mode with the Honl reflector being used as a reflector on my camera left (window as you can tell on camera right).

This third shot above shows the reflector used as a snoot. See how it casts that vignette? All natural in camera. Ofcourse I could have cast a better vignette if I had the time to correctly align everything when taking these sample shots, but I was in a rush - sorry !

Are you curious what the reflector looks like mounted on the flash? Here are some pictures that show you how the setup is. The camera in the picture is my old D40 that I have as a backup but no longer use.

This is usually how I have it attached. It may look flimsy but trust me, if put on correctly it holds up perfectly ! Putting it on, isn't rocket science either since all you do is wrap the speedstrap around the flash head and the reflector goes over the speedstrap with velcro !

This one shows you what the snoot looks like. On or off camera, this system works really great.

Oh and just so you know, I wasn't compensated by Honl to write this and promote their products (but that would be simply fabulous wouldn't it?)


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