Monday, December 7, 2009

AlienBees abduction!

Waialae Beach Fight
I just had a trip to Hawaii to get married (yay!), and it gave me an opportunity, thanks to Hawaii Photo Rental, to try out some of the AlienBees range.

I knew I wanted to fight daylight, so I thought an AB1600 would be a good place to start. Added to that was a 47" Octabox, to get nice soft light, and a Vagabond II since I knew I was going to be out on the beaches.

What follows, are some comments from the experience.

First, the Octabox is dead easy to set up, and quick. Likewise to tear down and put it back in the bag. But, the carry bag could do with a carry handle.

Setup-wise, the Octabox's internal baffle was very hard to remove (despite having those snap-on button things), and as I was time pressured, I didn't remove it.

The second internal baffle meant I wasn't getting as much light as I needed... so the light needed to be fairly close, even at full power!

By close, I mean, front of the octabox about 1m away I could beat sunlight by a stop or two. If the light was further away (say 2-3m) I could about equal it.

Getting the light close made things hard, since I wanted to use the wide end of my 10-22, so juggling keeping the light just out of frame while it was being blown around in the wind... definitely required an assistant. Thanks to Amanda's mum for that.

Waialae Beach Fight
Now, I haven't managed to get reliable flash sync when I use my radio remote camera triggers AND the Cactus V4s, so we needed a 'trigger man' to shoot most of the shots... that made things tricky for some of the action shots, but we got a couple of good ones anyway, thanks to Amanda's dad for that.

That brings me to my final comment for now... he got a bit trigger happy, and ended up popping off shots every second or so. The gear was _almost_ up to the task, 1 shot would be fine, the next a little under, and the next one would be fine again! At full power, using the Fast recycle on the Vagabond II, I was very impressed!

So this was our first 'fight' as a married couple, hopefully all our other fights will be about as serious as this one :P


  1. Great stuff! Do you know what the fastest sync you could get out of it?

  2. @Lastlight: It seemed fine at 1/250th, but I dropped it down for most of my shots, as I was trying to get the sync working with my shutter remotes... I ranged from 1/100th up to 1/250th for these shots.