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Old 11-10-2006, 11:18 AM   #1
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Hot lights or strobes?




I've been using almost exclusively natural light for my portraits but I want more flexibility in posing and positioning models. How many of you use hot lights (a constant source of light) or strobes (an off-camera flash setup)?

Also, what experience have you had with the "White Lightning" brand or the "Alien Bees" brand of strobe setups?
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Old 11-10-2006, 12:10 PM   #2
Steve Craighead Steve Craighead is offline
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Michele,
Years ago I used White Lighting strobes, but got tried of the lack of color nuance. Since then I've always preferred using natural lighting, even to the point of dragging around a host of reflectors and light stands.
Recently, I've been pushing a head and shoulder pastel (I've really missed the immediacy of completing a portrait on location) and I've gotten more adults to sit for me for oils. I needed a constant light source. I just didn't like my Smith & Victor hot light. The problem being the heat and the 3200 K. I jury-rigged a fixture to hold 3 compact fluorescent bulbs in my Photogenic softbox. The compacts have a CRI of 93+ and are 5000 K. They're cool temperature wise and bright. I like the effect. I can work from life and take photos digitally without a problem. I have had a problem traveling with the bulbs though. I've lossed 3 so far to breakage. (TSA insists on taking a part my luggage and not putting everything back carefully!) I've been looking at the fluorescent units on the bhphoto site, (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=2249) but I'm waiting to see the units in person before I make the plunge. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-10-2006, 12:49 PM   #3
Tom Edgerton Tom Edgerton is offline
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Stephen

Saw the Lowel lights that gang the compact flourescents to a bright, useful wattage level recently, and they do look promising. If you get them, would love a followup describing your experience with them.

Thanks--TE

(Congrats to Susan also for her First Place award in the PSOA-sponsored SC-NC-VA Tri-State competition this month!)
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:45 PM   #4
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Quote:
a fixture to hold 3 compact fluorescent bulbs
What a brilliant suggestion (no pun intended)!

I've been using wonderful color balanced fluorescent bulbs that fit in my ordinary light stands for the studio, recommended to me a few years ago by Chris Saper. They're very, very bright and 6500 degrees K. Maybe I'll order a few more bulbs and use them for shoots when the available light isn't great.

They're somewhat larger than an ordinary lightbulb and have an odd corkscrew shape but they would be easy to transport. I understand what you mean, Steve, by not wanting to risk them in checked baggage. I might bubble wrap them and ship them on ahead, or bring them in my carry on, again, well bubble wrapped.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-10-2006, 02:01 PM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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For anyone who'd like to consider the bulbs I've been using, they are made by TCP (www.tcpi.com) and are called "compact fluorescent spring lamps". The product code is TCP 2894265K and I understand they can be special ordered from Home Depot, and various online sources.
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Old 11-10-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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I recently bought the Lowel Caselite 2-bulb set, based on suggestions from Mary Lane Reed and Steve Moppert. I love it. The case is somewhat heavy and awkward but it does fit in the overhead luggage carrier. It sets up easily and has the option of one or two- bulb lighting. I have been getting gorgeous photos.

The daylight bulbs are 5300K, so not as cool as those 6500K bulbs, but very nice.

The light comes with a sturdy compact tripod (I dont' recall whether I ordered that separately) so that it can be elevated for a 45 degree angle - many tripods simply will not go up that high.

http://www.lowel.com/caselite/
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:18 PM   #7
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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They look great. So nice to have everything in one carry-on case!
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:19 PM   #8
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Steve, were you shooting with a White Lightning strobe in the pre-digital age? I never have a color problem with my digital/White Lightning setup, especially if I shoot in RAW. (Well, maybe I have a color problem, but nobody has flat-out said anything about it to me lately. )

I wish I had an Alien Bees set up because I love the name of the company.

I have usually painted daytime portraits from life under natural light, though I've done charcoals from life at night under a single cool florescent with a sheet of difuser fabric over the lamp. Doing on-site demos is a whole other situation as well, though I gather, Michele, you are asking about photography.

To fill or not to fill: that is the question. (Let's get Garth in on this discussion, I'll email him.)
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:27 PM   #9
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Hey! I vote for fill! (As opposed to Phil, whom I understand to be an abstract expressionist art critic wannabe for the Fargo Inquirer- no offence to our Dakota friends)
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:05 PM   #10
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Tom, what do you use?

...And if anyone knows what "Phil" uses, please enlighten (!) us on that, too!
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