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More Light Modifiers

Apr 28

In Lighting at 8:56am

To say I’ve collaborated with Lastolite on creating new light shapers is to give me too much credit. I have babbled and sketched a few things their way, but it is really Gary Astill, their chief designer, who has morphed muddled thoughts and a few notions about controlling light in fairly simple ways into real form and design.

The above was shot with a new version of the Lastolite Skylite Rapid. What’s new about it is that it has a set of velcro masks that can be arranged over the diffuser surface to give you an wide array of different size light sources.

What I did on this brief video shoot, was put three Nikon SB 910 speed lights into the Skylite Rapid (I tend just to call it a 3×3) and then sort of work my way backwards, masking off different areas of the light surface, making it skinny and long, filling it occasionally with a Tri-grip reflector, working TTL, and simply altering the path of the light, and its dispersion, to in turn alter the feel and mood of the photo.

If you remove the bounce fill from below, and really skinny out the light pattern, you get something a touch more dramatic, with a bit more cheekbone edge. Which suits my subject, who is a semi-pro footballer over in the UK, and an excellent athlete. In a number of these portraits, I’ve edged my camera (all pix shot with a D800E) into high speed sync mode, hovering here and there at about 1/500, maybe 1/800 of a second, with my longer lens, the Nikkor 70-200 zoom, wide open at f2.8.

You open up that edge, and the shadows, when you strip off the masks, and cover your subject with the full wash of a big diffuser surface.

Be careful of sun dapple! I mention this in the video below, as it can drive you mad, working on a day where the sun is playing dodge ’em with the clouds and the wind is moving the trees and leaves about. There’s a bit in the pic above, which I view now as a something of a happy accident, but it’s definitely something to watch for and control to your taste. The really nice, incremental control lighting like this gives you, when you combine a nice sized surface with the ratcheting Tri-flash, is that you can click the three flash heads into different vectors of the light shaper. This will, to a small degree, weight one area of the lighting surface with either more or less light, and enable you, for instance, to open up a shadow, or feather down a highlight as you see fit.

All in all, a very handy, portable light shaper that can adapt its size quite readily to the task at hand, and drop, collapsed, into a small duffel. You can email Jeff Snyder at [email protected], as he is responsible for quickly getting these new products up on the Adorama website in short order.

More tk….


Dawn says:

on April 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

This light is so creamy and beautiful before the strips are added on. Great to see Annie assisting 😉 Everything flows well here thanks to Joe’s awesome teaching skills and explanations. Not complicated lighting but it’s so simple an spectacular. Joe continues to help all ships rise with the tide of photographers becoming better with their lighting… Joe, you are my favorite instructor hands down thank you again for all you do with sharing and demonstrating tools.

Sohrab Ghabezloo says:

on April 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

i saw this video and i realy enjoy it …this portable light shaper can be realy usefull …and it creats realy soft light you also use it for ladies joe ?

Brant says:

on April 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hey Joe, I really like this light diffuser. Thanks for all the good info. I find it very interesting how you managed to balance your strobes with the available light. Especially with the sun going in and out!


Blake says:

on April 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I think the true modifier i need to acquire is Joe himself xD
Great work Joe, you amaze me every time I look at your work.

Bharat Pania says:

on April 29, 2014 at 3:57 am

We all ways see something NEW in lighting from you . Great

Van says:

on April 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

Hmmm… no sand bags on the legs? You’re really good. :-)

Got to say, great color rendition. The background looks so good it could resemble a backdrop and the lighting is so good it looks like it was shot in a studio.

This is something I have been considering to go for location shooting. Good timing.

But, please tell me, how did you achieve full frame exposure using 1/500-1/800 even in hi speed sync. When I do I see curtain closure.

Also, any touchup on these in Aperture (I think you use that for post, right?). Thanks!

seo says:

on May 13, 2014 at 2:39 am

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was conducting a little homework on this.
And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him…
lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!

But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this issue here
on your blog.

Review my weblog – seo

Harry R. says:

on June 25, 2014 at 9:52 am

Apparently, Lastolite doesn’t really have these things. I ordered a soft box in May, and the order has been delayed 3 times, until at least July 15. I’ve had 2 shoots that would have benefited, and two more scheduled before July 15 that I’ll now miss as well.

I cancelled the order. I’m so disappointed.

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