Honey Badger - The new kid on the block
Mono-block that is. Yesterday I wrote about the new Honey Badger from Interfit Photographic and what comes in the box. As an Interfit CreativePro, I got to use the lights yesterday and today I will show some photos made with the Honey Badger and its included soft box. Instead of using models, I posted on Facebook asking for some friends to come by "as you are" for me to test some new lights. No special outfits or makeup, just you as you. My first three responses came from a mom (who sent her husband and 9-month-old baby over), another Seattle Photographer, and a wonderful friend from SANCA, the circus school that I work out at.
There's a baby in the studio!
Let's start with Max and his dad. I don't usually photograph kids, especially not babies, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Max was absolutely wonderful to work with. He seems to like people and wasn't fussy in any way at all. We sat him down and he hammed it up for the camera. These photos made use of two Interfit Honey Badger flashes. One was under the table pointing towards the background to give some separation. There was no modifier on the flash, just the bare head about 12 inches from the backdrop, in close so the light would gradually fade to dark at the top of the photograph. The main light was another Honey Badger fitted with the 24" square pop-up softbox that comes with the flash. This light, as you can see in the photo of the setup was positioned to the left of my camera and a sheet of white foam-core was positioned on the right side to fill in and soften any shadows. After making a few photographs I took away the table and had Max and dad sit down. I took away the background light to work with just the one light and softbox with the foam-core fill. And here you see the result in this photo of the two of them. Then one more cropped in close and converted to black & white. Other than the black & white conversion, setting a custom white balance (I think the included softbox puts out light that is a bit on the blue side and I wanted to warm it up), and a little bit of vignette around the corners there was no additional retouching done on these.
Photographing the Photographer
Next up was another Seattle-base photographer, Brian Wells. I take it as quite an honor for another wonderful photographer to offer to sit for some portraits. I know many photographers who don't like being on the other side of the camera. Brian was also wonderful to work with. My wife, Kim, joined us and the three of us talked about trips to Japan as we made the photographs. Again, I started with the Honey Badger and the 24" softbox. The first image had no fill card for a crisp, dramatic image. I then added the same sheet of foam-core to open up the left side (camera right) of Brian's face. Next came a tight crop and black & white conversion. I then changed my modifier to an Interfit 2x3 softbox and made one more tightly cropped photo. More about the Interfit softboxes in a future post, but if you look closely in Brian's eyes you might be able to see what looks like window panes in the catchlight in his eyes. I get this effect by putting strips of black masking tape across the front of my rectangular and square softboxes.
Next to arrive was Megan, who does partner acrobalancing and cyr wheel among other circus arts. You might remember Megan from some recent photographs in my Chair Series. As I already had the 2x3 softbox set up, I started out with that and a black and white portrait study. Then I turned Megan towards the light for a color image. With those made, I wanted to go back to the 24" box to show what you can do with the light "out of the box" with no other modifiers, not even the foam-core reflector. I moved the light in very close, faced Megan's body away form the light and had her turn her face back towards the light with eyes to the camera for this attractive dramatic portrait. Then I said some non-sensical things to elicit a reaction. Normally I want to get the tail-end of the reaction, but the scrunched up nose was too cute to pass up. And I normally have my subjects make direct eye contact with the viewer through the camera, so changed that up by having her cast her eyes downward. Here the fill card was brought back in to fill in shadows on the side of her face opposite the light. All of the photos of Brian and Megan were made with one light.
That's a wrap!
Well, that's about it for today. Three days in and I am still enjoying working with the new Interfit Honey Badger studio flash heads. It took a little bit to get used to the 60-watt daylight balanced LED modeling lights in these flashes. I've been using 250-watt quartz-halogen modeling lights for the last 40 years. The old tungsten-based lights are warm in color (yellowish) and HOT!! to the touch (3rd degree burns if you touch them). The LED lights are similar in brightness, but cool blue in color and only warm to the touch. No more getting burned fingers when changing modifiers! I am also getting used to controlling the lights from the remote trigger on my camera. Before I was using Pocket Wizards that only fire the lights, and don't have a way to control the output because I was mixing and matching various brands of lights together. Now I have four lights that use the same remote. Could it be time to think about retiring my Speedotron equipment? That relationship goes back to 1981. I'll probably keep them around for nostalgia and for when I need more lights on larger sets. But my day-to-day work is now going to the Interfit lights.
Thanks for following along on my journey with new lighting gear. Now get out there and make some pictures and have some fun!