Between January 2000 and June 2008 I posted a large number of technique examples taken from my daily work to show how I used light in an era where digital cameras were pretty poor at ISOs over 800 or even 400 in the case of the venerable Kodak DCS520. These days flash is a creative choice rather than a technical necessity but the techniques still stand up.

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Without light there would be no photographs. I always say that there are three elements to a good photograph: light, composition and subject matter - so the ability to improve the lighting on a subject can drastically improve a photograph.

I learned very early on in my career that no matter which branch of photography you come from, you can always learn a lot from the others. I spent time with advertising and social photographers and watched how they always used light, and I decided that I could steal a lot of their techniques for my work as a news photographer.

I've been using Lumedyne equipment for about nine years and I have enjoyed doing so. On this web site I have published my criticisms of the original series equipment, which has now become labeled as the "Classic" range - these criticisms were that:

  • The heads were not bomb proof - but they were very reasonably priced so you could afford to have spares
  • They would fire before being completely recycled - but that it was possibly better to have a picture that was underexposed than one that was blank
  • The packs had sharp corners that could be easily damaged and that could also do damage themselves - guilty, but no more or less so than the competition
  • The connections between the heads and stands were weak - the important thing was to not over tighten the posts

I can report that, apart from the sharp corners, all of these points have been successfully addressed and that the Signature series also has a range of other improvements.

  • Improved modeling light on/off switch
  • Facility for adding 1/4" threaded accessory on top of the head as well as a mini jack style synch lead
  • Stronger head, capable of holding a small to medium softbox
  • Better power selector switch on the pack
  • Complete compatibility with the Classic series

These are the improvements that I've noticed so far (and there may be more) but the bottom line is that they have taken one of my favourite tools and made it better without losing the character that made the original so good to use. This, I am glad to say, is evolution rather than revolution.

So far I have one new 200 joule (w/s) pack and one basic head with a coiled power lead and a standard battery to add to my existing Classic series gear. To see the complete range their web site is www.lumedyne.com .

For many years now I have avoided synch leads attaching my camera to the flash unit. For most of that time I have used Wein infra red triggers, and found them to be an excellent solution to the problem. This year I have upgraded to the LPA Designs "Pocket Wizard" four channeled"Plus" range of transmitters and receivers. They have awesome range and seem to fire every single time.

The other accessories include a range of Manfrotto lighting stands, Elinchrom umbrellas, Chimera Soft boxes, Lee Lighting gels, Lastolite folding reflectors, Lightware cases and sling bags and Domke sling bags. I have also ben using a Lastolite Umbrella Box, which seems like a great compromise when you are in a hurry.



 
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