Zack has a new book out Photography Q&A. Probably not your conventional photography guide, but a compilation of around 100 of the best questions from his great Photography Q&A tumblr blog where he has already answered over 1200 questions.
No doubt the book will be just as entertaining, but also whole lot more informative and enjoyable to read through with great images now included, and more detailed explanations, as well as guides to the gear etc used.
I’ve always been a big fan of Zack’s work. He just has a great eye, and a no nonsense way of explaining why images are working or not.
If you may not be familiar, Zack Arias was the original One Light man, and for a number of years his lighting kit consisted of just a 60″ umbrella, lightstand, and a Sunpak 120J barebulb speedlight. Zack went on to do the popular One light Workshops with the same emphasis on keeping the lighting simple (but often with powerful results). There is a wealth of great information on Zack’s blog, one of the most popular articles I often refer people to is the excellent series of white seamless tutorials.
Zack was also a campaigner to bring back the 120J barebulb speedlight, which has finally been resurrected to a large degree in the recent CL-180 Cheetah Light. And lets face it, much better now than the 120J ever was.
Looking at examples of Zack’s lighting kit now we still see the same simplicity. And note he’s not afraid to use the inexpensive YongNuo YN-560 II manual speedlites often discussed here. Affectionately referred to as the “Kung Pao” 560 !
The YN-560 II flashes are currently avaialble for a ridiculously low $59 Amazon Fullfilled, and are now the No.1 best selling speedlite on Amazon. The later YN-560 III currently at $78 is still our hot tip though, as that has a built in radio receiver. But sooner or later its highly likely to have remote manual power control also enabled with a new transmitter unit (which is a huge advantage for the little extra price payed now).
The rest of the lighting kit shown –
- A good solid Avenger lightstand (Note the big handles) (B&H)
- Good solid metal Manfrotto 026 umbrella swivel (B&H)
- and Stroboframe Clamping Coldshoe (B&H)
- Honl Grids (B&H)
- Honl Speed Strap (B&H)
- Gels (B&H)
- Think Tank Gel Wallet (B&H)
- Phottix 36″ double fold umbrella
Not shown above, but Zack also carries a short length of pipe (about at foot long) to be used as a handle, for hand holding the flash with swivel and umbrella attached.
This is the same reason I wanted to include a handle when designing the Multi Boom. The advantage here is you can make use of a second flash, instead of wasting extra weight holding an umbrella swivel attached. And also the flashes are nicely centered, making much better use of the full area of the umbrella.
I do also have a single flash mount for my own Multi Boom, and Phottix may hopefully also be making that available as an option.
A piece of pipe is a pretty simple alternative for single flash use, but the Multi Boom won’t make officials and customs etc as nervous either !
Another interesting item seen there in Zack’s kit is the IR Infrared flash trigger. Now that he is using the Fuji X100s mirrorless camera which has a leaf shutter, its possible to sync at much higher sync speeds. But radio triggers add a little delay, so a wired connection or optic signal is faster, and therefore allows higher shutter speeds. The IR flash trigger is a bit of a throw back in time, and basically what all the radio based triggers seen here are designed to improve upon, at least as far as reliability and line of sight restrictions go. But this is currently a wireless solution with the Fuji, and most manual flashes which have a basic optic slave built in (YN-560 II / III).
When the the IR trigger is not practical a wired connection is needed instead (if you want to retain the high sync speeds). And a simple and reliable way of achieving that is using a long TTL cord. TTL is not needed, but the TTL cord attaches directly to the camera hotshoe, and its much more solid and reliable than many fragile PC sync cords, So the TTL cords make a good alternative option.
Of course a lot of time even with the X100s, you may not need the higher sync speeds, so that why a YN-560 III with built in radio receiver is still a preferable option to have, as a simple RF-602 transmitter provides a reliable radio bases transmitter unit with 100m or so range.
Zack Arias Photography Q&A is available for $17.45 from Amazon.
This ones in my cart now. If you appreciate Zack’s work help him out with a review on Amazon.