About a month or so ago I finally purchased a softbox for my speed light. I have several modifiers for my speed lights but it took me forever to decide on a softbox as I wanted something full-featured, easy to use, and fairly large. I finally settled on this Fotodiox F60 Quick-Collapse 24” Hexagon Softbox. Now I can’t judge on how this will hold up over time as I haven’t had it long, there are mixed reviews on that. It’s in the mid-price range and seems well built for the price, it does have several plastic parts that may or may not hold up well over time. But what I like about it so far is that it’s adjustable, I can angle it up, down, wherever I need it. A lot of them don’t have this feature for some reason. It’s super easy to set up and take down. I don’t have to fight with it like traditional softboxes. It’s also adjustable for a variety of speed light sizes, see image below, and has the ability to fully insert the head of the speed light so there is very minimal light leakage.
Finally the light is quite lovely (see test image below), it has an inner baffle (diffusion panel) like traditional softboxes. Another thing missing from many of these types of softboxes. I like the softness it adds but it is another thing between your subject and the light so you will have a little light loss with that. I don’t find that a problem, I think I was only at about 1/8 power on the test image below, with a reflector underneath.
Vermillion, gold, honey, and rust, beautiful rich color, autumn. My artist’s mind fills with these colors as the leaves start to change. I could lay for an hour under the trees enamored with the shades of oranges and yellows, until our dogs come to pounce on me and lick my face. The many colors and shapes of leaves inspired me more than once this fall to create some interesting imagery. Honey and amber my colors of choice for one such photograph. Gold paint, mixing my long loved art background with photography and nature.
My thought started originally with dipping a flower in paint, kind of like a chocolate dipped ice cream cone, and taking photos while the paint dripped down. Eden helped me with the dipping. She seemed about as excited about the idea as me, an energy boosting my own as we worked to get a cool shot. Though the image we captured was interesting, I didn’t have a “Yes!!” moment of now that’s really awesome. I kept ruminating on the idea, as I thought it had potential. Now this wasn’t a bam lightbulb moment, but as I was looking at the hundreds of paint choices, thinking that gold paint might work with the yellow flowers I still had left over from the first time, I had a little thought that maybe a leaf would work with this paint. This being the middle of November at the time my hopes of finding a pretty leaf were slim but I picked up a couple that I thought could work. Sometimes it’s the idea that comes after your original idea, the one that’s hard to let go of, that leads to something much more beautiful. So I went ahead with my first idea, again dipping the flower in paint, and not quite loving it. Then picking a browned, little curling leaf to make an attempt. My heart sang, a swirl in the gold like a little undulating river, beautiful light, just enough curl to the leaf to make it interesting.
On the first day of 2016 I spent the day photographing two of my favorite little girls. Over the course of the week I was talking with Michelle, my best friend and the girls mom, about what we wanted to do with this shoot. I’m lucky enough that she lets me do just about anything I want and to try out new ideas on her family. Two days before the shoot I was thinking about blanket forts and imagination, how children don’t let anything inhibit that. So I started looking online for tent tutorials and found a great one here: http://justanotherhangup.blogspot.ca/2013/09/childs-play-tent-tutorial.html?m=1 Fortunately, my cousin is handy with tools and I can sew, so in a day he put the frame together for me and I dug into my stash of fabric and made the outer fabric part. The kids loved it and I can’t wait to try it this spring outdoors.
Happy 2016!! At the end of each year I like to make a list of my favorite memories and my hopes for the coming year. I love looking back through all my photos during the past year. I smile so much when I do this. Favorite memories:
1. Moving in with Trevyn
2. Trip to Door County
3. Joey’s Wedding and being with my family
4. Boating with Dad
5. Seeing comedian Gabriel Iglesias
6. Usually I do 5 memories, but I had to add getting my own Mac
2016 will be starting in a couple short days and I have mixed emotions about it. This year has been happy and sad, filled with good ideas and unfortunate choices. My hope for this year is to learn from my mistakes and to focus on the good. To remember who I am as a person and what is important to me, that I’m good at what I do, to have confidence and find a place that fits me. I bought a new calendar for 2016 the other day and on the first page before January is an image of a camera and written next to it is “Follow your Art” below that the title of the calendar “Today is day one”. Since moving a few months ago I’ve been afraid that I won’t be able to change what I’m doing, that I’m not going where I need to go to grow as a person and an artist. I know there is going to be bad days amongst the good, but I hope this year holds more good than bad. This image I made about a week ago, I had a teacher who believed that hands show a lot of a person’s personality and I’ve taken that to heart in much of my own work. It seems an appropriate image to start the new year, full of whimsy, a little humor and perhaps some hope too.