I thought it was well past time that I did some more explanation of how to use the new features in DIYPhotobits.com Camera Control 2.1.
Turns out my video skills need a bit of work though as I ended up putting together a 10 minute video, the YouTube limit, and only covered half the features. Still, I hope this is helpful both to see what sort of thing the script is useful for — in this case I’m covering self-portrait balancing flash vs ambient ala Strobist.
(Click through and view the high quality version if you want to read the text!)
Pop-up flash on the D300 is the trigger for the flashes
Long USB cable, plus a USB extender cable
I cover the use of the remote shutter release, combined with shutter, aperture and ISO controls to take and download images as well as using Bridge to view them.
What I ran out of time to do before the YouTube 10 minute limit was tethered shooting from the camera, and external viewer push. Perhaps I’ll try to do another short video covering those, but I do really want to work on the next features!
While doing this demo I also noted some odd slowness of the script in some situations, particularly M vs P mode that I’m unable to explain at the moment, so will spend some time to investigate that and hopefully speed the whole thing up.
If you follow any of the smalllightshooters or “strobism” in general as I do then you’ll have come across the “Justin Clamp” quite a few times in passing. If not, then lets just say it is an ugly beast that provides several useful ways to attach something to something else — typically a hotshoe flash to a pole, shelf, tripod leg or probably someone’s nose if they stay still long enough.
It comes with a cold shoe but it may be a bit tight for the SB-900, but works fine with an SB-800. Now I haven’t got a 900 but presume that like a SB800 it comes with it’s own cold foot or stand – the AS-19 which is a often ignored but very useful piece of kit.
This gives me a simple option to DIY a replacement for a Justin Clamp, for cheap. A Bulldog clip from a stationary store, bolt and a couple of nuts and I have this.
Shown here clamping onto a bookcase with flannel to get a good grip without scratching the wood.
Finally, if you want a real Justin Clamp – which is better but more expensive than a DIY version then you can always buy one from B&H. They are $56.95 but like any Bogen stuff will probably last your whole lifetime!
It does work fine — compare the first two images below — the first with the grid spot on, and the second without and the SB-800 just zoomed to max 105mm. But when folded down it literally fits in my wallet – though in practice I keep it in the little slip case that houses the flash, so whereever I have a flash I have a grid spot as well.
Again, images for us visual folks — and I’ll try to do some writen instructions soon as there is a trick to making that paper matrix easily. Double sided tape!
Why a bamboo light stand? Well if you are a reader of Strobist
then you know that lightstands are very handy — if not read here first. Of course a factory built one is simple and probably the best option
, but it isn’t exactly cheap. Particularly if you want more than one — and you will, you’ll want several. There’s your main light, then fill, then hair and rim lights, and what about some reflectors and… you get the picture. Just try not to over-do the whole speedlight thing, heh?
Now one good solution to keep Strobist from hurting your wallet is the Stick in a Can, click that link and watch the video if that name doesn’t mean anything to you, but good/cheap and DIY as that is it isn’t great for portability. I mean how many cans full of concrete can you carry about – even in the back of your car?
So here is my solution to the problem — which makes sense for me because were I live bamboo is cheap cheap cheap. This light stand uses three 6 foot pieces of bambo, some brass bolts and a piece of string. The bolts and string cost me more than the bamboo.
If you live somewhere where bamboo is an exotic import and costs a fortune, well then this post is of only academic interest. Though flip through the pictures and maybe consider doing the same out of PVC tubing? I understand that’s pretty cheap — using PVC tubing for photo stands is not new of course. But that’s another topic.
As we are visual types I’ll start with a slide show that shows what the stand looks like and how it’s used. And I’ll follow up with some more details in another post.