I’m en route to Sao Paulo for the 2013 Estudio Brasil. On Friday afternoon, I’ll be giving a new presentation Speedlites: A Complete Studio In Your Bag. The event coincides with the release of both Speedliter’s Handbook and Lighting for Digital Photography in Portuguese. This is my first trip across the equator. Excitement abounds.
In an industry filled with hype and BS, Zack Arias rips down the velvet curtain and talks honesty about being a professional imagemaker in his outstanding Photography Q&A. If you hope to earn a paycheck with your camera, Photography Q&A is a must read.
I was hooked when I read Question 2…”Do you ever feel like a farce or a phony.” This is a bold question addressed to a guy with 50,000+ followers on Twitter and a worldwide audience of blog readers and workshop attendees. Zack’s honest reply “All the time. Every day.” is typical of the powerful content in Photography Q&A.
Zack talks openly about his journey with the craft and business of photography. He talks about his gear, his workflow, his marketing, his portfolio, and so much more. Zack talks candidly and honestly—as he always does.
The power of Photography Q&A is that Zack answers real questions from real shooters. Each of the 100+ questions in the book were submitted by shooters from around the globe to Zack’s Photography Q&A Tumblr.
Some of my other favorite questions include:
- What’s your philosophy about buying equipment? (page 31)
- How important do you think post-processing is to your success as a photographer? (page 48)
- Is it okay to compare yourself with other photographers or not? (page 129)
- How long did it take for you to feel confident enough in your work to sell it to others? (page 140)
- Is it better to take the underpriced jobs at a silly rate and have work coming in, or politely say thanks but no, and have nothing? (page 176)
- How to you carry your assorted big stuff? (page 182)
- How to you get potential clients to be actual paying clients? (page 256)
- Any advice for creating personal projects? (page 272)
The world is awash with images and photographers. Photography Q&A is a unique book in our over-supplied industry. Buy Photography Q&A. Read it. Then read it again.
The price gap between Canon’s flagship 600EX-RT Speedlite and the venerable 580EX II Speedlite has narrowed to a point where it makes no sense to purchase the 580EX II. If you are going to purchase a Canon Speedlite to use as a master flash, make sure that it is the 600EX-RT. If you are going to purchase your first Speedlite and you have the financial means, the 600EX-RT is also a great choice.
When I first published my 600EX-RT vs. 580EX II comparison eight months ago (here), the 600EX-RT was $100+ more than the 580EX II. Now, the gap has narrowed to $10 and the choice becomes a no-brainer.
Why The 600EX-RT Is Now A No-Brainer
- 600EX-RT has a larger LCD. The display on the 600EX-RT is 35% larger than the 580EX II. The letters are larger. The icons are more detailed. If you are new to Speedliting, the 600EX-RT is much easier to read and understand.
- 600EX-RT has better buttons. As shown below, the four function buttons underneath the LCD change their functions based on the mode of the Speedlite. The labels on the LCD change accordingly. Also, the Mode button has been separated from the function buttons and made larger. And…(loud applause!) a dedicated button has been added on the left shoulder to activate the wireless system.
- 600EX-RT is fully backwards compatible with 500- and 400-series EX Speedlites. When activated in optical wireless, the 600EX-RT is essentially a 580EX II with a much improved user interface. In optical wireless, the 600EX-RT can be used as either a master or slave with 500- and 400-series EX Speedlites. It can also be controlled as an optical slave via the pop-up flashes on the 60D, Rebels T3i, T4i, T5i, and the SL1.
- 600EX-RT has radio wireless. This greatly simplifies the communication between master and slave 600EX-RT Speedlites. The signal can go through walls, the sides of softboxes, etc. [Note: it is NOT possible to use a 600EX-RT in radio AND optical wireless at the same time. The 600EX-RT is activated in either radio OR optical wireless.]
- 600EX-RT can change the color of the LCD backlight to green or orange. As shown above, I have the backlight color set to orange when the Speedlite is a slave (either radio or optical). As shown below, the backlight is set green when the Speedlite is a master. This small feature is a huge help when setting up wireless Speedlites in dim ambient light.
Weird Pricing In The Market For 580EX II
There’s no doubt that the 580EX II is close to the end of its market cycle. For the past several weeks, B&H Photo has listed it as a Discontinued Item. Although, yesterday I checked again and found that it is back in stock at B&H for $489. Equally weird is that Amazon lists the 580EX II for $619—a full $120 more than the cost of the 600EX-RT. As I said above, deciding today between the 600EX-RT and the 580EX II is a no brainer.
Current Pricing & Availability
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SUMMER SPEEDLIGHT WORKSHOPS—I have two extended workshops on Speedliting this summer. I’ll teach Crafting Dramatic Light With Small Flashes in Santa Fe, June 26-29. I’ll teach Canon Speedlites Demystified in Maine, August 4-10.
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops has added a new series of two-day workshops to their summer schedule and shifted their long-format workshops to a Wednesday-Saturday schedule. This means that you can now take a long-format workshop and a two-day intensive workshop just before or after. Heck, you could even pair two intensives before and after a long-format workshop and still have Sunday off to explore Santa Fe. You’d also save a bit on airfare because you now have a Saturday night stay in your trip.
There are several great intensives scheduled for the Monday-Tuesday before my June 26-29 Crafting Dramatic Light with Small Flashes workshop. (Info about my small flash workshop here.) These include:
- Lightroom: Organizing and Enhancing Your Images—Rick Allred
- Lightroom: The Develop Module—Michael Clark
- Intro to Black-and-White Photography—Jennifer Spelman
- One-Light Portraits—David Robin
A guest blog for PixSylated by Peter Read Miller, Canon Explorer of Light
Last summer, while on assignment for Sports Illustrated at the London Olympics, I was one of the lucky handful of photographers who were given a pre-production version of Canon’s EF 200-400mm f4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender to shoot during the games.
I used the lens almost every day and had photos published in both the print and online versions of Sports Illustrated —as well as in SI’s super cool “Live from London” iPad app.
Given the logistical challenges presented during the London Olympics, the 200-400mm was a godsend. Most days, I averaged one to two hours on busses and trains getting around the Olympics. One day, I did ten busses, plus the train, just to cover four events.
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
I’ll head out early Monday morning for the first leg of my five-week Speedliter’s Intensive tour. First up are Austin, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles/Long Beach. Then I’ll make a quick dash home for Mother’s Day. Busy first week.
Also on the line-up are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, NYC, St Louis, Salt Lake City, SF Bay Area, and Washington DC.
The Intensive is a one-day crash course on my approach to flash photography. To see the details, the calendar, and a promo code that saves $25, click here.
It’s hard to believe…after waiting nine months, but we leave tomorrow for Havana. “We” are two groups of photographers organized by Santa Fe Workshops. I’m the leader for one group. Zack Arias is the commandante for the other group.
This is not a typical workshop. Rather, it’s a people-to-people exchange in which we will spend time with Cubans, learning about their lives and their culture. Along the way, we’ll make many great photographs and spend time with Cuban photographers. It’s going to be a memorable week!
If you’re interested in joining me on a future trip to Cuba, you can read about the current Cuba trip on this PDF. To get on the mailing list for announcements about my next trip, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve had a crazy schedule of late. Spent last week in Denver with Peter Read Miller at his sports photography workshop. Havana will be a warm reprise from the crazy cold weather that hit Colorado last week.
I hope to post some pix while in Cuba…if I can find access to the internet. Might be harder to find the time, given that we have a full schedule for the week. Adios!
Controlling Canon Speedlites as Slaves
• Part One: 600EX-RT as Radio Slave
• Part Two: Fundamentals of Optical Wireless (this part)
• Part Three: Setting Up Speedlites as Optical Slaves (coming)
[Note: In this series, I am writing about the master/slave system built into Canon Speedlites. There is another type of optical slave that is common in studio lighting. It fires the strobe when it senses a flash of bright light, but all changes to power, sync, etc. must be made manually on the unit.]
The Difference Between Canon Radio and Optical Slaves
Canon offers two ways for Speedlites to communicate—radio and optical wireless. Radio has the advantage of working over longer distances and the ability to communicate through opaque surfaces, like walls and softboxes. Radio wireless was introduced about a year ago with the launch of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and ST-E3-RT Transmitter.
Optical wireless must have a line-of-sight connection between the master and slave—although the master’s signal can bounce around objects and corners if the walls/ceiling are a light color. I once put a slave Speedlite in a shower stall knowing that I could bounce the master’s signal off of the bathroom mirror. Optical wireless works up to about 40′/13m. It cannot go through opaque surfaces–but is happy to fly through windows, which allows you to control slaves outside the room. Optical wireless will also go through translucent fabrics—like shoot-through umbrellas to control slave Speedlites nearby.
Canon’s optical wireless system is robust and reliable—even outdoors in noon sun. The key is to know how to set up the slaves so that they can see the master—which I will cover in a bit.
Speedliter, Know Thy Optical Master
The 600- and 500-series EX Speedlites can be optical masters (as can the macro ring and twin lights). The advantages of using a Speedlite as an optical master (over a pop-up flash as master) include:
- the Speedlite has greater range
- the Speedlite head can be tilted/panned directly at a slave
- the Speedlite can be used as an off-camera master (detailed at the end of this article)
I’ll be hitting 15 cities this spring on my 2013 Speedliter’s Intensive tour. Through the end of March, you can save $25 by buying an early bird ticket ($50 off the Chicago 2-day event). Spend a day with me learning how to create great light with small flash.
Speedliter’s Intensive Spring 2013 Cities / Dates
- Austin—Tue. May 7 (details / register)
- Minneapolis—Wed. May 9 (details / register)
- LA/Orange County—Sat. May 11 (details / register)
- St. Louis—Wed. May 15 (details / register)
- Boston—Fri. May 17 (details / register)
- Washington, DC —Sun. May 19 (details / register)
- Detroit—Tue. May 21 (details / register)
- Chicago—Thu. May 23 (details / register)
- Chicago (hands-on, small group)—Fri. May 24 (details / register)
- Atlanta—Wed. May 29 (details / register)
- Hartford—Sat. June 1 (details / register)
- New York City—Sun. June 2 (details / register)
- Columbus—Tue. June 4 (details / register)
- Salt Lake City—Tue. June 11 (details / register)
- Denver—Thu. June 13 (details / register)
- San Francisco/San Jose—Sat. June 15 (details / register)
Random Bytes 130318 is a quick collection of great posts and resources that have come my way over the past couple of weeks. Thanks to all who have written to say how much they appreciate this new feature on PixSylated!
Timelapse: an Introduction to Still Photographs in Motion—this beautiful eBook by Dave Delnea was published today by Craft & Vision. It covers the basics of getting started with timelapse photography, including: gear, techniques, and post-production. For $5.00, it’s a bargain! Click here to check out the details Use the promotional code TIME4 when you check out and pay only $4 OR use the code TIME20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ eBooks. (NOTE: These codes expire at 11:59pm (PST) March 22, 2013.)
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