When I got there I noticed an all too familiar phenomenon at smaller venues: the absence of stage lighting. The place itself has fantastic ambiance, however the stage has next to none. I looked around to see if there were any lighting options, but I found none. As I sat there thinking about cranking up my cameras ISO to 3200 and seeing what I could get from it, I had an idea. I went to the band and asked if they had any problems with me adding a bit of light into their show. The told me that I could have at it, so I did.
I was very happy that I brought my full kit with three flashes and my new Lumiquest FX and FXtra gels packs. This was going to be fun. I have had these for a few days and I was looking for the perfect place to give them a run.. This was definitely it. The Fx is a gel holder for your flash. It comes with five colored gels that you simply slid into the holder when it is placed onto your flash.
The Fxtra is a smaller version of the FX, and it comes with a few more color correcting gels. Both of these products are small and can easily fit into any kit along with a couple UltrStraps to mount them onto your flashes.
I set up two of my flashes on stage flanking the drummers kick drum, facing up and out at a 45 degree angle from the stage. I could get some serious silhouettes from the band this way. One flash was a Nikon sb900 that I had the FX on with a green gel, and the other was a Nikon sb600 with the FXtra on it with a blue gel. I then set up one of my favorite new stands, the Linco 8308 Compact Light Stand. I mounted a Nikon sb600 with an omni bounce on top and put the stand to its full 8' height without any gel.
Now came the hard part: controlling the flashes from a balcony above and to the right of the stage. It was a great location to get shots from, but it made it tricky for changing the output of the flashes. I turned to the Nikon su800 for triggering and control, and I am so happy that I did. There were a few times that the IR signal could not bounce around the walls with enough power to still make it to the flashes. This would have been the perfect place for some Radiopoppers. In the end, the Nikon su800 and the Lumiquest FX and FXtra along with their Ultra Straps work together fantastically.
The Lumiquest FX, FXtra and the UltraStrap have found permanent homes in my camera bag. If you have not checked them out you really should.