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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Orbis out and about.

I had a fun shoot with Mary J. today, and we came up with something a bit different for me.

I took an Orbis Ringflash out with us today and I ended up using it more as an off axis light than as an on axis one.

To power the ringflash I used a LumoPro LP160 and they work very well together.

The light is very versatile, and I am excited to see how many different ways I can use it.

Orbis Ringflash

I am so excited to put some miles on this Orbis Ringflash
. Looking forward to seeing how this does out in the field. Should have a review posted in a couple of weeks!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Setting up the Shot - Micaela Couture

Micaela Couture

This shot is a simple one light portrait done in studio utilizing Nikon's CLS system.

For my key light I placed a Nikon SB-900 in a 28" Westcott Apollo
softbox overhead and feathered it onto Micaela's to bring out just enough of her from the shadows. I used a Nikon SU-800 for the commander onto of my Nikon D300.

With the use Nikon's CLS system I was able to get the shutter speed up to 1/5000 of a second to take the background into complete shadow. This shot is a great example of why I love Nikon's creative lighting system. Being able to get shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000th of a second opens up so many possibilities for creative lighting.

Camera - Nikon D300
Lens - Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8
Exposure - 1/5000 @ f/2.8
Focal Length - 38mm

Lighting - Nikon SB-900
Light Modifier(s) - 28" Westcott Apollo

Trigger - Nikon SU-800

Monday, July 25, 2011

Great shoot yesterday

I went out for some location shooting earlier today, and had a blast. I put some miles on the Rogue Honeycomb Grid, and Rogue FlashBenders along with my LumoPro LP160 Manual Flash.

Some great tools that did not let me down!

For this shot above I used my Rogue FlashBender on the LumoPro LP160 to camera right, and feathered the light toward the model.

Camera - Nikon D300
Lens - Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8
Exposure - 1/100 @ f/5.6
Focal Length - 28mm

Lighting - LumoPro LP160
Light Modifier(s) - Rogue FlashBender
Trigger - Cactus V5

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cactus V5 Duo Review

I have to say that the Cactus V5 are some pretty sexy transceivers. I am a big fan of how they look and feel.

Portland Photographer Jayesunn Krump

The Cactus V5 transceivers work on the 2.4GHz radio frequency and have up to 16 selectable channels. They have a max sync speed of 1/1000s, depending on your camera's max sync speed, and have a maximum working distance of 100 meters. They are pretty light and take AAA batteries. The units shipped with two table top stands for the transceivers, one 3.5mm cable, one PC sync cable, one 6.35mm plug adapter, batteries for both transceivers, a copy of “When light dances”, and the manual.

Portland Photographer Jayesunn Krump

The layout of the Cactus V5 is very intuitive. On the top of the unit you have the test button next to the status LED along with the female hot shoe. On the left side you have the X-sync port and the mode switch that you power the unit on and off with and also use to change between transmitter and receiver. On the other side you have the channel dial and can choose any one of 16 channels to work on. On the underside of the unit there is a standard tripod mount, hot shoe, and lock to secure the transceiver to the cameras hot shoe.

Cactus V5 transceivers do not transmit TTL information nor are they backward compatible with older Cactus units. They do have a pass through signal via the top mount hot shoe, so you can piggy back other units on top.

Portland Photographer Jayesunn Krump

With an optional shutter release cable you can use the Cactus V5's as a remote shutter release. All you need to do is connect one transceiver to the top of the camera and hook up the shutter release cable to the camera and the hot shoe mounted transceiver. Place the camera mounted unit to “Receiver” mode. Set the second off camera transceiver unit to “Transmitter” mode. When you push the button down half way down the camera will auto focus and then when you push the button down the rest of the way the shutter will release and take the picture.

The top mounted LED provides a lot of very helpful information. Green lights on good power and shutter release, Orange when you half press to auto focus, red on the transmitter when you have a low battery there and the LED will flash red when you have a low battery on the receiver. There is also a trouble shooting menu in the instruction manual that will use the LED display to help figure out what is wrong.

You can also use multi-channel triggering on these units, but I just don't ever use this option. For more information on that you can see your instruction manual.

Portland Photographer Jayesunn Krump

The Cactus V5 units are light, but not flimsy feeling. When they are mounted on camera they lock down very well and stay that way even when you mount a flash on top of the unit. I will often mount my Lumopro LP160 on top of the camera mounted transceiver and I do not worry about it coming off.

These units have been nothing but reliable. There was a small amount of the Cactus V5s that had a problem with Nikon cameras and flashes, but Gadget infinity made this problem known and will ship out replacement parts to fix this issue.

As I mentioned before the design is fantastic. Very well done and nice and sleek. However, I do have a few issues with the Cactus V5 transceivers. The first issue is that the transceivers do not have a hole for the lock down pin on Nikon flashes to fit into, and as a result on two different occasions my flash unit has fallen off from the transceivers.

Portland Photographer Jayesunn Krump

They use AAA batteries, but there is more than enough room inside of the transceivers to accommodate AA batteries. If I can figure out a way to modify them to take AA batteries I totally will.

The only other issue that I have with these units is the lock down wheel, and it is just a very minor gripe. The wheel could be just a bit bigger. I find it just a bit awkward from time to time loosening the lock down wheel.

All in all if those are the only pseudo complaints that I have about the Cactus V5s then they are doing a great job. If you are looking for some very reliable triggers that are reasonably priced then you should give the Cactus V5 a very good look. At only about $60 for a set it is well worth it to pick up a set and give them a spin.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Portland Photographer

My stickers have arrived! Moo.com is awesome!

I use them for my business cards as well and they do a fantastic job. If you need something printed give them a look.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Down Shifting Your Gear

In photography it is very easy to get wrapped up in the technological side of the business. As I have been doing more product reviews I have been finding myself guilty of turning into a gear-head. I have found a whole bunch a great equipment out there. I love to talk about it and I love to take it out on shoots. However, at some point it turns into not being about the photos anymore and all about what you used to get that photo.

Portland Photographer

When I see myself starting down that path I open up my camera bag and take a mental inventory of what it contains. I then ask myself if everything in there is necessary. For the most part it is, especially when I am going out on a client shoot. I love having as many options as possible then. For me, though, every now and again I like to just strip it all down and go out and make some pictures. Camera body and a 50mm f/1.8 lens and I am set. I find that heading out with just the basic kit helps change your perspective on shooting and all of the gear that you use in general. Keeping it simple is more often than not the best way to go in order to grow as an artist. It is not about quantity, but quality. Every piece of gear in your kit should be there because it is the best option for your needs.

So the next time you head out to work on some personal projects try using the bare bone basics and see what you can do. Exercise your mind and ability, not just your bag of tricks. Not only will you become a better photographer, you will be that much prouder of your outcome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Portland Photographer

The Vanished Twin family would like to offer our congratulations to our friends the Bobbies on the beginning of the rest of their lives together!

We are so happy for the two of you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mixing it up – Oh aperture ring how I love you!

Every now and again it is a good idea to try something new, or in this case, something old. I shoot Nikon and when I first started using their gear I looked down at the aperture ring and thought who the hell would use this, and why do they still put them on?

Portland Photographer

Whats funny is that I love to shoot with old manual cameras and lenses. I have a few different adapters I use in order to put the older lenses onto my Nikon bodies. Then after all of this time the thought finally came to me to give the aperture ring on my new lenses a shot. When I turned the option on in camera I fell right into step with it. As a matter of fact, it felt far more natural to me to use the ring to adjust the aperture than it does to use the sub command dial.

Portland Photographer

Now this super feature is not available in all Nikon bodies. Grab your manual and check out the custom functions and see if this is an option for you. If it is, give it a try!

Now go on out and take some pictures!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

From the Vanished Twin Family.

There are going to be some new features on the Vanished Twin Blogs! We have a ton of product reviews coming up this summer, along with a few new features like: Tips and Tricks, Shooting Set Ups, guest bloggers, and a question and answer section.

With the new question and answer feature you can send your questions to: info@vanishedtwin.com or use the Contact page at www.vanishedtwin.com and we will get to them ASAP.