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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Print of the week "Tattoo shadow" by vanishedtwin

The selected print of the week is available for purchase in many different mediums over at www.redbubble.com. Click on the photo and check out your ordering options.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flash Facts - Calculating manual flash

guide number = f/stop x flash to subject distance

flash to subject distance = guide number / f/stop

f/stop = guide number / flash to subject distance

These three equations are all that you need to know in order to manually calculate flash exposure.

For instance the LumoPro LP160 has a guide number of 140 @ ISO 100. So, if I place the flash 10 feet away from my subject the equation would look like this:

f/stop = 140(guide number) / 10 (flash to subject distance)

If you solve the equation you would set the aperture to f/14 to have the correct exposure.

You can plug in any two variables to get the correct flash exposures needed. Just keep in mind that these formulas are a good starting point. The end decision of exposure is up to you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flash metering

We had a great time shooting a wedding up at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood this past weekend for Chad and Sadie. This is the third time that I have shot a wedding at Timberline, and it is one of my favorite venues.

As with most location shoots there comes a time when your equipment seems to make a different decision than you do when you push the shutter. It happens to everyone at some point. The most important thing is how you react in that situation. My number one rule is: "Don't panic." I do not always adhere to the rule, but I have it none the less.

For me it has been the way I meter and control my flashes. I have just not been able to get the consistent results that I am looking for when I use a TTL system.

Over this past summer I found myself starting out with TTL via my Nikon SU800 and found it lacking consistency from frame to frame. Have I always had this problem? Nope, not really. In some cases it works out just fine when I am looking to simply brighten a scene, or when I am in close with a single subject and want to let the background be swallowed by shadows.

I find manual metering the best way to get exactly what I want when I want. In fact I have also started to use manual control when I have my flash mounted on camera. I set my distance and just have to keep it in mind when I am following subjects. Then it is a simple matter of making minor adjustments on the fly.

This past summer I have put my Nikon SB900 up against my LumoPro LP160 and found myself switching from the Nikon to the LumoPro on just about every shoot.

I have found that the interface on the LumoPro LP160 is easier to make quick adjustments on. Not that the SB900 has a terrible control layout, but I find that simpler controls are easier.

In the TTL vs. manual battle it looks like manual is the winner for me. One exception to all of this is Nikon's Auto FP High Speed Sync. That is a fantastic feature and there are many times that I would be lost without it. And that is why I will keep my Nikon flashes, but my day to day work horse is going to stay my LumoPro LP160.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Saturday, Sep 3, 2011
Begins at 5pm
Tryon Creek State Park, Portland, Oregon 97219


This workshop is an outdoor introduction to off camera flash. We will be running through the beginning basics of getting the flash off of the camera and then learning how to control it in different lighting scenarios such as the setting sun and outdoor locations.

This is a free workshop, but you need to register in order to attend. Please email info@vanishedtwin.com to register or for any questions.

This is going to be a hands on workshop, so you will need a camera, flash and a trigger.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Setting up the shot - High Key Ash

Camera - Konica Minolta 7D
Lens - Tamron 90mm f/2.8
Exposure - 1/45 @ f/2.8
Focal Length - 90mm

Lighting - Brand X strobe
Light Modifier(s) - 60" Westcott shoot through umbrella, and large diffusion panel.
Trigger - Pocketwizard

For this shot I set up a large diffuser for the background and placed a strobe behind it to blow out the background and also to give some back light through her hair.

For the key light I used another strobe shooting through a Westcott 60" shoot through umbrella.
With her looking down her hair fell forward a bit and i increased the power from the light behind her to let the back light eat up some of her hair.

I wanted to capture a high key image of Ashlee and the honesty in her expression.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I have been asked quite a few times who I use for my online print service, and the answer is Smugmug.

I have been with Smugmug since September 29, 2006. I actually received a one year pro account as a gift for a wedding I shot. At first I used a separate service to host my website, and then I would direct my clients to my Smugmug site.

Through the years I learned more and more about what Smugmug could do. The more I learned about the customizing options the more I loved to service.

Eventually I moved my main website into my Smugmug site and have been very happy with the services, and options. There were many stumbles along the way as I learned what I could and could not do with the new site, but once I figured out how to build HTML pages in Smugmug it was all aces from there.

Smugmug has three plans. Basic, Power and Pro. The services that are available are pretty fantastic. From basic sharing to custom photography products Smugmug is definitely worth a look.

You can give them a try for 30 days and see what I am talking about. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Behind the curtain...

Once upon a time I spent my days playing music, and little else. I have played in so many bands that I can't remember them all. When I look back on that part of my life there is one band that I remember clearly. That band was called godsend 50.

We played together for a couple of years, and they were some of the best years of my life. I will always look back on them with a bit of regret. Like most bands it ended poorly.

In 1995 I was in a car accident that damaged my back and neck. Like most immortal young people I did not listen to my doctors and tried my best to perform like nothing had happened. After a very short time my constant pain turned me into an asshole. The band was made up of three very strong personalities and my disposition from the accident did not help at all.

Needless to say we split up and that was that. After a long length of time we got back together to play some music for ourselves and that was that.

We all moved on in our lives. Some of us stayed involved in music, and some did not. I kept playing until music moved me out to the Pacific Northwest. A couple of bands later I landed my dream gig. I was signed to a label and all I did was play music all of the time. I woke up and went to my drum set every morning.

Music took me across our country, but it brought me back to Oregon and the beginnings of my family.

I traded my drum set for a stroller and started a family that would take some years to complete.

My past was packed up and I moved forward.

For years I thought that all of my old practice tapes from godsend 50 were lost in one of my many moves across the country.

Today I found them all, and the memories of those days came flooding back. So, Aaron and Nick I want to thank you for those days and those memories. One day I hope to go back to Minnesota and record the version of Elsa's Dream that I am listing to right now.

I think that we had some pretty great moments there, and I raise this drink to you two.

Monday, August 8, 2011

ExpoImaging Rogue light modifiers

The Rogue Honeycomb Grid and the Rogue FlashBenders are speedlight modifiers from ExpoImaging. The modifiers are light weight, small, and wonderfully flexible. Making room for them in your camera bag is very easy, and once you see what they can do you are definitely going to be able to clear out some space.

The Rogue Honeycomb Grid is a simple yet very effective four piece grid modifier for your speed lights. The set is comprised of the main housing bezel, two grids, and the grid strap. The Rogue Honeycomb Grid is designed to produce three different angels of light at 16, 25, and 45 degrees. The two grid pieces on their own produce the 25 and 45 angles, and when they are stacked together they produce a 16 degree angle of light. This modifier is very easy to use to control your light. Popping the grids in and out of the mount is a breeze.

The Rogue FlashBenders is a positionable light modifier that can be used many different ways and comes in both small and large sizes. You can shape the Rogue FlashBenders by simply bending them into the position that you want, and the three ribs in the Bender will keep it in position. You can used it as a bounce card, roll it into a snoot, or even use it as a flag. One of the most flexible light modifiers that I have ever used.

Mounting this line of modifiers onto your flash is incredibly easy with the use of the elastic band with hook and loop fasteners. There is also 2 snap points on the strap to adjust the length. The strap holds the modifiers rock solid in place and I have not had any trouble with them falling off or slipping out of alignment. In fact this is, in my opinion, the best on flash mounting system that I have used and I hope that there are plans for a stand alone hook and loop mounting strap in the near future.

I used a Flash Bender for the main light in this photo. To get the light as soft as possible I brought it as close to the model as I could.
With this set up the Flash Bender will give to lots of nice contrast, and with the fill light you can dial it in with as much shadow as you want.

The performance of these modifiers is absolutely fantastic! With a little room in your bag and these modifiers you get big lighting options. After shooting with the Rogue Honeycomb Grid and the Rogue Flash Bender for a few weeks now I have grown to love both their solubility and versatility.

In this shot I used the Rogue Flash Bender to camera right as the main light and then set up the Rogue Honeycomb Grid as a hair light from behind.

Here is the flash Bender as the main light with out any fill. I then added the Rogue Honeycomb Grid as an accent light and allowed it to flare into the lens as an added effect.

I have used the Rogue Honeycomb Grid, and Rogue FlashBenders both in studio and out on location. They work very well as both main lights and as accent lights. The material that they are made of is very durable, and I have no worries about them getting damaged in my bag or out on location.

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

This is a pretty straight forward shot. I mounted a LumoPro LP160 fitted with a Rogue Honeycomb Grid to a 10' stand and raised it to full height.

I chose this spot because there was a natural light hot spot in the foliage. I used that natural light for separation of the model from the background.

For this shot I used a LumoPro LP160 fitted with a Rogue Flash Bender to camera left for the main light. I opened up the Flash Bender to it's full height and with to use it as a bounce for the main light.

I have found that using the Rogue FlashBenders as your main, and then the Rogue Honeycomb Grid as an accent or separation light is a very versatile combination.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flash Facts - 0

Hey there kids, I am going to be starting a new ongoing series here on the Vanished Twin Blog. Can you guess what it is going to be called?

That's right Flash Facts is going to be all about your flash. Both on camera and off.

So, stay tuned for some fun and exciting tips and tricks and good old fashioned learning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Orbis Ringflash - First thoughts

When I first held the Orbis Ringflash I was surprised by how solid it felt. This is a fairly heavy duty flash modifier.

I tried it with a Nikon SB600, Nikon SB900 and a LumoPro LP160 and all of them fit and stayed put when I shot a few frames. Even though the three flash bodies vary quite a bit. It has a great mounting system.

So far the Orbis Ringflash is coming up aces in my book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lumopro LP160 – Hands on

The LumoPro LP160 is a very well put together manual flash unit in both build and design.

Right out of the box this flash unit is just about flawless. The build is fantastic and the connectivity is amazing. It has just about every option needed to slip into your kit with out any issues. It has five ways to trigger: First there is the conventional hot shoe, and then there are two built in slave options: S ( optical slave fires immediately ), and Si ( this setting ignores TTL pre-flash and fires with the metered flash ) Then there is one mini phone and one PC sync port to connect into.

It uses four 1.5v AA batteries for power, and has a cycle time of 0.3 to 10 seconds. The flash head rotates from 0 to 180 degrees to the right and 0 to 150 degrees to the left, and also pivots from -7 to 90 degrees.

On the back of the unit you have all of the controls. Both the zoom function and the power selection both use a light up display that is controlled by a single button underneath. Once you turn the flash on all you need to do is push the button and you will scroll through the power and zoom settings. Under the zoom and power buttons you will find from left to right the on / off switch, test / reset and slave selection switch.

On the left side of the LumoPro LP160 you will have your mini phone and PC sync ports. Then over on the right is the battery compartment.

The LumoPro LP160 also has front and back ready lights and auto power off after thirty minutes.

In the box is the flash unit itself, a small cold shoe stand, detachable wide angle diffuser, and a mini phone to PC sync cord.

There are seven power settings in the LP1690: 1/1 – ½ – ¼ – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64. At 1/1 power with the head zoomed all the way out to 105mm you will get 138 feet, and with the head at it's widest setting, with the dome diffuser, at 17mm you will get 46 feet. It is a nice and powerful flash.

The motorized zoom head also has seven positions: 24mm – 28mm – 35mm – 50mm – 70mm – 80mm – 105mm.

I am hard pressed to find any real fault in this flash unit. There are only two things that I would not mind being changed. The lock wheel could be a bit bigger. Not really a gripe, but if I had to change something it would be that. Also it would be great to be able to add an external battery pack to the unit. Like I said not really anything to complain about.

I have had this flash for a few weeks now, and I have been using it just about every time I have taken my camera out.

The first thing that I noticed about this flash is how easy it is to use. Now that might seem a bit obvious, but I also think that it is something that we all tend to forget. When you are out on location with a client and you need to make some adjustments you want to be able to make them quickly and efficiently. In fact there were many times that I left my Nikon SB-900 in my bag and brought out the LumoPro LP160.

With the multiple triggering options this flash unit has seamless integration into just about any flash set up.

If you are looking for another flash unit for your kit, and you do not need TTL then I recommend that you take some time and check out the LumoPro LP160.

A note on TTL verses manual flash.

When I first started to work with photography lighting I was working with large studio strobes. They were not very portable or flexible for the type of work I was doing. So I went to speed lights and entered the world of TTL control via Nikons Creative Lighting System.

The infrared control system was not always as consistent as I wanted it to be, and outside in the sun it was even worse. Now I am not dogging Nikons CLS. I love it, and I have learned so many thing with the Creative Lighting System from NIkon. Having the ability to change from TTL to manual, and even make adjustments to either mode wirelessly is fantastic, and in my work today it has its place just like any other tool.

Working with the LumoPro LP160 has rekindled my love for manual flash. There is a consistency when working with manual flash that you just do not get with wireless TTL. I know what the flash is going to do when I hit my shutter release, and once I have it dialed in, it stays dialed in. It is everything that I love about my studio lights, but in a very small body.

Like I said before the LumoPro LP160 is a fantastic manual flash that I cannot recommend enough. If you are ready to dive into manual flash then you should start with this flash unit.


Here are a couple of shots that I took when I was testing the LumoPro LP160

Camera - Nikon D300

Lens - Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8
Exposure - 1/60 @ f/4

Focal Length - 70mm

Lighting - LumoPro LP160
Modifier(s) - Rogue Flash Bender
Trigger - Cactus V5 Duo

Camera - Nikon D300
Lens - Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8
Exposure - 1/100 @ f/5.6
Focal Length - 46mm

Lighting - LumoPro LP160, and Nikon SB900
Light Modifier(s) - Rogue Flash Bender
Trigger - Cactus V5 Duo