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Review – Flashpoint Junior Steel Wheeled Stand – 12′

UPDATE: February 18 2017

Today I ran an eight hour studio session for a client’s upcoming season brochure. I was able to use the Flashpoint Junior Steel Wheeled Stand – 12′ for an entire day. I should explain that this day involved shooting seven different scenes with different talent for each, so moving lights around was constant. I will simply say that the stand performed FLAWLESSLY and I will not hesitate to purchase another and another. The wheels are incredible and roll over extension cords with ease. Granted none of my strobes use cords, but my smoke/haze machines/wind machines do! These stands are highly recommended for its performance and value. Be forewarned these are not sissy stands, they’re heavy and beefy, use them in studio only!

That’s a 59″ Zeppelin to give you some perspective of the size of the stand. The footprint of the stand is great! Large and stable.

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Sparking an Idea

Jenny Morris

In December 2016 I was searching for a portable printer and discovered on Amazon a small printer called the PickIt. What attracted me beyond its size was that it used dye sublimation rather than ink jets to produce the image. In my former life I used dye sub to print marketing materials so I was impressed that such a small unit used the same technology.

On December 2, 2016 tragedy struck not only the Bay Area, but my family when the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland claimed the life of 36 young adults. One of them was Jenny Morris who just turned 21 and was the former girlfriend of my son. Jenny and my son dated for about 18 months, but had ended their relationship almost a year prior to the tragic fire. In many ways I feel blessed that my son did not perish in that fire. Had he and Jenny still been a couple I’m positive he would have been at the event and perished along with the other young adults.

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Review Godox/Wistro AD600BM Strobe

UPDATE January 21 2017

Time sure does fly by. In my world January is like December for retailers. It’s easily my most jam packed month. I actually ran into Chase (Jarvis) as we were both flying from SFO to SEA. Anyway I wanted to update this page to inform everyone that the XPLOR 600 line along with their Flashpoint Portable 600ws Extension FlashHead continue to perform flawlessly both in studio and on location. (you can view my most recent on location session, Tango in the Mohave here.) Although I won’t be able to show my most recent client work for a few months due to NDAs I can say that in two days of studio work I never ran out of battery power. I charged the units each night after the day’s sessions. I am using the XT32 transmitter which I prefer over the X1 series. I find the controls more intuitive and I’m not a TTL user which is the only operational difference between the two.

For all of my client studio work I’ve been using the XT32 and Xplor line of strobes with my Pentax 645Z. Even though it only has a max sync speed of 1/125th the stopping power of the Xplor 600’s t:1 performance is enough to stop dance movement. Someone mentioned the Cactus v6II trigger allows the Pentax line to us HSS up to the max of the camera’s shutter speed, but I have yet to try it.

My wardrobe gal allows me to utilize her for a light test using the Xplor 600 with the Cononmark modifier. Pentax 645Z

Day 1’s set up.

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My Reasons for Leaving Facebook

Back in mid-October 2016 just before the Presidential election the mood of Facebook along with the country took an ugly turn. People overtly and covertly began to show bigotry toward me as well as others. For me Facebook has never been a vehicle for real change, although there are some things like helping individuals that work through social media. I found that Facebook made me ‘feel’ as if I ‘may’ be doing ‘something’ but in reality it was just masturbation. The good of keeping ‘in touch’ with people who had moved away or people I had not seen in many years was a positive part of the social media giant, but for me nothing of substance was there. It was a time burner. In May I had a stroke after my mother died in April and when the doctor told me to quit smoking or I’d risk a stroke that could leave me paralyzed on one side of my body. So I quit…cold turkey. Had she said that I would die if I had another stroke, well I would have gladly kept smoking. The thought of being dependent on anyone, most of all my children or my partner was enough to convince me to quit. Even though I LOVED SMOKING. The positive result of my stroke is I found so many things trivial. I had found pettiness and trivial people and attitudes poor in the past but the stroke sharpened my keen sense of what is important to a new level.

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Hotel Travel Review – Avila la Fonda

I have decided to add a small travel review section to my blog. I travel extensively for client work and sometimes find hidden nuggets on my journeys. I should say that when I was ‘a suit’ in the corporate world I was able to travel well, first class air travel (prior to 9/11 and when airlines served real food), hotels like The Plaza in NYC, the Hay Adams in Washington DC, the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City, the list goes on and on. I listed some of the places I’ve stayed not to brag, but to give some reference to my point of reference. Staying on an expense account is very different than paying on my own dime.

The hotel all dolled up for the Holidays

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Living Eulogy – Christy Martin

Throughout my life other men I’ve known often talk about “The Unicorn” which in my circles means a woman who like the mythical horned creature exists only in fantasy. Too good to be true, too wonderful for reality yet an entity we all wish and hope is true.

Goofing off at Graffiti Town in Dallas, TX between shots

Three years ago I was hired by a ballet company in Dallas, TX to create some promotional imagery for their troupe. It was at that time I met Christy. A bubbly positive young lady who like her fellow dancers is incredibly athletic and talented. I’m fortunate to meet so many talented artists and at first Christy fell right into that category to which I’ve become so accustomed. And believe me, I know I live a charmed and blessed life.

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Flashpoint Portable Extension Head 1200 Ws

UPDATE: November 21 2016

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I shot with the 1200ws head during an on location tango shoot in the Mohave desert. The unit performed flawlessly and gave me the ability to do things that would have been difficult or impossible with only a 600ws head. The innovation and flexibility Godox/XPLOR offers photographers is excellent.

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This is how the scene appears in its natural light state. You can see my two XPLOR 600ws units installed with the 1200 Flashpoint head. The modifier is a PCB Omni reflector modified to accept a Bowens mount.

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Oakland School of the Arts – Dance Emphasis 2016

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Each year I photograph the dance department at the Oakland School of the Arts, or OSA as most of the students lovingly call it. Their Dance Emphasis department is headed by Reginald Ray-Savage along with Alison Hurley. Equipment used: 2 Adorama Xplor 600, Godox AD600, 2 H600 remote heads, 1 CononMark 120cm inverted octa bank, 1 PCB Omni reflector, 1 Bowens Maxlite reflector, Canon 1DX Mark II.

Godox XT32C Test

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I had watched an excellent video review by Shoms Photography about the Godox XT32C trigger.  Two primary reasons prompted me to purchase and try the trigger. First and foremost he mentioned that his favorite trigger is the PCB CyberCommander and to date I too have yet to find a better transmitter. Now IF YOU plan on trying to argue with me ‘to be right’ like a forum troll, don’t bother. I’ve used transmitters from almost every major player and in six years of using strobes professionally I have yet to find a better transmitter for my purposes – period. The second reason is my first Godox transmitter was their FT16 which in my usage was a bullet proof and very reliable and simple transmitter. I felt that the new XT32 seemed to be the same in terms of simplicity compared to the X1 units I’ve been using for HSS and Second Curtain Sync. The XT32 is not ETTL capable, but I’m not a TTL user, so no big deal.

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From Suit to Shooter

I started as a suit, a corporate climber, chaser of money, hopeful head of a corporation. Two kids later with college looming I got stuck in my own golden handcuffs as COO for a Fortune 100 company. The kids grew as did the tuition and careers as industries changed for me. But I always remembered the days in high school where I took portraits of young women to meet young women and the tactile feeling and smell of developing my own photos remained hypnotic. And then one day after the kids had graduated I was called into my bosses’ office and told “My position had been eliminated.” So at 50 I decided that there was no way I was going to interview with 30somethings and be asked “What is your five year plan?” Answering “Fuck You” would not be conducive to getting a job, so I opted to man up and begin my career as a pro photographer for the arts.

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AD600 (XPLOR 600 HSS TTL) vs. H600 (CL600-X) range difference?

About the only online forum I check with regularly is on Flashhavoc.com. Why? Because the members there are civil and interested in helping one another unlike 99% of the other forums where most of them are trolls and ‘have to be right.’ One of the members, Randell John asked a question of the membership inquiring if anyone was experiencing misfires using the Flashpoint Portable Extension Head 600 versus the AD600. (Please note that throughout this review I use AD600 or H600 as a generic term. Currently Cheetahstand and Adorama are the only US retailers who carry the AD600/H600, but under their own brand names. And as of this writing Adorama is the only US retailer to carry a TTL version.)  I had just completed an on location ballet shoot and could not recall having issues. So I called my son to see if he recalled any issues and the reality is the only time we used the H600 was during our last session at the ocean. I did recall that the strobe failed to fire, but only a few times. So I decided to conduct my own test to see if there is indeed a difference. I depend on excellent radio to strobe signal and plan to use the remote heads and Xplor/AD600 units for an upcoming studio dance shoot next week. So being confident in the gear is paramount.

All of the testing was done indoors at 45 feet from camera to strobe with complete line of sight from camera trigger to strobe. Camera used was a Canon 1DX Mark II. A Godox X1C trigger was used for all H/AD600 lights. A PCB CyberSync trigger and CSXCV transceiver used on the Einstein. So I could do other things like watch TV I used my intervalometer to trigger the camera. Although I had it set for 199 frames in some instances it took less than that with the lowest count being 180. Below from low to high are my results:

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As you can see the Einsteins fired 100% of the time in this test with the CL-600X (Cheetahstand’s unit) having the most failures to fire. The Consecutive No Fires is the most troubling. It means that in five instances the strobe failed to fire in two consecutive shots with the most being three in a row. I should note that I do NOT believe this relates just to the Cheetahstand brand but all remote heads.

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