Posts Tagged ‘L-358’

Ronald N. Tan’s Flying L-358

August 4, 2010

Sekonic often gets unsolicited stories about the quality and durability of our meters. One which comes to mind is the email from Ron Plasencia when he wanted to share with us the story of his thirty-five year old Sekonic L-28c light meter, which still functions perfectly for him.

We recently were contacted by Ronald N. Tan, a photographer in Los Angeles and San Francisco, who is the proud owner of a Sekonic L-358 light meter. He shared a remarkable story demonstrating the products strength and durability.

As Tan, a former Applied Physics and Pre-pharmacy major recalls, he started teaching himself photography from scratch in 2007. At that time he purchased a new L-358. Within the first year of owning it, he had a shoot with a model at U.C. Davis and drove the 30 minutes to get there. “After our shoot, I accidentally left my L-358 and my color checker card on the roof,” he reports. “I know this because I have a habit of leaving things on my Maxima 2000.”

When he arrived home, he couldn’t locate the L-358 or his color checker card. “After searching my house, I finally drove back to U.C. Davis,” he says. “At the trunk of the tree located near the parking structure, was my L-358 along with my color checker card. I was able to spot my color checker card from afar due to its bright colors. Since then, my L-358 works perfectly. A good samaritan probably found my items and relocated them off the road and placed them at the trunk of the tree.”

The kindness of a stranger has not been in vain. Tan continues to meter his shoots with his L-358. “Since the accident, my L-358 has traveled with me to El Mirage Day Lake in Los Angeles and the beaches on the Pacific Coastal Highway in Malibu,” he reports. “It got sand on it and some moisture from the water, but it all works well three years later.”

Tan sent us a late email with the following quote. “Great investment!!! I stand behind that as a testimony of L-358’s durability! My L-358 hasn’t been serviced either. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Ronald N. Tan Photography

Ronald N. Tan’s blog

Ronald N. Tan on Facebook

Ronald N. Tan on Twitter

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Sean Armenta’s One Light Beauty Setup

August 2, 2010

Fashion, beauty, and lifestyle photographer Sean Armenta has released a video detailing how he sets up one light (a beauty dish) and some homemade reflectors to light a typical cosmetics campaign ad. That’s right. You heard correctly. One light for professional results you’d see in any fashion magazine.

Along with the beauty dish, Armenta also utilizes a Sekonic L-358 meter. At the ready is a bank of PocketWizard Plus II units.

Sean Armenta | One Light Beauty Setup from Sean Armenta.

Armenta put this video together for the FStoppers.com behind the scenes video contest.

We had previously checked out Armenta’s career and work in “Sean Armenta’s Ornaments of Women.” You can see more of his work and writing at the following links.

Sean Armenta Photography
Sean Armenta blog
Sean Armenta on Twitter
Sean Armenta on Facebook
Sean Armenta on Flickr
Sean Armenta’s Workshop

Written by Ron Egatz

Simon Gerzina in the Sweet Spot

December 16, 2009

Simon Gerzina shoots film and digital, fashion and beauty, corporate portraiture and a little reportage. No matter the assignment, Sekonic meters are always with him. “Even for events, I carry a light meter for everything. I don’t like relying on in-camera meters or the histogram. I prefer to make lighting decisions based on numbers and not on a guess.” Gerzina carries a Sekonic L-358 meter with the PocketWizard module. “It’s never left the meter since I got them together. It’s been indispensable. I don’t know how I could ever go back to tripping over cables. You don’t have to worry about fragile little PC-synch terminals. It’s a real godsend. The 358 is at an amazing sweet spot. The cost is negligible once you start talking about studio equipment. It’s small—it sits on my hip until I need it. Since using a Sekonic I’ve never wanted to use anything else. I actually bought a second one when out on a shoot because I couldn’t find my original. I later found my first one the next day and was not bummed at all I owned two of them.”

©Simon Gerzina

In the time he’s been shooting professionally, Gerzina has developed some strong feelings about the use of lightmeters. “It bums me out there’s people today getting into serious photography who, as opposed to five or ten years ago, have a new mentality that light meters are unnecessary luxury. These people are often entirely self-taught, or they pick up tips on blogs and tutorials. They don’t recognize how much faster and easier it makes the work. The idea of manufacturing light without a meter is like a carpenter working without a ruler. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

©Simon Gerzina

Gerzina also uses a Mamiya RB67 a Mamiya 645AF, Profoto Acute2 and AcuteB strobe packs, and PocketWizard Plus II’s.

Simon Gerzina Photography

Simon Gerzina’s Twitter feed

Simon Gerzina’s Facebook Fan Group

Fashion Shoot with Ford Models

Simon Gerzina’s Flickr Photostream

Behind-the-Scenes on Flickr

Written by Ron Egatz

Norman Kushner’s Niche and Gear

November 5, 2009

A professional photographer for close to 30 years, Norman Kushner has seen trends, technologies and studios come and go. Getting his start in Brooklyn all those years ago, Kushner now enjoys a deep knowledge of both the history of the New York and New Jersey photography scene and the gear pros use, including the modifications which he’s known for. This post is the first of several detailing his practices and custom alterations of gear he uses to get the job done.

Starting at a time when the wedding photography business was controlled by large studios, as opposed to freelancers operating on shoestring budgets, Kushner found himself apprenticing for a well-known photographer who taught him many aspects of the business. Weddings and bar mitzvahs not only bring about technical challenges unique to any photography assignment, but atypical social interactions (how to deal with caterers, what to do with film wrappers in the old days) and logistical queueing issues (best positions to shoot from during wedding ceremonies, what happens next in a bar mitzvah, etc.).

As Kushner learned the ropes, he crossed paths with Tony Armato, a photographer and machinist who achieved legendary status for his New York-area hardware modifications and brackets. Soon Kushner was working for Armato and making similar hardware modifications and fabrications. With necessity the mother of invention, Kushner began to build custom solutions for situations he encountered in the world of bar mitzvah photography.

boy

©Norman Scott Photography

Kushner is often called upon to shoot his bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah subjects in synagogues against stained glass windows. To properly balance the backlit windows and light on the subject, Kushner has come up with the following solution.

Referring to the above photo, Kushner says, “My Sekonic L-358 is invaluable when producing images like this. To get this type of shot, all ambient light must be turned off. The exposure is based solely on the stained glass and your flash. You don’t want the walls around the stained glass to be lit artificially at all. Start by measuring the ambient light coming through the stained glass. Make sure you measure through the lightest or brightest color of the stained glass, as this will set all the other colors in the window correctly. If the darkest colors are exposed for, the lighter colors will become overexposed.”

Depth of field is critical, he cautions. “Keep your subject fairly far from the stained glass window. This will keep your flash from hitting the glass and contaminating it, which will ruin the glow. It also creates a nice depth to your image. Set your flash off to the side to create a nice side lighting. Set your exposure so as to underexpose the stained glass slightly. You don’t want the colors to overpower the photo. Since the f-stop is controlling the flash exposure, use your shutter speed to control the exposure of the stained glass. By using the Sekonic meter and PocketWizard combination, it’s very easy to set your flash exposure. By taking your reading the Sekonic will fire the PocketWizard, setting off the flash. The flash exposure is adjusted by setting the power on your strobe or by actually moving the flash closer or farther away, or a combination of both.”Kushner has developed a series of hardware for his craft. Among pieces he fabricates from scratch is a custom-made solution which mounts both a PocketWizard and a softbox.

©Norman Scott Photography

Here is the same hardware with a PocketWizard MultiMAX, Nikon SB-800 and softbox mounted.
(C)Norman Scott Photography 732 536-5111  009

©Norman Scott Photography

Norman Kushner has made a living taking photographs full-time for close to 30 years. We look forward to learning more techniques from his vast experience in future posts.

To create the bar mitzvah image at the top of this post, the following equipment was used:

  • Sekonic L358
  • Two PocketWizard MultiMAX Transceivers
  • Nikon D3
  • Nikon SB-800
  • Light stand
  • R4108 Norman Umbrella Stand adapter
  • Attached to the umbrella stand adaptor is a Stroboframe Flash Mount Adapter, Standard Shoe-type
  • Gitzo Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Really Right Stuff L Bracket
  • Really Right Stuff BH55 Ball Head
  • Small Rectangular softbox rotatable from vertical to horizontal
  • Nikon off-camera flash, softbox, PocketWizard, Sekonic meter with built-in PocketWizard.
Written by Ron Egatz

J.C. Lopez-Johnston, Toxinologist and Artist

August 28, 2009
It all started when J.C. Lopez-Johnston’s father brought him home rubber snakes when he was a boy in Venezuela. Although he doesn’t know why his father chose to bring him this type of toy, it changed his life forever. In 1986 for his 18th birthday, instead of getting a driver’s license, J.C. asked for a vine snake to keep in his bedroom. That was followed by coral snakes, racers, rattlesnakes, fer-de-lance snakes, boas, and tree snakes, among others. By 1992, well into his career in biology, he got a Nikon FG camera to document his work and field trips. Having already handled snakes for five years at that time, he found himself drawn to working specifically with snake venoms.
Not only are snakes creatures of beauty to J.C., but his work with them comes from a deeper sense of responsibility. “In tropical countries, from Mexico down to South America, snake bites are an important epidemiological problem,” he says. “It’s a serious health concern, especially in agricultural areas, and due to social and economical issues around the world. In Australia, 90% of the snakes there have venom capable of killing humans, but the snake bite incidents are very low. In Venezuela, 10% of the snakes are capable of killing people, but bite incidents are very high. The difference is due to proper education. In India a lot of people are killed every year, also. Because of this, I started to do workshops in Venezuela.”
When asked about his beautiful images of snakes, J.C. explains how his mission to educate drove him deeper into photography. “I wanted to portray snakes in a different way. Scientists can be very dry when presenting data. They present the animal, the scales, but with no sense of aesthetics. I truly believe as a scientist you can add extra value to your work. You can show a physiologically-proper documentation of a snake, but it can also be artwork. Before Jacques Daguerre and William Fox Talbot, explorers and scientists like Alexander von Humbolt had no cameras. They had to draw, and drawings are artwork. They made biological records on physiology, but it was artwork because they were accomplished painters.”
To help create the art of subjects he loves, J.C. specifically turned to Sekonic and PocketWizard. Although he also photographs people, events, and landscapes, his studio lighting equipment is set-up for the purpose of documenting snakes. He uses seamless white or black fabric for backdrop and on a table. “I put the snake on there and try to convince him to please stay there and smile for me,” J.C. laughs. A Sekonic Flash Master L-358 and PocketWizard Pluses are critical to this set-up, he reports. His main lenses are the Micro Nikon 105mm f2.8D and the Sigma 70-300mm f4 APO Macro “because I don’t want to get too close to the snake,” he says, grinning.
Between 2005 and 2007 as the curator and supervisor of the Natural Toxins Research Center serpentarium at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, J.C. had many duties. When not photographing snakes, he can be found extracting their venom, brushing their teeth, medicating sick ones, and practicing snake husbandry. His main focus, however, is venom research. Along with his science credentials, J.C. Degree holds a degree in Professional Photography from the New York Institute of Photography.
Currently working on a book for the center, J.C. will continue to shoot his silent subjects with careful handling and PocketWizards. Primarily, he shoots slide film. When asked about shooting film versus digitally, he states “with my snakes, I hope Fuji Film will not let me down by stopping production of film, particularly Fujichrome Velvia 100 ISO. With digital cameras, you have the freedom to be careless. With slides, I tend to think carefully, waiting for a decisive moment before I shoot.” Looking to the future, J.C. sees himself photographing snakes with a film-based medium format camera, possibly Mamiya. No matter the format, J.C. will continue to bring photographic art to scientific documentation.
J.C. Lopez-Johnston: http://www.lopezjohnston.com/
J.C. Lopez-Johnston Photography at photo.net: http://photo.net/photos/lopezjohnston
J.C. Lopez-Johnston at the Natural Toxins Research Center: http://www.ntrc.tamuk.edu/NTRCPersonnelBios/Lopez_Juan.swf
J.C. Lopez-Johnston Blog: http://lopezjohnston.blogspot.com/
The Natural Toxins Research Center: http://www.ntrc.tamuk.edu/

It all started when J.C. Lopez-Johnston’s father brought him home rubber snakes when he was a boy in Venezuela. Although he doesn’t know why his father chose to bring him this type of toy, it changed his life forever. In 1986 for his 18th birthday, instead of getting a driver’s license, J.C. asked for a vine snake to keep in his bedroom. That was followed by coral snakes, racers, rattlesnakes, fer-de-lance snakes, boas, and tree snakes, among others. By 1992, well into his career in biology, he got a Nikon FG camera to document his work and field trips. Having already handled snakes for five years at that time, he found himself drawn to working specifically with snake venoms.

JCLJ_CXX_30_BothropsVenezuelensis

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

Not only are snakes creatures of beauty to J.C., but his work with them comes from a deeper sense of responsibility. “In tropical countries, from Mexico down to South America, snake bites are an important epidemiological problem,” he says. “It’s a serious health concern, especially in agricultural areas, and is linked to social and economic issues around the world. In Australia, 90% of the snakes there have venom capable of killing humans, but the snake bite incidents are very low. In Venezuela, 10% of the snakes are capable of killing people, but bite incidents are very high. The difference is due to proper education. In India a lot of people are killed every year, also. Because of this, I started to do workshops in Venezuela.”

JCLJ_CLI_08_CrotalusMolossusJCLJ_CXXXIV_5_AgkistrodonContortrix

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

When asked about his beautiful images of snakes, J.C. explains how his mission to educate drove him deeper into photography. “I wanted to portray snakes in a different way. Scientists can be very dry when presenting data. They present the animal, the scales, but with no sense of aesthetics. I truly believe as a scientist you can add extra value to your work. You can show a physiologically-proper documentation of a snake, but it can also be artwork. Before Jacques Daguerre and William Fox Talbot, explorers and scientists like Alexander von Humbolt had no cameras. They had to draw, and drawings are artwork. They made biological records on physiology, but it was artwork because they were accomplished painters.”

JCLJ_CXIX_37_BothriechisSchlegeliiJCLJ_CXV_21_CleliaClelia

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

To help create the art of subjects he loves, J.C. specifically turned to Sekonic and PocketWizard. Although he also photographs people, events, and landscapes, his studio lighting equipment is set-up for the purpose of documenting snakes. He uses seamless white or black fabric for backdrop and on a table. “I put the snake on there and try to convince him to please stay there and smile for me,” J.C. laughs. With slide film’s notoriously low tolerance for incorrect exposure, he relies on his Sekonic Flash Master L-358PocketWizard Plus Radio Triggers are also critical to this set-up, he reports. His main lenses are the Micro Nikon 105mm f/2.8D and the Sigma 70-300mm f/4 APO Macro “because I don’t want to get too close to the snake,” he says, grinning.

JCLJ_CXLVI_25_CrotalusTigris

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston
©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

Between 2005 and 2007 as the curator and supervisor of the Natural Toxins Research Center serpentarium at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, J.C. had many duties, including extracting venom, medicating ill snakes, and practicing snake husbandry. His main focus, however, is venom research. Along with his science credentials, J.C. holds a degree in Professional Photography from the New York Institute of Photography.

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

Currently working on a book for the center, J.C. will continue to shoot his silent subjects with careful handling and PocketWizards. Primarily, he shoots slide film. When asked about shooting film versus digitally, he states “with my snakes, I hope Fuji Film will not let me down by stopping production of film, particularly Fujichrome Velvia 100 ISO. With digital cameras, you have the freedom to be careless. With slides, I tend to think carefully, waiting for a decisive moment before I shoot.” Looking to the future, J.C. sees himself photographing snakes with a film-based medium format camera, possibly Mamiya. No matter the format, J.C. will continue to bring photographic art to scientific documentation.

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

©J.C. Lopez-Johnston

J.C. Lopez-Johnston: http://www.lopezjohnston.com/

J.C. Lopez-Johnston Photography at photo.net: http://photo.net/photos/lopezjohnston

J.C. Lopez-Johnston Blog: http://lopezjohnston.blogspot.com/

J.C. Lopez-Johnston at the Natural Toxins Research Center: http://www.ntrc.tamuk.edu/NTRCPersonnelBios/Lopez_Juan.swf

The Natural Toxins Research Center: http://www.ntrc.tamuk.edu/

Written by Ron Egatz