Not totally photo related, not just a journal. A bit of both.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bought a LightSphere II Cloud

I spent perhaps three or four hours after the last post reading up and watching some great videos on the different types (Cloud II, and the Universal) and the different attachments ( like the Chrome Dome and the Amber Dome) and on how they work and how to use them.

If you go on Youtube and search for "Gary Fong" there are some good video examples or you can go to a fantastic photography blog that I found in my research last nite called Photography Solutions. This photographer from the US has some great how-to videos on the various Gary Fong products. I learned more watching 10-20 mins of video from him on his site than I did on the hours of reading. He explained the products and demonstrated them very effectively. Amazing difference the LightSphere can make.

This morning I called around. Henry's North and South London stores had the Cloud II models and only Cloud Universals and no attachments. Forest City Imaging had one only Cloud Universal and a Chrome Dome and Amber Dome. Stan C Reade didnt know what they were and had not heard of them till I spelled out Gary Fong's name a couple of times and they looked it up in their catalog - which sounded paper based. For London's oldest photography retail photography store that was not too impressive. They did say it was available in Toronto however.

So, after watching the above video, I found out the one I wanted to shoot the wedding a couple of weekends from now with, the Lightsphere Universal Clear wasnt available here in town. I wanted to practice with one before the wedding, and so I decided to go get a LightSphere II Cloud and will see about ordering a Universal from Gary Fond's site directly.

I picked up a Cloud II at the Henry's South London store around lunch today and shot Mindy late this afternoon with it. Wow. All I can say is that. Wow.

I am very much impressed with the LightSphere II Cloud. Yes it does look like you should be serving peanuts from it, but it is very easy to attach, use, and the light is very soft and does not cause outlines and shadows around the subjects. I experimented a bit, and tried it with the camera on Program mode just so I wasn't tainting the results somehow. Either pointed directly at Mindy or used vertically I found it to be really really good. I shot Mindy outside an abandoned house near sunset - it was heavily overcast today too, and also inside the house it where the only available light was through a window, and it was stunning. the beauty of the Lighsphere is that it not only lights up your subject but the room as well. Obviously the light does fall off a bit, so you might want to adjust the flash output a bit as needed, but I really didnt need too aside from just seeing what would happen if I played with the settings.

This Youtube video by Gary Fong - but not posted by him, is a good illustration of how well it can work. Jump to about 7:30 for a comparison of direct flash, the LightSphere and a bounced flash. The whole video is a good watch - even though the production values on it are not great and such. But with a product like this, it really does sell itself.

I chose the Cloud II as most of my stuff - really all of it, is up close portrait/fashion and nudes work so I wanted to have it for day to day use. I am really blown away by how good this is. When I get a chance and am caught up with editing, I will post some shots from today using the Cloud, but you will see a lot more of them in the future. It will be my constant companion.

I wish I had been using one of these all year!


Mike Wood Photography

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