It was fall, the way it had been summer—confused and milquetoast. Not a date on the calendar, not an astronomical event but a whimper carried by slow winds. A home cast in silence as hours passed. Wet leaves on deck chairs. Clockwork transmutations hard and impending, despite the disarray.
And yet we remain motionless, sweetie. Our house stands and ferries us through.
It was fall and I wrote a few words to steady myself and assess the road ahead.
. . .
There’s so much I need to blog about—but October is insanity. I wish time could be suspended. We have a new issue of KAGE out, where I’ve published a short essay with recent Stockholm images.
I’m headed towards such a backlog...
P.S It was Thanksgiving in Canada so this feels like Monday. Jacob turned 14 this weekend. Whoa.
All images shot with the GFX 50S and GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR
Stockholm was a pretty wonderful whirlwind. I need to thank Photo Life, Profoto Canada and Profoto Global for making it such an unforgettable experience. I’ll be writing more extensively about the Photo Quest adventure in the next issue of the magazine, but I wanted to quickly touch base with you about the big star of that show: the Profoto A1.
I won’t get into details and specs here...all of those can easily be found around the web. I just want to address a couple of points that may interest some of you.
I had the Canon version of the A1 a couple of weeks before leaving for Sweden—to work on the magazine article. I tried everything to make it trigger on my Fuji cameras but nothing would do the trick, apart from using the older universal remote (single pin). I eventually had to make peace with the fact that it simply wasn’t compatible. Fast forward to day one of Photo Quest, when a few of us noticed a menu item in the A1 flash settings labeled X-Sync. At lunchtime we’re sitting around the table and I ask about this to Andres Prieto, marketing manager at Profoto Canada (great guy). He tells us this is a way for the flash to bypass all attempts at TTL communication...at which point my eyes widen. I grab an A1, put it on my X-Pro2, switch on X-Sync: bingo. Let there be on-camera light.
I’ve since tried this setting on both the Nikon and Canon versions and can confirm that it works with both. There’s no TTL and no HSS in this mode—it's all manual—but until we get the recently announced native Fuji remote, this will do the job just fine.
It’s just an expensive speedlight...
No, it’s not. Is it a smaller, camera-mountable flash? Yup. Does it have as much power as some speedlights? Nope. Is it a game changer? Hell yes. Two reasons as far as I’m concerned: refresh rate and the light itself. I met two incredibly talented Canadian photographers on this trip—Lanny Mann and Erika Jensen—who were chosen for one of the promo videos. They said they shot over 7000 frames during a party, on a single battery, without a misfire. That’s seven followed by three zeros. Which is why I don’t shoot weddings. But that number is simply insane.
And then there’s the light: round is not a gimmick. This, combined with the wide-angle beam and included dome diffuser, effectively creates a fall-off that you can play with and feather the way you would a softbox. There’s a heck of a lot of engineering going on, all for the sake of scattering those photons—and it works.
A real light. Not some crazy hold-down-a-button-while-the-flash-goes-into-strobe-mode preview but an actual LED. Trivial? Not in my book. And the kicker is that it’s powerful enough to be used as a light source—complete with zooming (and there's a really cool story behind this). It’s like a bonus.
So, this morning I unpacked my own A1 (a gift for all the guests...huge thx) and thought I’d put points #1 and #2 to the test. Weird looking male model but meh... he was available. First, the Franken-setup:
That’s an A1 on top of a Cactus V5 (a pair of old triggers I dug out), in a plastic holder in a clamp...all on a C-stand. Unwieldy, fragile and definitely not something I’d travel with but, it did the job* (again, all manual). I set the Profoto A1 to X-Sync and, sure enough, everything fired perfectly: one trigger in TX, the other in RX. I used the Dome Diffuser (included), set the A1 camera-left, about two feet away, and angled it slightly above my head to catch the edge of the dome (as opposed to its centre); same thing I’d do with any modifier.
Selfies like these are never easy and I’m not winning any prizes here, but I think the light itself—in terms of structure—is rather impressive. Especially when you consider I spent all of 15 minutes on this. Btw that shine on my face is from the crazy 40ºC weather we're struggling with...summer is over right?... Anyway, I won’t be ditching my Deep Octa just yet but this opens up a lot of possibilities...big possibilities that fit in my bag.
More Stockholm in the coming days.
*Except now I’m stuck with AAA batteries again. Sigh. Go Profoto/Fuji remote...
I’m genuinely excited about today’s Apple Event: there’s just something that feels historical—and a tad touching—about this first Steve Jobs Theater gig. So I got a bunch of things done this morning, clearing my schedule to catch the presentation via live streaming. I know...I’m a total geek.
Miriodor is headed for RIO—Rock in Opposition Festival—in Carmaux, France. If you’re around and into prog/avant rock of the highest caliber check this one out. Last night they played their full set, one last casual rehearsal, over beers, in front of a few friends. I shot a couple of images for the hell of it—X-Pro2, straight to Acros JPEG (processed in LR).
KAGE IN SEPTEMBER
So we called this new issue WE DID WHAT WE COULD...which is self-explanatory. Things got in the way of a September 1st release but we finally managed to get it out. Jonas wrote the editorial/intro again this month and I believe he pretty much nailed it. Always surprising to see everyone pull together in the end.
A PORTUGAL SERIES
Robert Kahn is a client, who’s also a photographer, who became a friend. Life’s fun like that. We did a couple of workshops together and we’ve since kept an ongoing remote training series. Robert has always had obvious talent but this last trip to Portugal blew me away. He just recently launched a personal website if you want to take a look. Beautiful stuff.