Saturday, June 13, 2009


The weather here in Utah has been absolutely awful for the last few weeks... Pretty much straight. We drove about two hours out to a small town called Hanna for our family reunion in hopes there would be enough of a break that we could camp out there. Not only was it cold, there was no relief from the rain there, either. We drove back and made it home through the canyon in the middle of a nice, heavy rain storm and made it home at around 11:00 pm.

For my birthday, I decided to pick up some radio triggers. After much deliberation, I decided to get the CyberSync triggers made by Paul C Bluff / Alienbees. I decided on these because they're amazingly priced. I paid $220 for one trigger and two receivers. If I had settled on Pocket Wizards, I would have been looking at ~$200 for one trans-receiver. The only real difference I've read about so far is that the Pocket Wizards are rated to communicate at 1,600 feet. In other words, if I have a pocket wizard on my flash, and one on my camera, I can be 1,600 feet away, hit the trigger and my flash would pop. The CyberSyncs are only rated for 400, which is probably more than I'll ever use.

Here are the triggers (one CST and two CSB's):

I plan on investing in Alienbee lighting when I have the money and feel it would be a worthy investment.

Here is my set-up (the trigger is unmounted in the middle because I don't have back up camera yet):

What you are seeing is a CyberSync receiver plugged into the PC port on my 580 EX II (the 580 EX II is the first Canon speedlight to offer a PC port) on the right. On the left is my 430 EX sitting in a hot shoe adapter. Because the 430 EX does not offer a PC port, I have the CyberSync running a cable into a hot shoe adapter. The receiver gets the signal from the transmitter, sends it through the cable, through the adapter and then my flash receives it and fires. The hot shoe adapter was $16.50 and I purchased it from Lon at

Finally, I picked up a set of gels so I can color balance/effect my flash output from

All of the companies I've worked with have been excellent. The hot shoe adapter I received from Lon at flash zebra didn't fit quite right, but he went above and beyond to resolve the situation (far beyond my expectations) and I am 100% satisfied.

I've also purchased a couple of Manfrotto light stands:

And a couple of Wescott 45" shoot-through/reflective umbrellas:

My purchases were heavily influenced by this article on

While my set up doesn't break down as compact as his, it's still very convenient. If you're interested in lighting and have no idea where to start, this is a big help. I was totally lost until I started reading the lighting 101 section of his blog/site.

So the weather is crappy and I'm sitting here with all this great gear not being able to get a good chance to use it. Yeah, this sucks.

Silver lining...

We had a pretty wicked storm front move across the valley today. It was over us in no time. The lowest clouds were moving so fast (the dark mass in the lower right of the first image), that I was almost worried we would be seeing tornadoes or something. The sky was so green and the wind was coming in so fast, I wasn't sure what was going to happen:

Massive Storm Front

Massive Storm Front

Also, a couple of days ago a pretty wicked storm moved through, but opened up toward the end of the evening. As it was leaving, it left a wide open sky for the sun to set in. This led to one of the largest rainbows I've ever seen.

Call me crazy, but I really like this shot:
Chasing Rainbows

Here are a couple with the rainbow and Mushna in full effect:

Chasing Rainbows

Chasing Rainbows

This also gave me the opportunity to snap one of my my favorite photos I've shot in a long time:
Chasing Rainbows

One last note on lighting... Based on a recommendation from the Strobist site, I found this photographer:

He makes excellent use out of a lot of the same types of gear I just purchased. I'm really anxious to get out to see if I can get some good results like this (eventually).

Here's to the hope of better weather...

1 comment:

Steve-o said...

Very cool storm and rainbow photos. Those cloud formations are super cool.

Any time you get the weird sky colors (green, yellow, etc.), you're in for a huge storm and/or tornados. We had a green sky storm last year that knocked out power all over the place. We had to go into storm shelters to wait for it to pass. Pretty cool.