I’ve never really liked the taste of humble pie (who does?), but I’m happy to eat a large slice today and say… “Yep! I was wrong!”.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m a BIG fan of Elinchrom equipment and have to disclose I’m one of those pesky ambassadors, however I’ve built my career on calling a “spade” a “shovel”!
Just before the ELB 1200 came out, I did some tests with it and I found it a VERY capable unit. It played really nicely with my ELB 400’s, delivered everything I asked of it and delivered a really nice “Knock out shot”
This was shot on our original ELB 1200 test – packs a big punch
I was just mindful if I’d need the extra power or want to carry a bigger pack… Then I used one in real working conditions and, to be honest, I’m a little smitten.
I’m just back from a dual purpose trip to Lanzarote. I was there testing kit and shooting concept ads, as well as having an amazing time with a group of lovely people who had come away with me for an amazing four day workshop.
It became very obvious, very quickly, that the ELB 1200 opened up new opportunities for me both creatively and work load wise.
Normally on gigs like this you have to pick the times you can work – early morning and late afternoon. We are looking to chase the light and shoot opportunistically at times of day when we aren’t fighting Mother Nature too much; it has nothing to do with me wanting to sit by the pool all day honest! With the 1200, any part of the day can be productive.
Take the picture of the beguiling Jessica in the surf, that was a capture at about 13:00hrs. Pretty impossible back in the day, everything was “hit and miss” with reflector boards. The ELB 1200 makes it easy, the light head was fitted with the new 70cm deep octa. It’s a very versatile light; I didn’t want full specularity, so the light had the inner baffle fitted. You can see from the image that doing this took the “edge” off the shadow.
The BTS shows my VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand) in the form of Simon Burfoot from The Flash Centre.
Now, take the image of Lily Von Pink at the pool; this is where the ELB excels and shows its power. Again, its captured a lot nearer to mid day than I would normally consider shooting, but the power of the ELB turns day into night; I was nowhere near it’s capability of 1200 watt seconds to create this image. I wanted the image to be sharp, with strong contrast and specularity, so out came all the diffusion and the light was raked down the subject. You can see from the BTS image just how “sharply” pointed down the light was. Once I’d seen the first test shot on the back of the camera, I just knew we’d have to do more with this, so have a giggle at us as I show you the pulled back image!
Lesley has her Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk2 fitted with her new favourite video lens the 12-200 f4. Bless her, she had to squeeze herself in to get the shot, but she is nothing if not “All pro” so as you can see the “Three amigos” got the shot and a cool promo video to boot.
I was mega pleased with the image, Lily just rocked! I hope you agree with me that all that effort was reflected in the result… the ELB shows not only it’s power but it’s versatility, too.
For the ELB 1200’s next trick we shot at sunset. The team and I wanted to create a “Jon Paul meets Titanic” style image, I’ve had this location in my head for twenty years so to shoot here was a dream come true.
I fitted the light with that fab 70cm deep octa; this time I went full diffusion for the effect. The Skyport Plus HS is a really clever trigger, and it enables me to use flash way above the manufacturers sync speed, all the way to an 8000th of a second, hence the ability to darken the sky. Basically, the image is a blend of ambient and daylight in proportions as I see fit.
I have to say, this is my favourite image from the trip, a one light wonder in effect. As the old saying goes its not what you use but how you use it. The fab thing, is I took a group of delegates with me to Lanzarote and they were able to get involved in all these advertising concept shots. I love passing on the things I’ve learned over my career, its awesome to help people develop in their photography, I’m going back later in the year, do you fancy joining me?
The 1200 is really capable, it can deliver just a kiss of light or it can go nuclear. It’s not too big, in fact for the 1200 watts it can deliver, its small. The unit isn’t even twice the size of my trusty 400’s! With all that in mind the ELB 1200 may just be the perfect light, if you haven’t done so, you need to give it a try.
The thing I really love about Elinchrom, is that it’s a system; everything just works together. The next image was created in the caldera of a volcano, with the ELB1200 as the “Key”, using that octa again, but it was used in conjunction with its smaller brother the ELB 400. The 400 was used with the standard umbrella spill kill and the diffusion frost. I even included the flash head in the shot; it makes a fabulous stand in for the rising sun and gives a magnificent effect.
My “Demon” was, in essence, sandwich lit. The Skyport Plus HS has a little more of a trick here than just the high speed sync capability. The transmitter unit picks up all the useable heads in the area, displays them on the LCD screen, and allows me to control the lights power individually. It just makes life easier, I can concentrate less on the technical and fully on the creative… FAB!
If you check out the BTS image, you can see how rough the terrain is; nobody in their right mind would want to keep running to and fro between the lighting units in these or any circumstance really. If you don’t have assistants like me then the trigger is the next best thing; if you shoot with Elinchrom, you NEED one of these.
I had a blast on this weeks shoot. My OM-D and 645Z hardly ever stopped. I love creating images and sharing knowledge with those that want it. When all the systems work together as the Oly, Pentax and Elinchrom do, then magic can be made and fun can be had.
Till next time guys