Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Blog - Daemon Baizan

Daemon Baizan
I am excited that my friends are writing to me with great ideas.  One of the best photographers I know in Atlanta is Daemon Baizan.  I have been really impressed with his food photography through the years, but Daemon is a great people photographer as well. One of the reasons is he makes people relax.

This is Daemon's response to where I put out a kind of challenge for others to show non-photographic things that they'd adapted to work well for shooters.

Here is Daemon's contact information:
Daemon Baizan, photographer, ASMP, EP
2555 Fairoaks Road
Decatur, GA 30033
404.634.6151 FAX: 404.634.5454   

Home Depot T-strap ($5) and 2 Nikon SB-800s


I've got a couple for you.

Figure A
I've attached some pictures to explain, but I have two things that I've found to be extremely helpful for shooting quickly and capably in the field.

The first was my Home Depot T-strap flash bracket. I bought a T-strap piece at Home Depot for about $5. I bent the center part to ninety degrees, and installed a spigot (Figure B). I then used the pre-drilled holes in the T-strap, and installed two positive-locking flash-shoe brackets (about $7 each from Flash Zebra). Now I had a very secure, rigid, flash bracket which would hold two SB-800's with enough clearance for insertion of a separate battery plug, with battery compartments accessible, and the same orientation for both IR sensors on the flash bodies. I usually modify the light from these tandem flashes with a brolly box whose shaft goes into the appropriate hole in a swivel bracket attached to the brass spigot.
Figure B
Figure C
I was ready to take this rig on the road, but I added another mod (Figure C) that makes all the difference in the world. Your experience may not be the same, but I had tons of trouble outdoors trying to get these flashes to fire in Remote mode, even when I had a dedicated SB-800 on camera in Master mode. I solved my problem by the lowest-tech solution possible. A piece of tin foil, folded, trimmed, and edged with duct tape (to keep it from tearing easily) stuck to the side of the flash, opposite the direction of the IR Master trigger, causes these flashes to fire correctly about 99 percent of the time. The sensors on these two SB-800's are almost always facing toward the ground, so they are shaded, and the sun doesn't interfere with the IR signal from the Master flash. The tin-foil reflecting panel is actually an upgrade from my first version, which came into existence when I was having problems on assignment. I took a gum wrapper and stuck it to my flash with the gum that had come from it, and it got me through the assignment. From there I upgraded to tinfoil and tape.

So, there you have it. Two home-made solutions to some very vexing problems, using things that are definitely not photo hardware. All easy on the wallet.

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