Photography News 83 Web


The great indoors

Pandemic or not, it’s that time of year whenmost of us spendmuch of our lives indoors – but that doesn’t mean you should pack away the camera for winter. On the contrary, now’s the time to get busy! Here’s the kit you need tomake more of your photography, ensuring the long evenings will simply rush by

PHOTOGRAPHY AT THIS time of year can be very challenging with the cold temperatures and shorter days, but you could argue that it’s much more satisfying when you do get some good pictures. However, in this guide we’re going to eschew those outdoor opportunities and instead concentrate on what you can achieve indoors and the kit you need to make that happen. The biggest obstacle at this time of year is light, or rather the lack of it. We don’t see much sun and when it is around, it’s not as intense as other seasons. So, with light an unreliable factor, we need to work harder at generating our own. Flash is an obvious light source, but there’s tremendous potential in LED lighting, too. It’s pretty powerful, controllable and there are no heat output issues. There’s also a very good choice available and it’s relatively inexpensive. Better yet, you can see its actual effect, which remains the drawback with flash. That said, with digital capture, at least you can check out the effect of flash seconds after

taking a shot. So, if the result is not to your liking, you can do something about it immediately. LED lights can be small enough to fit on a camera hotshoe and run on AA batteries or even a built-in rechargeable li-ion battery and deliver a remarkable amount of light given their size. Venture up the size scale to a light panel of several hundred LED bulbs and not only do you get really useful amounts of power, but many units have colour-adjustable output so you can fine-tune the effect to suit what you are trying to achieve. So, going back to the daylight conundrum, you can bolster what the sun is providing with an LED light and the colour can be accurately balanced for natural-looking effects. Our guide offers a range of lighting solutions to suit different budgets, but we also cover other devices and gadgets to make your time indoors this winter more fruitful and creative than ever. There’s no better time to explore the great indoors with your camera.

Macro lenses

Get flash

If you don’t own a speedlight, now could be the time to make that commitment. All the camera brands offer speedlights with key features, such as TTL flash and high speed sync, but you can get the same features (and sometimes even more) for less money by going for an independent brand. Most speedlights take AA batteries that have the advantage of being available almost anywhere and rechargeable ones are convenient, too. The Hahnel Modus 600RT MK II costs £249.99 and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger. Fully charged, this battery has enough capacity for 600 full power flashes (you get 1000 at half power) with a recycling time of 1.5secs that remains almost constant for all those flashes. With a Guide Number of 60 (ISO 100/m), there’s plenty of power under the bonnet and in normal use, you’ll get many more flash bursts. The flash has a 2.4GHz built-in receiver and transmitter and if you want full off-camera control, the optional Viper TTL transmitter is £89.99 - or buy the two together in a kit for £300. The Modus 600RT MK II is available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, MFT and Sony. (Metz) (Pixapro)

Get in close and your view of the world changes and actually becomes much more interesting, at least from a photographic point of view. To exploit this, you need a macro lens that is designed to focus closer than normal lenses and still give a high level of optical performance. The thing is, although a normal lens might focus in quite close, you need a macro lens if you want a higher magnification and a good macro lens will give at least half life-size magnification and many will give 1:1 reproduction. There are many models on offer, from camera and independent brands. One of the most notable independent macro lenses – and it has been

around in one guise or another for many years – is the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di USD VC, on sale for £649. This short telephoto macro lens gives 1:1 magnification and has the benefit of an effective VC image stabiliser and near-silent autofocusing. It is also a very capable lens optically. (Irix) (Tamron)

RIGHT Tamron has had a 90mm macro lens in its range for many years

Getting your speedlight off the camera is one option, but if you’ve the budget, going further and investing in studio flash lighting is well worth doing. Studio flash nowadays can be mains or battery powered – a few models offer both. Generally speaking, mains powered units offer better value for money in terms of output and performance, but battery units are convenient and not having trailing wires is a big plus in the home environment and of course gives the option of location shooting, too. One of the best battery-powered studio flash lights around is the Profoto B10. There are two models to choose from, the B10 is 250W/s and the B10 Plus is 500W/s, so both offer very usable amounts of power and in very compact body forms. Furthermore, they are great to use, whether you shoot manually or TTL using an Air Remote TTL trigger. Both are also fully compatible with over 120 light modifiers. Set up a home studio

RIGHT The Hahnel Modus 600RT MK II has power and stamina

RIGHT The Profoto B10 is a beautifully designed and really compact studio flash. It sells for £1499

Issue 83 | Photography News 35

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