Observations from the field

3 04 2012

So recently I’ve been shooting in various clubs and restaurants, and have a few observations to share.

First up, where any booze is being served, you need to be extra vigilant with regard to lighting and stands, and also storing your gear. I had stashed my bag under the table; fortunately I had remembered to close the lid. Sure enough, a glass of fruit juice went over the edge of the table. And drinkers generally aren’t interested in photographers and their careless placing of lightstands. What silly bugger left that there? Oops. Stupid place to leave a light anyway, wasn’t it?

Japanese drinkers though, are more deferential and polite, more respectful. Just what I’ve found. Still pays to be careful though.

And a practical observation: while I’d love to plug my lights into the house mains supply, there are some disadvantages. First up, the cabling, especially where foot traffic crosses the cable’s path. And then (maybe unique to Japan) the limited current draw on the circuitry. If I have to be responsible for another blackout in a bar…. Japan has a reputation as a futuristic nation – couldn’t be further from the truth!

So I’ve largely been relying on battery-powered strobes (usually a bunch of Metz 40MZ units) for these type of events. The only disadvantage is the battery capacity – even shooting at 1/16th power, the juice starts to run out around the 250 frame mark. So right now I’m looking for alternative external battery packs. Quantum Battery 1 seems like the best option, since with the right cable that can power any of my battery type flashes. Plus it works as a counterweight on a boom, or on the base of a light stand.

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