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24/03/2009 – Honl Photo Lighting Accessories : Making Lighting Functional & Packable
Packing effective and professional lighting equipment for travel is heavy, complicated and cumbersome…no, scratch that…packing effective and professional lighting equipment for travel fits in your pockets, easily packs into any bag and takes up virtually no space or weight.
At one point in my career I spent a year lugging around a 48-pound kit of lighting gear with me everywhere. My lighting kit was created after days of evaluating just the right gear to stay under 50lbs to be hauled around as checked luggage. In a year my lighting kit flew more than 300,000 miles. Following a year on the road with this lighting kit I set out to find lighter more effective lighting solutions that could meet 85% of my photography needs.
This morning as I set up for an environmental portrait of a college’s Dean of Faculty I was reminded of how much I enjoy shooting environmental portraits when I am not hauling 50lbs of light gear around in a rolling bag. With all the options I have explored, by-and-large the best solutions to most of my needs are met by the equipment created by photojournalist David Honl.
David Honl has created a set of simple and incredibly effective tools that can fit into any photographer’s bag, as well as any photographer’s budget, using the standard ‘hot shoe’ flash we all keep in our kits.
The Honl Photo system is based around the “Speed Strap.” The “Speed Strap” wraps around the head of a standard flash, Nikon, Canon, Vivitar, etc with the ‘soft’ side of the Velcro on the exterior. This saves photographers the irritation of having to permanently wrap Velcro around their flash units.
Once the ‘Speed Strap’ is in place a photographer can attach a variety of lighting modifiers, from snoots to grids, Gobos to pre-cut gels.
I have used the simple Honl Photo Flag/Gobo for a few years. The Flag/Gobo is white on one side for a bounce and black on the other to control the direction of the light. The construction of the Flag/Gobo makes it rugged enough to always be kept in your bag, and flat enough (it is just flat) to fit into any space inside any bag.
As David Honl has added to his line of compact lighting modifiers I have become a tremendous fan of not only the Snoots, but also most recently his Grids. The lighting pattern created by a honeycombed grid was the primary reason I continued to travel with a full-size lighting kit for certain shoots. Now with the Honl Photo 1/4 Speed Grid and 1/8 Speed Grid in my kit, along side the Snoot and Flag/Gobo I am able to create the lighting effects I want for the majority of my assignments using compact standard hot-shoe flash units.
Today while scouting classrooms for a shoot I loved the freedom of being able to stuff my entire lighting kit (except the light stands) in the two pockets of my jacket. The Honl Photo equipment allows me to not only travel lighter, but also create the lighting pattern I desire in smaller locations which in turn allows me to be more flexible in my shooting situation.
Below are two photos of the Honl Photo 1/4 Speed Grid and 8″ Speed Snoot with my set of Canon 580ex Speedlights to demonstrate the incredibly compact size of the Honl Photo equipment.
Following the photos of the Honl Photo Grid and Snoot are two photos shot with the gear. The professor was shot today with the 8″ Snoot ‘open’ acting as a large light bounce for the light to the left and the light to the right is created by a 1/4 Speed Grid. The photo of the couple in the water was shot two weeks ago on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida using a 1/4 Speed Grid held in the vertical position
You can explore of the Honl Photo lighting accessories can shed significant size and weight from your lighting kit here: www.honlphoto.com
–Click Images Below To Enlarge–