Archive for September, 2009

Alien Bees vs. Elinchrom -for really big light

howdy folks,

Today I saw a new light modifier from AlienBees that reminded me of a light bank made by Elinchrom.

Here’s a link to how they would be used (a link to Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider where he used the Elinchrom Octa Light Bank).

I wanted to see how they compared.

Both products work like brolly boxes.  Both are modelled on the good kind – where you shoot into a reflector umbrella through a flat diffuser (not the bad kind – a shoot through umbrella with a black back). 

The AlienBee product and the Elinchrom unit are around  74 inches (190 cm).  The Elinchrom appears to be a deeper unit, but I suspect that is due to the light placement (see the next point).  I was a little misled by AlienBee describing their product  as 86 inches, but tucking in a disclaimer that that was the arc measurement of the umbrella and not the flat plane (face) opening measurement.  After I catching my error, I noticed other similar clarifications (covering the same info) tucked in around the product page.

The AlienBee modifier has the light attach outside the lightsource. The Elinchrom Light Bank encloses the light within the modifier. The elinchrom unit would probably have less of a blind spot from the light itself.

When it comes to price, there isn’t much of a comparison.  The AlienBee Silver 86″ 16 Rib Parabolic Umbrella runs $75 plus you’ll probably want the diffuser front ($28) and a light and stand.  The Elinchrom unit is self contained reflector and stand for a cool $989 .  It does come with the stand and diffuser but you’ll still need to provide the lighting unit yourself.

Call me crazy, but I think the AlienBee unit is a pretty awesome deal.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Elinchrom products and use my Elinchrom skyports almost every time I use my camera.  But…. with a 800 dollar difference, I think I could sacrifice a little build quality as a low volume photographer.  It’s probably the best of both worlds, my skyports still work with the AlienBee Lights and I get a killer light modifier on the cheap.  Now to find a battery pack to become mobile.


The Smoker

howdy folks,

Here’s one from my flickr page.  I call it the smoker. I recently purchased a book from called The Art of Digital Painting by Marilyn Sholin.  Here is the image.

The Smoker

The Smoker


I did a head swap with an image of someone else, cleaned up the photo in photoshop, color corrected in lightroom, then I changed some of the underpainting setting in the painting software (Corel Painter) but kept most of the technique the same as outlined in my blog post “rounding second…a quick painter tutorial“.

The Canon 7D is now on

howdy folks,

like the title says, I received an email from amazon that they have the 7D on their site.  There is a link to sign up so you can be notified as soon as it is in stock.

here’s the link:

Updated Studio Gallery 8-7-09

howdy folks,

today I updated my studio gallery, I now have a whopping 49 sample pics up.  I have tried to cover a little of everything, from candids to posed shots, indoor and outside, sports, street photography,travel, portraits, pets, architecture, a little fine art and graphic design.  Most are a variant of painting or colorization or HDR.

here’s the link:

Hope it’s a better representation of my work than the last gallery.

Toon Boom Studio and Animate

Howdy folks,

I have been researching video and animation.  I keep running across an argument called Flash vs. Toon boom.  apparently, this is similar to the mac vs. pc argument (or ford vs. chevy).  I digress.

The software in question is from Toon Boom.  yup, silly name (kind of like outofnapkins – but a little more on topic), but pretty powerful software.  The also have some great marketing.

First, there are three main versions for adults. There are also three versions for children, but those don’t have enough features to satisfy any but the most basic animation desires.  The bottom level software is called Toon Boom Studio.  the mid-level is Toon Boom Animate and the top tier is Animate -Pro.  A good comparison chart can be found here:

the comparison of flash vs toon boom needs to clarify versions.  Just as macromedia flash 8 is vastly inferior to adobe flash cs4, different versions of the toonboom software have different capabilities. I digress again…

If you have ever wondered how they make those great Jib Jab videos, this program will give you a lot of insight.  I’m not saying they use Toon Boom, but it has many many features that can replicate a jib jab style video.  When paired with Flash and Adobe Premiere, I think you could mimic all but the most difficult techniques in the Jib Jab style.

p.s. I’m still trying to figure out how they did the three color technique (black, white and red) in the Wierd Al video: “CNR”

Crash and Burn – my pc has swine flu

howdy folks,

It doesn’t really have swine flu.  A really nasty bug just told me I should back up my data more often…

Here’s the story. The other day, my anti-virus popped up a warning message.  I selected the recommended action to abort the connection and delete the offending file.  five minutes later my computer crashed and gave me the blue screen of death. Ugh!!!  I tried restarting my computer but couldn’t get past the splash screen.

So, I reinstalled windows under a new directory and was able to salvage my pics, music and email data from the old files (almost 200 gigs of data) and backed them up to my external hard drive.  I didn’t have anything critical on the internal hard drive, it was mostly random junk that I had received in emails or images I had played around with in one of the many various image editing programs I have. My music was already backed up externally and on data dvds. 

The moral of the story,  use an external hard drive to back up your data.  It doesn’t take a hard drive failure, bad luck at surfing the internet can do it too. (I was at three sites that I trust and visit regularly).  Back up often and back up your back up on DVD, blu-ray, online backups or a second external drive.  If you have to take your computer in for a repair or just need to replace a hard drive, you will be thankful.  Consider it insurance against data loss.

I have said it before.  Keep your secondary backup in a place physically separate from your main backup.  Fire, theft, flood, children:  they can destroy all of your data (backups included) in one shot if you keep all of your data and backups right there together.

p.s. It doesn’t hurt to have a back up computer either, just in case you need to make a couple blog posts while you are fixing your other computer.

The Rules of Photography – in pictures

howdy folks,

This morning I was browsing through my various news sources and ran across a blog entry ( my dream studio) with some pretty cool pictures with test stating various photography rules.  I was intriged, so I clicked the link and found this was part of a set from the photography rules group on flickr (why didn’t I think of that).  They are part humor and part advice.  The pictures are all pretty good.  You just need to head over there and check them out for yourself.

sample from the rules of photography group

sample from the rules of photography group

another sample from the rules of photography group

another sample from the rules of photography group

I also wanted to share one of my blog news sources.  Here is my alltop link:

this is a chunk of the blogs that I check almost daily.