Light Modifiers for Travel

WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member
edited February 2015 in Nikon Flashes
I am going to Italy in a few weeks and will be bringing my RRS tripod with a BH-55 ballhead with Lever Release with me for long exposure photography. I will also be bringing my portrait lenses with me to shoot portraits with off camera flash. I am just missing a few items for the off camera flash.

I have a FA-CS3 from RRS which enable me to attach one of my SB-910s directly to the BH-55 LR. I can also attach my SB-910 to one of my Flex TT5s by Pocket Wizard which in turn will mount on the FA-CS3.

Great, I have off camera flash. But now what I want to do is include a small umbrella or softbox to the setup. I will probably want to dispense with the RRS FA-CS3 and mount the umbrella to a clamp which will in turn mount to the LR on top of my BH-55 ballhead (Arca-swiss) and also position my SB-910 (which will be mounted to my PocketWizard Flex TT5) to shoot through the umbrella/softbox.

What would you guys recommend?


  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    One good option is using a white round reflector disc and use it to have an indirect light source with the flash pointed at it . It's extremely light, folds up to basically no volume at all and the mounts you need for the setup on a light stand are also very light and small.

    And, lastly, the light is great, it's just like a softbox.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    My thinking today is to use something like this,
    bouncing the flash into it over the camera. It should give a nice "glamor light" and can be easily stored when folded.

    Your job will be to fabricate the needed brackets so as to have it all attached to the camera bracket.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Here js a very portable one
    I have that and the bigger 24x24

    And also The wescott pocketbox max 8x12

    I like both but for extra diffusion the lastolite would do the job.
    The wescott folds flat and best for travel.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited March 2015
    One of the things I like to do when I go to a new city is explore the camera shops. You could save yourself some hassle and buy the reflectors when you get to Italy and interact with some go the locals this way too. Plus you can get it duty free as a tourist :-)
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member
    edited March 2015
    All great advice guys. I have avoided suggestions that require an extra stand and will not work with my tripod. I will be lugging everything around Rome and have enough weight already - D800 on left shoulder, tripod in right hand and my Billingham photovest with my 20, 28, 50, 85, 135 and 200 (I might dump one) plus SB-910, pocketwizards and accessories. I am about 10 pounds overweight and need to burn some calories on this trip.

    So I took Vipemediastar's advice and bought the Lastolite from B&H (amoung other things). It will be perfect and I know it will fit, as it just wraps around the speedlight.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    So I took Vipemediastar's advice and bought the Lastolite from B&H (amoung other things). It will be perfect and I know it will fit, as it just wraps around the speedlight.
    The thing is, it will get your light (slightly) softer (=> still a very small surface of light), but if you leave it on camera, it won't change the character, i.e. it will still look like an on-camera flash. The decisive step is to get the light source off camera.

    Now that you already bought the on-flash softbox, this advice is obsolete, but just in case you should ever have a reflector at hand such as the one @Msmoto posted: You can hold the reflector (white surface) slightly above and to camera left and have your on-camera flash point at it to get a somewhat good, more natural looking, somewhat softer light source. Or in case the wireless Nikon trigger thingie works when the Lastolite is on the flash, you can of course also just take the flash off the camera and hold it up/left with your left arm.

    Check out if you like the results better than directly on-camera flash. Maybe you don't, but it's worth trying.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member
    Have a look at my first post. You will see that I have that figured out with my RRS tripod.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    @WestEndFoto I forgot to recommend the Rogue flashbenders. I like them as well but if you don't want the light to spill and controll it better I beleive the lastolite in comparison would be better.

    If you go the Lastolite product page You will see that you can easily mount on top of the camera and the sb-910 will handle it just fine (lens would have to be long prefferably.)
    The softbox also comes with a nikon kit with a ttl cord and handle but since PW will be used that kit may be unnecessary.

    I used my sb-910 with the phottix odin on them on the stand with no issues so you will be fine.

    Joe Mcnally is a fan of these products and you can find some youtube videos on these products or directly from Lastolite site. Link here

  • danhowldanhowl Posts: 36Member this is not going to be a cheap suggestion.

    I think I perceive exactly what you are seeking. I went thru the same about a year ago after finally getting an SB910 after years of not using a speed light. You already have the TT1/5 and the SB910 so that is the big expense. I wanted a somewhat soft lighting modifier and I didn't have a beauty dish at the time.

    I found the Chimera Collapsable Beauty Dish (24"). Lovely light, especially closer-in. Folds to almost insanely small pouch considering the size, really nice build quality. I use it in studio as well as carrying with me almost everywhere. Great combo with the SB910 with TT1/5.

    I saw that you don't want to carry separate light stand and I felt the same. I use my set up on a carbon-fiber monopod that also has folding legs (Feisol), but it would work just as well with a tripod. I keep the TT1/5 and bracket for speeding in the PocketWizard pouch and in that I also keep a couple different thread adaptors (Bogen spigots) and an Arca-style quick release plate. I can quickly change between the Arca plate for the top of tripod to an additional spigot for to put on Century grip head for regular light stand. Both allow for tilt-able positioning.

    The outdoor shot was captured with the above described set-up:

    D3X, D800, 17-35, 28-70, Zeiss 55mm OTUS, 85mm Zeiss CF.2, 85mm PCE, 70-200 VRII, 105DC
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member
    This looks like a great idea too Danhowl. I will probably investigate getting this in April after I get back.

    I take my speedlights seriously. I have five SB-910s with a full set of Pocketwizards.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,444Member
    Are you emigrating or going on holiday ?..if its a holiday take a SB400 or Mk300 and a flash flipper and dump the rest.
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    edited March 2015
    Have a look at my first post. You will see that I have that figured out with my RRS tripod.
    Ok, sorry, I missed the PocketWizards. The rest was to much XC-547-DH and RTZ-3000 stuff for me to know what you're doing and where you're attaching what. I still don't know what it is, but it sounds like you have it figured out :-)

    Post edited by FlowtographyBerlin on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,745Member
    Basically my SB-910 will attach to my Pocketwizard which will attach to a small adapter from RRS which attaches to my ballhead's quick release just like my D800/L-plate combo. A great travel solution, as long as I am bringing the tripod anyway.
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