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Field Review: LiteTrek Portable Strobe Kit (Day 3) – Ghosts of Stroud cemetary

Ghosts Of Stroud Cemetary
Ghosts Of Stroud Cemetary

Ghosts Of Stroud Cemetary

It’s been quite a while since I last tested the LiteTrek Pro light kit. You can read my first impressions here and my on-site review Sexy Squatter in an Abandoned Factory. The reason I was quiet about it since then is because in my neck of the woods it hasn’t stopped raining since March. Now I’m back to show you how I used this kit to capture the ever-elusive ghosts of Stroud cemetary.


The Feature

One of the really interesting and unique things about the LiteTrek kit is that it has built-in stroboscopic capabilities. This is not often useful but can at times create really creative images. For those unfamiliar with stroboscopic work, this is when a strobe light fires many times in quick succession – generally within a single longer exposed image. For some excellent stroboscopic work used for physics textbooks and other science applications I recommend you check out fphoto.com. Generally this is done using highly specialized and expensive equipment so I was very interested in the fact that it was included in such an affordable kit.

ghosts Of Stroud

ghosts Of Stroud

The setup

I shot these images with my Nikon D300 on a Gitzo tripod. I don’t use tripods often but since these were several second exposures it was necessary. I first tried the light with an open head but quickly discovered it didn’t light the entire scene evenly enough so I added on an extra large softbox using the Impact relflector adapter and a bowens speedring. In some of the images I used the 5 flash setting and in others the 10, always on full power.

Power

My goal is nearly always to shoot at the lowest ISO possible (200 in the case of the D300) and adjust other settings as necessary to gain a proper exposure. With that in mind I had hoped to shoot these images at ISO 200 with several second exposures. However, what I discovered was that the power had to be reduced significantly enough to distribute it over several flashes without time for a recharge that in order to get a proper exposure I had to shoot at f/2.8, creating far too shallow a depth of field to create images that were in focus throughout the shot. I had to raise the ISO to 800 in order to obtain an f-stop of 7.1 which gave me enough of a depth of field to capture the image properly. In a long exposure this isn’t ideal, but fortunately today’s cameras handle both high ISO and long exposures much better than digital cameras in the past did, so the results were acceptable after a little work in Lightroom and Photoshop.

ghosts Of Stroud

Ghosts Of Stroud

Model Light Issues

Again I had issues with the limitation of this kit turning the model light off after 10 seconds. In this case it wasn’t because of autofocus issues as there was no way to do this shoot except with manual focus. Rather this time I wanted to use the model light as an intermediary light source to create blur and add to the mystique of the image. However it was impossible to turn on the model light, run back to the camera, cue the model and click the shutter all within the ten second limitation. Therefore I had to settle for shooting without.

ghosts Of Stroud
ghosts Of Stroud

Strength

This strobe’s mountings are not strong enough for an extra large softbox and it was impossible to position the light as I wanted to. However it was strong enough to make it through the shoot and

Nothing broke, so I think a large softbox or anything lighter than that should be fine.

Battery power

The battery lasted through three shoots without a recharge. This is really ideal, it should last through a wedding or other longer shoots without a problem.

Result

Despite finding a few flaws in this setup, the images came out pretty much exactly as I envisioned them. The portability of bringing a kit like this out to a cemetery was ideal, and the added feature of stroboscopic settings is extremely cool. I really enjoyed this work and any complaints I have are only because I was really pushing its’ limits. For any photographer that loves studio lighting but wants more from the environments I highly recommend this kit, and have really enjoyed working with it.

ghosts Of Stroud

ghosts Of Stroud

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