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While camera and lens companies continue to innovate, we also think that it’s great that lighting companies are also trying to do the same. Today’s announcement of the Broncolor FT lighting system has to be one the more brilliant and efficient use of lighting that we’ve seen in a while.

In essence, the system uses an actual Parabolic umbrella with adjustable light throw and a light tube that evenly spreads the light out throughout the umbrella. This is far different from a flash head that directly blasts light forward because it’s blasting light out in all directions and evenly illuminating the light modifier.

According to Broncolor’s Press release:

“what makes this unique is the new Para system uses a series of interchangeable Focusing Tubes. An FT focusing tube supports, positions and transfers power to the FT 1600W HMI and a 2000W Tungsten heads. The FT tube is wired for a lamp head with electrical connections integrated into the tube…The F tubes are designed for use with strobe heads or other third party fixtures that can be attached with the screw mount or by using one of the many attachment baskets made by broncolor.”

As for the products, the announcement focuses on the FT 1600 HMI system that boasts a lamp head and focusing tubes meant to to be used with the new Broncolor 88 HR and 133 HR Paras–which are said to be able to handle lots of heat that monolights output. In fact, Broncolor says that they can handle up to 2000W tungsten-halogen light sources.

With the parabolic umbrellas and the tubes working together, you essentially have two different variables that can control the flash exposure. Of course, there is the actual flash output but there is also the parabolic umbrella that acts as a zoom head akin to what you have on a hot shoe flash or to specifically shaped umbrella reflectors on more traditional studio strobes. The more narrow the beam due to the more narrow parabolic configuration, the more powerful it will look vs it being spread over a large area.

We’ve got no word on pricing yet, but considering that Broncolor offers the top of the line when it comes to lighting gear, don’t expect them to be cheap.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung GN58 Flash review product images (1 of 10)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 3.2

Samsung has been on a roll for a while with new technology in their lenses and cameras, but we should never forget about the other integral part of a camera system: flash. Not long ago, Samsung introduced the ED-SEF580, a Guide Number 58 flash that is meant to be used in the hot shoe of your camera or used off-camera and triggered via infrared transmission.

With enough of them around, a very excellent flash setup can be arranged–though that can become quite costly. For the most part, they’re very on par with what many other manufacturers offer. In general though, we have to be honest and state that at this point in the technology game, we expect much more from Samsung.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit product photos (6 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

We’re going to do you some justice: we’re not going to give you a list of lenses that will give you better macro images; that’s far too simple. The truth is that when combined with modern cameras, most any lens can do an incredible job. Instead, we’re going to tell you how to make your images even better without spending the equivalent of another lens.

The key to better macro images and better photos overall has to do with one thing: light. Yes, you can use natural light but it won’t always give you what you need to create an image that simply pops off the screen and grabs your viewers. Instead, you need to be in control of your light.

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Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

The image above didn’t originally look like that. Originally, the warm sunlight was only on the left side of the image (the pole) while the right side wasn’t touched by the light at all. Instead, it looked very blue and presented a mixed lighting situation. It didn’t look so great.

The way to fix mixed lighting situations when dealing with natural light has to do not only with proper white balancing, but also with gradients in Adobe Lightroom in order to correctly color balance other parts of a scene.

Gradients allow you to do a whole slew of things: add in extra lights, make those lights look like they are gelled, change white balances, add sharpening, etc.

This is a but of a longer Useful Photography Tip, so hit the jump to see what we’re talking about.

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All images by Art Dickinson. Used with permission.

“My interest in photography began when I inherited my uncle’s darkroom at age 14.” starts photographer Art Dickinson when telling us about his experimental headshot setup that he calls Colormax. Besides doing photojournalistic work, he photographed concerts by James Brown,Peter Paul and Mary, Jefferson Airplane and The Animals. Clearly, he’s been around the loops.

He began shooting full time in 1995 with a focus mostly on corporate headshots and environmental portraits. But he showed us his ColorMax portraits: which he describes as an offshoot of doing environmental portraits. If a pleasing environment is sort of bland I always gel a light or two in the background to perk things up.

The idea comes in use too as Art found himself in an office building doing a shoot and the only area e was given to shoot had no windows and just white walls. Art states that he uses three lights most of the time. “My main light is usually placed at camera right, an SB-800 in a 2×3 ft. soft box or shoot thru umbrella with a reflector on the opposite side for fill. The two background lights are also SB-800s. I have it on the floor at camera right and use an amber gel to simulate sunlight streaming in. I place a stem of artificial flowers in front of it as a gobo, this introduces a nice streak enhancing the sunlight effect.”

ColorMax came about when Art improvised using a potted plant in the office! “On camera left I place another SB-800 with the color of choice or in some cases a color in my clients color scheme.” He continued to state that it isn’t something for every client.

More samples showing off a different look than the one above are after the jump.

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Photographer Arthur Morris recently did a video with Canon’s Digital Learning Center about finding the right locations for bird photography. One of the biggest tips: have the sun behind you and try to line yourself up in the right angle with the sun. This makes sense, as the subject will be front lit naturally and you won’t be dragging out a big flash. When shooting silhouettes though, you want to do the opposite.

Morris also states that birds take off into the wind and land with it because they don’t like having their feathers ruffled. That means that you shouldn’t have the wind hitting you in the face when shooting.

“As long as the wind and light are somewhere behind you, you’re in good shape.”

The video on scouting locations for bird photography is after the jump.

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