Category Archives: Portraits

GH5 with Leica 12-60mm at Shutterfest

This was one of my very first images captured with the GH5 using the Leica 12 – 60 lens while the model was being prepped.  The image is a jpg capture in sRGB.  Click on the image to view it larger.

Also posted in Lens, Lighting, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography Tagged , , , , , |

Lume Cube Review

The makers of Lume Cube have a new  smaller and less powerful but a highly efficient light designed for phone photography called the Life Lite.  This is a smart, Bluetooth controlled, pocket-sized Lifestyle Light for iPhone, Android, DSLR or a GoPro. The Life Light will be available in March.

This gadget review however, is of the original Lume Cube and the cheaper version that does not have any bluetooth connectivity. Both are identical in performance and while you can controll one with a smart phone the lite version is all manual.  I have been using the Lume Cube for many months and have been most satisfied with its performance and portability.  I have used these lights for macro, video and portraiture and love the results they have helped produce.


  • Type LED
  • Output Variable: 0 to 1500 Lumens
  • Strobe: Variable 1/8000 to 1 second
  • Mount Type: 1/4″-20 female
  • Power Source: Integrated battery
  • Battery Duration: 100% Brightness: 20 minutes; 90% Brightness: 60 minutes; 50% Brightness: 120 minutes
  • Power Connector: USB (for charging)
  • Waterproof Depth: 100′ / 30.5 m
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5″


The Lume Cube comes in a small cube shaped cardboard box that contains the Lume Cube and a USB charging cable.

You do need to unscrew a small cover to access the charging port.  This access cover is a requirement as the Lume Cube is rated to be waterproof to depth of 100 feet.

Shaped as a cube, the unit has two rubberized push button switches on the top and a 1/4 20 mount that can be used to mount the light on a light stand, tripod or any flexible light mounting device.

The two push buttons control the video light and the alternate flash function of the device. Each time you depress the on/off video switch the light cycles through 10 levels of intensity.

You can also control the Lume Cube using the mobile app. Lume Cube has simplified its lighting controls with a proprietary wireless, Bluetooth-enabled app, available on both Apple iOS and Android. The app is capable of controlling up to 5 Lume Cubes simultaneously. The app allows you to adjust the brightness, flash duration and red eye latency on each Lume Cube independently; and with its onboard optical sensor, Lume Cube can be configured as a slave flash unit to be fired by any other external flash.You have to register your Lume Cube to sync it to your app once registered you can control all your Lume Cube’s power and settings separately.

Lume Cube Setup and test for portraits

To test the Lume Cubes I fitted two Lume Cubes on two separate light stands. The “Main” Lume Cube was place so as to create Rembrandt lighting on the dummy head.  The second was place to create a gentle fill.  As you can see from the image below, the Lume Cube, due mainly to its size creates a fairly hard light.  The settings were ISO 200, f/1.7 at 1/125 sec. using a Panasonic Lumix GX85 body and a Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 lens wide open.  The light emitted is cool and for this test I used an X-Rite Color Checker Passport to balance the temperature.

The second test was conducted with the same placement of the lights but instead of the Lume Cubes facing the dummy head directly the light was bounced off two Rogue Flash Benders.  No Diffusion material was used.

As you can see the light was much softer and way more pleasing in the image below.  The settings were ISO 640, F/1.7 at 1/80 sec.  Clearly there is about 3 stops of light loss when using the Flash Benders.  However, the soft light is excellent for portraiture.


Lume Cube for Macro/Close-up Photography

The Lume Cube produces a really hard light as it is a very small light, but also a very powerful one.  The Lume Cubes were about 1.5 inches from the subject.  Exposure triad: F/4, 1/800 sec., ISO 640.  The lens was a 30mm macro with an extension tube.  Camera: Panasonic Lumix GX85.

The following is the setup:

The image shown below is a 45 image stack using the GX85’s focus bracketing feature.

The portability of these little powerhouses has me convinced, and I tend to carry two in my bag at all times.


Also posted in Accessories, Lighting, Lumix GX85, Macro, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photography, Product Reviews, Stacked Image

One Day Workshop Schedule

_DSC4115-Edit 3

The following is the workshop schedule for the first half of 2016:


Workshop details are available from the Registration Page.

March 20 – Macro and Close-up Photography

March 26 – Flash Photography, High Speed flash, creative lighting

April 3 – Macro and Close-up Photography

April 9 – Portrait and Lighting Techniques

April 10 – Digital Photography A-Z.  This is a one day three part course that will teach you camera basics, post processing and printing.

June 4 – The Digital Darkroom – a course that covers image capture, asset management, processing and enhancement, output to print and web media. A one day program for digital image making workflow

June 5 – Flash Photography, High Speed flash, creative lighting

June 11 – Timelapse Photography, post processing and video assembly

June 12 – Macro and Close-up Photography

If you have any questions or would like more information please call 617-759-0010 or email

Please use this REGISTRATION link to register for these workshops.

Also posted in Composite, Flowers, High Key, Lighting, Macro, Mirrorless, Noise Reduction, Panning, Photography, Software, Stacked Image, Strobes, Time-Lapse, Tips, Workshops

Testing Affinity from Serif

Have not had a lot time to test the 2nd Beta release of Affinity but gave it a good shot yesterday.  Still a lot to learn, but on the whole, I like it a lot.  Has some great features built in, the filters are great but not sure I like the fact that it creates an intermediate file.  The following is an image processed entirely using Affinity (Sony Raw to a TIFF export).

Kristina (70 South Gallery - Workshop) - Sony A7R, Zeiss Touit 500mm f/2.8, Exposure triad - ISO 100, f/11, 1/125 sec.  Lastolite Trigrip Gold reflector.

Kristina (70 South Gallery – Workshop) – Sony A7R, Zeiss Touit 500mm f/2.8, Exposure triad – ISO 100, f/11, 1/125 sec. Lastolite Trigrip Gold reflector for the key light.

Also posted in Lens, Lighting, Mirrorless, Photographs, Photography, Product Reviews, Sony A7R, Workshops Tagged , , , |

70 South Gallery – Lighting Workshop


Outdoors at noon against the stone walls of a church

The 70 South Gallery – Lighting and Model Photography workshop was a huge success.  Thanks to some great organization by “Adventures in Photography” (NJ, NY and New England) and the 70 South Gallery, Morristown, NJ.  The workshop was sold out and we were fortunate to have decent weather for some of the outdoor shoots.  I would like to thank the participants, the models and the organizers for all the hard work and support that made this so awesome.

Studio lights were Profoto and Arri, outdoor speed lights were Nissin and personal on and off camera flashes.  Lastolite reflectors and the Phottix Luna but dish were also incorporated in the various sessions.

Also posted in Accessories, Educational, Lighting, Photographs, Photography, Presentations, Strobes, Workshops Tagged , , , , , |

2015 First Quarter – One Day Workshops

Faux IR Iris

Faux IR Iris

Wishing you and your families a Very Happy & Prosperous New Year

The One Day Workshops for the first quarter of 2015 have been posted.

They are listed on the One Day Workshop Page


You may go directly to the Registration Page to get details and register.

All one day workshops include a Pizza Lunch

Also posted in Accessories, Educational, Photography, Presentations, Software, Strobes, Time-Lapse, Workshops

Elinchrome D-LiTE-RX4 – Review

S5A9669-Edit.jpgElinchrom’s new D-Lite-RX 2/4 200/400 ws strobes are excellent low sync speed semi portable studio worthy strobes.  The ”it” designation is for Intelligent Triggering.

Each strobe head is made from a rugged impact resistant plastic that has a rubberized top handle with a holder for a spare fuse.with many new exciting  features. The kit contains two strobes, power cables, two Portalite square soft boxes, with bayonet mounts.  Included is one reflector.

Each head has a built-in Skyport” receiver and a four channel Skyport transmitter is included with the kit.The transmitter is an optional item for single units.  All heads are fan cooled when needed. The kit includes a pair of Manfrotto light stands and all carrying cases.


The heads are available in 200 and 400 Watt versions. My units are 400 Watts. The control panel is well configured as shown in the image below.


Control Panel – Image courtesy of Elinchrome


RX4 Spec

Technical Specifications – as provided by Elinchrome

The power switch is illuminated when the head is powered on.  A two position LED indicates the power setting, with two buttons to increase or decrease the power in 1/10 increments. Another button allows you to set the modeling light at full power, minimum power, proportional power or off. There is a strobe trigger button called the Eye-Cell and is programmable for Auto, Manual or Pre-Flash modes.  This is very useful when using a hot-shoe flash to trigger the D-Lites. Finally there is a button to turn on or off the audible beep.  The units have a decent recycling rate recharging in .35 to 1.6 seconds based on the power output setting.  A great feature is “Auto Dumping”. When you lower the power output the nut will automatically dump the excess charge and indicates it is ready with a beep.



Assembling the Portalite soft boxes takes up most of the time. There is one addition I would like, a secondary diffusion panel inside the Portalite Softbox. The rest is easy.  The units come preconfigured to work with the Skyport set on the Frequency Channel 1 and Group 1.  Changing channels and groups is easy and accomplished pressing the power up and down buttons together, then toggling the function using the modeling lamp mode button and using the individual power up or down buttons to

select the following:

  • Groups 1 through 4
  • Channels 1 through 8

At any time you can do a Master Reset to factory defaults switching off the unit, holding the power up and down buttons and switching on the unit again.

S5A9674-Edit.jpgThe unit has two umbrella mounts. one is a centered tube that will accept 7mm diameter umbrella shafts that are on the Elinchrome EL umbrellas. If you do not have EL umbrellas you can mount an off centered umbrella in the secondary mount near the tilt handle.

For most of the work I do in studio I find these to be an excellent choice.  The units work flawlessly. I have two sets in my studio and for the past 8 months these have never missed a beat. The power output and color temperature are consistent and the supplied cases are ideal for transportation to allocation shoots.

I highly recommend these units to anyone looking for an excellent high quality starter system.  My preference is for the 400W units.

These can be purchased for $949 for the 400WS heads and $849 for the 200WS heads.  Individual heads are also available but the best price breaks are when you purchase a kit.

Also posted in Accessories, High Key, Lighting, Photography, Product Reviews Tagged |

Metering Modes and How Your Camera Meter Works

My latest article has been published in Digital Photography School.  Non DPS subscribers may read it using the link below.  There are lots of excellent articles and product reviews available in DPS and they are all free.

Click Here for the article

Also posted in Accessories, Educational, Lighting, Photography, Strobes, Tips Tagged , , , , |

2014 – 1st Quarter One-Day Workshops

Here is the schedule for the first Quarter of  2014.  Please use this REGISTRATION link for details about each workshop and to register.


January 11 – Product Photography and Lighting Techniques

January 12 – Food Photography and Lighting Techniques

January 18 – Lighting for Portraiture

January 19 – Timelapse Photography, post processing and video assembly

January 25 – Macro Closeup

January 26 – The Digital Darkroom – a course that covers capture to process and enhancement to output to print and web media. A one day program for digital image making workflow

February 1 – Flower Photography, Textures, Blending and more

February 2 – Lightroom 5

February 8 – HDR – done right using Photoshop, Photomatics, NiK HDR Efex 2, Enfuse

February 9 – Macro Closeup

February 22 – Timelapse Photography, post processing and video assembly

February 23 – Photography Basics 1 day Class 

March 1 – Flash Photography

March 2 – Lightroom 5

If you have any questions or would like more information please call 617-759-0010 or email sv @ (please remove the spaces)


Also posted in Educational, Flowers, Lighting, Macro, Motion, News, Photography, Presentations, Software, Stacked Image, Time-Lapse, Video, Workshops

One Day Workshop Schedule for December 2013

Here is the schedule for the remainder of  2013.  Please use this REGISTRATION link to register and pay for these workshops.  Please also fill out and mail or bring with you the Workshop Registration and Waiver Form  This is an electronic form, you may print it and then fill it out or fill it out directly and then print the required copies.

Click on the links for detailed PDF documents.

December 7, 2013 – Photography Basics a one day class   

December 8, 2013 –  Time-Lapse Workshop

December 21, 2013 – Lighting Workshop

December 22, 2013 – Macro and Closeup Photography

If you have any questions or would like more information please call 617-759-0010 or email

Also posted in Educational, Lighting, Macro, News, Photographs, Photography, Stacked Image, Strobes, Time-Lapse, Tips, Workshops