Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Profoto Batteries For Twenty Bucks?!?

OK, one of my batteries on the Profoto AcuteB 600r packs finally died on me. It should be no surprise, as I've been foreshadowing this day in previous blog posts for a while now. I've had the kits for over three years, so they beat the odds (the batteries are estimated to last two years with regular use).

It was working OK the other day, but the yellow light would come on almost immediately after I started shooting. I knew it was on its last legs. The next day I took a pack with me for a new photo project I was trying out, and the thing just gave a pathetic whimper and wouldn't even turn on. It reminded me of a car with a bad battery that won't start. I tested the pack with another battery when I got back to the studio, just to trouble shoot things (and make sure it really was a bad battery and not a bad pack). Yup, the pack worked fine with a different battery, so I found my culprit!

There are a few options for replacement. One might be the new Lithium battery pack, but that is more than $600, and I am assuming that it requires a new, dedicated charger. Another option is to purchase a new Lead Acid battery cassette made by Profoto, selling most places for around $275. I went with option three (ordering a similar spec non-Profoto battery) for $20 each... we'll see how well it works when the new batteries arrive.

The batteries that I ordered show to be the same dimension as the Profoto battery. They have the same voltage and a slightly higher amperage. I am guessing they will get the job done just fine. As you can see below, removing the old battery was a snap. It's really just four screws and two connectors. I'm guessing that installation of the new batteries will be just as easy. These are the three main pieces to the battery cassette (not shown are the four screws):

So, we'll soon find out if I have found a good $20 per pack battery replacement for my Profoto AcuteB 600r packs. Let's keep our fingers crossed.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trains, trains and more trains...

The model train club was set up at a recent event I was hired to document for the museum. Who doesn't love model trains?!? They are fun to watch. My boys would've loved it and could've stood there all day!


It's a hard life...

You may look at the current issue of Quick and think, "Jason sure has it easy, getting to shoot bikini models for newspaper and magazine covers." Well, it may look like an easy and fun shoot, but looks can be deceptive!

Jessie, the model was awesome! She was very easy to work with and she made a tough shoot much easier. The location - Hotel Zaza - was amazing, with so many beautiful and exciting spots to shoot at. However, one key ingredient wasn't on our side... the weather! Yup, it was pouring down rain, so all these sexy, fun spots to shoot at were now off limits.

We thought about setting up under a large umbrella near the pool, but then it started to lightning and thunder. Giant metal poles and lightning don't mix, so that was out of the question. We had to come up with a summery spot to shoot, regardless of what mother nature was trying to do, so we finally found a covered area that looked out on a lush, green, ivy wall. With a little lighting magic, it was a hot summer day again!

We contrasted the outdoor cover and contents page photos by doing a nightclub style image inside on the story page. We found a room inside Zaza that had colored lights and flowing drapes. Using the red in the room to complement Jessie's red bikini top, we completed the shoot. I went for a single, hard light source on her, trying to mimic the feel of spotlights at a dance club. It's kind of like Miami meets McKinney Ave...

Yes, it was a hard shoot, thanks to all the pouring rain, thunder and lightning. However, I think I overcame all the obstacles and came out with some nice, summertime shots that look easy and carefree.


A new car, or...

I'm guessing most people will spend the money on bills or a new car, but there is another option - assuming you have the $24k to blow on seven new Zeiss lenses designed to make the Canon 5DmkII video really sing...


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Speedlight Beauty Dish?!?

If I hadn't just bought a bunch of stuff - hard drives, printing paper, etc - I'd probably buy and try this light modifier:

It's like a tiny beauty dish for your canon Speedlight! Cute, isn't it? I wonder if it does much. I used to use a small softbox rig when I was shooting with my Canon EOS-1V and a speedlight. It worked well, even though it was a bit bulky... it was 16x20" in size. This thing is more compact, which is a big plus!


Life as the VP keeps me busy...

Besides being a full-time photographer here in North Texas, I am also the vice president of the ASMP Dallas chapter. This keeps me busy. This morning I got up, fed the boys, then went up to the studio and handled a few client emails. Then I started working on some upcoming ASMP projects. Later today, I'll be dropping some image discs off to clients, making more phone calls, following up on more ASMP business, heading to the gym with the wife for a work-out (we are getting in shape and training for a 5K) and then finally... some relaxation in front of the television!

Oh, so one of the upcoming ASMP events that I'm trying to put together... a big seminar on photographers who have transitioned to (or added) video production services! It should be a great event! I just called Christopher Robbins out of New York to find out his level of interest in speaking at the event. I saw his blurb in the most recent PDN, so I checked out his work. I like the stock video clips he's producing. Hopefully, he sounds like a good fit when I talk to him on the phone.

We have some other great speakers lined up for that event, and I'll keep you posted when we have a firm date set. Otherwise, it's back to work for now. Life as a pro photog and a VP seems to be never ending!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bottle Rockets!!!

One of my clients is a children's museum, filled with learning and exploring opportunities for children of all ages. The PR and marketing photography that we do is all real - no professional models and stylists, just real kids. It can be hard to get those "perfect" pictures while working with real kids as they play, build, construct and learn. However, it can also provide photos that seem much more "real" than any posed model shot could!

Below are a few images from a discovery camp, as the kids learn how to build rockets from plastic soda bottles. They even got a chance to launch them outside, using compressed air as the rocket's propellant.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


Is it weird that a photographer would plug his competition? Not really, because we all have different shooting styles. Anyone who is looking for Misty's style isn't going to hire me, and anyone looking for my style would never hire her. It's not really competition... which brings me to the plug for Misty Keasler:

If you aren't familiar with her work, you should be. I first met Misty late at night while I was scanning some negatives up at The News. I think it was 2002 or 2003. She was visiting with a friend, and we talked for a bit. She has come a long way since then, but it doesn't surprise me much. Even then, she had quite a drive, and a lot of passion for photography. I'm glad to see that she's done so well since then. Heck, now she even has a few clients that I wouldn't mind adding to my resume!

Anyway, I thought you'd like to check out her work, as it is pretty nice. Definitely some good stuff being shot over there! Keep up the good work, Misty...