6 ƒ-stop Range • 1/10 ƒ-stop increments • Wireless Triggering • 400 Watt second Battery Powered
Digital Power Control • 550 – 800* Full Power Flashes • AC / DC Power
Dynalite, America’s leading manufacturer of lightweight, portable flash equipment, just released their new totally wireless Baja B4 compact flash. The powerful 400 watt second Baja B4 is packed with unexpected features and performance in a battery powered wireless controlled strobe. Inspired by years of working side-by-side with on-location shooters demanding a better portable flash solution, the Baja B4 delivers more than expected.
At first glance, the Baja B4’s well laid out control panel clearly gets your attention. From the big LED screen, logically placed buttons and dual function control knobs it’s easy to jump in and start shooting. Light output is easily increased or decreased in 1/10th stop increments with the micro-controller dual-function power dial. A power indicator display just below the main LCD screen gives up to the shot details on the rechargeable Li-ion battery’s status, so you never miss a shot. In addition, a similar power dial for the modeling light provides light level control of the LED modeling light.
On-location or in the studio, the Baja B4 sports a impressive 550 full manual flashes on one fully charged battery. With a quick battery change (optional extra battery), you can be back in the action in seconds, while the other battery charges in less than 5 hours. Pumping out an impressive flash duration of 1/500 to 1/12,800th of a second, the Baja B4 can stop action meeting the demands of most fashion and sports shoots. With a 6 ƒ-stop aperture range in 1/10th step increments, the Baja B4 accommodates the sophistication of critical exposure control with repeatable light output and color temperature consistence.
Sophisticated features such as the fast flash duration mode (T-Mode), provides a quick and repeatable way to select the correct flash duration for high speed flash photography. In stroboscopic mode (C-Mode), it’s possible to select 5, 10 or 15 flashes per second to capture multiple movements of a subject with the flash output power of the Baja B4. Other features such as built-in optical slave, audible flash indicators, Pyrex glass dome and metal light stand swivel mount round out the features.
In addition, the Baja B4 includes a 2.4Ghz power control wireless triggering system. The receiver with status indicators, mini-channel display plugs directly into the control panel of the Baja B4, while the hot shoe transmitter with full power control buttons and dials mounts directly on the camera. Up to six separate groups of flash units can be controlled with 16 selectable channels per group. Selecting which flash unit fires and at what power level is fully controlled at the camera position up to 590 feet away at 1/250th of a second shutter synch.
The Baja B4 accepts the standard Bowens lighting accessories mount, offering the convenience of a wide variety of light shaping tools including the full line of Dynalite soft boxes, reflectors and umbrellas.
*800 flashes possible when connecting to AC Battery Charger
Click here to see more of Kevin’s Work
The goal for the shoot was to have the model completely backlit with enough light wrapping around her to fill in her features. The super white background paper is lit with two Dynalite MP800 power packs each with an MH2065v location head aimed into a V-Flat. Each V-Flat is at a 45º angle to the paper, one on each side.
Each MP800 delivered 400 watt seconds of light. The light from each V-Flat is measured separately with a Sekonic L-758DR incident meter placed in the center of the background with the dome pointed at the camera. The V-Flat on the dark side was moved in until it matched the reading from the brighter side. Once each individual reading is the same, the light is even.
White sheer curtains are hung from another background stand in front of the V-Flats.
A reflected reading of the background (f/22) placed directly on the camera will make it middle gray. Add three stops of light to the exposure by opening up to f/8.0 and the background becomes white.
Vanessa wearing a white tutu is kneeling less than arm’s length from the sheers. The light from the curtains envelops her. The camera is set on Tungsten (Canon) or Incandescent (Nikon) white balance to create “Blue Vanessa.” – Kevin Ames
Dynalite XP800: Cutting Through The Mix
By Vincent Ricardel
While on location, the Dynalite XP-800 has proved useful in the most critical of lighting conditions. That means, cutting through shade, heavy backlight and all the while, utilizing studio quality lighting where access to AC power doesn’t exit. The following images were made in mountainous and desert conditions that presented numerous lighting challenges.
This set of images were made during the production of an independent short film “AUGUST” (Directed and Produced by Ian Roach.) The conditions were challenging due to rain, heavy shade and shifting sunlight.
The following stills are from three scenes where the XP800 served as an effective tool to provide power in shaded and low ambient light conditions.
Scene 1 was shot following a heavy rainstorm in the middle of a forest in the mountains of West Virginia. The sun had just emerged with particles of light emerging through a heavy canopy of treetops.
The XP800 powered a 1000xr power supply, a SH2000 head with an SR-80 Beauty Dish. This combination cut right through the open shade and clearly defined my subject against the background.
Scene 2 was shot in a very dark cabin. The only existing ambient light was a result of sunlight transmitting through the windows and candlelight on the walls. The shadow areas were still heavy. To compensate, I placed the power supply on the same axis with the sun to supplement the window light giving me more dynamic range in the shadows and highlights. The XP800 powered a 1000xr power supply, a SH2000 head with an SR-80 Beauty Dish.
Scene 3 was made in the open shade on the porch of the same cabin. The XP800 powered the 1000xr power supply, a SH2000 head with an SR-80 Beauty Dish. It provided the right amount of fill light to define the tones and mood of this image.
Shooting in the desert also has its challenges, dust, heat, glaring sunlight and the indigenous wildlife that makeup a rich topical landscape. While my time in Joshua Tree was limited, I set out to make a series of images of what ended up being a long and arduous day of shooting.
I ran my equipment hard. I had to be mobile but have enough power to override the dominating sunlight. Again, I chose to use one of my older Dynalite power supply packs, a 1000xr with the newer 2060 flash head and a 35’ Grand Softbox. All powered by the XP800 power supply. I started my journey about 8am and ended sometime around 6:30pm. Most of my shots required a heavy output of power. Shooting at ISO 100 my prime settings were between f11-f16 back-lit by the sun. My 1000xr was almost at full capacity and the XP800 handled the heavy pace of shooting flawlessly. I never had to change out the battery. That says a lot.
Needless to say, by day’s end my equipment had taken it’s fair share of abuse in the elements and had also taken on a new hue of color from the build up dust and desert debris… nothing a damp cloth and dust gun could not solve.
“For me. It’s all about cutting through the mix…..shade, overcast and back light. This is where the XP800 excels. It provides the juice to solve these those challenges. The saving grace is that the battery life is excellent.
Dynalite’s serve me well. They’re light, reliable and tough. It’s just good stuff.
Scene 3 a
Scene 1 final
Coming Soon Vincent’s account on shooting with the XP-800 on location in the Desert
As seen in Shutterbug September 2014
Vincent Ricardel had a unique vision for capturing in both still image and video of a “Human Butterfly,” using a variety of Dynalite heads and modifiers he was able to accomplish the desired lighting effects this project needed. Each light was placed on opposite sides behind the model. Both of these lights were positioned high and aimed at a 45º angle toward model’s hairline. The spill created enough luminance to highlight the silk shear fabric that was sewn to resemble a butterfly wing. The ends of each wing were held by assistants carefully moving the fabric to create texture and simulate a sense of movement. The back-light created a dynamic effect not only on the hair but on the texture of the sheer fabric.
The spill from the Key, Fill and Background lights also created a soft-light on the dry ice hovering on the studio floor.
Key-Light- 71″ Grand, SH-2000 Bi-tube Head, and SP-1600 Studio power supply.
Fill Light- MH-2065v Head- with 12×16 softbox, Roadmax MP-800 Power Supply.
Two more SH-2000 heads, each powered with a XP-800 power supply, outfitted with a 35″ Grand Softbox with no diffusion.
It took one day to prep the studio and construct a 1.5′ high retaining wall around the shooting area to contain the dry-ice from dissipating throughout the studio. Another six hours to paint the model on day of production. Almost a full day to sew the shear and construct a pulley system to manually adjust the fabric to simulate the contour of the butterfly wings. The model had to move carefully since the ends of each wing was attached to her back with gaffer tape. The call time on the day of the shoot was 8am and the first shots were probably not made until 3pm. We wrapped by 5:30pm just under 3 hours of shooting for what took nearly 2 full days to prepare for. Many thanks to my 4 photo production assistants, stylist, body airbrush make up artist, traditional make up artists, hairstylist, and the director of photography for the video content of the shoot as well as his 2 assistant camera operators who all made this possible.
The video was back lit with two 2065 heads using 650 watt modeling bulbs. As I said above, the stills portion of the shoot ran till 5:30pm, each segment of the video portion ran additional 3hrs. Each segment was filmed and photographed over three days. Here you can see the completed Butterfly Video
BUTTERFLY from Vincent Ricardel on Vimeo.
This is from an assignment I shot at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA. The MIT Media Lab is a hub for innovative creations and ore of my favorite places to photograph. I was at the Media Lab looking for interesting projects to photograph when I met That Starner who was working on wearable computing. Starner is now a professor at Georgia Tech. The idea for this shoot came about when Starner showed me a pair of glasses that had a computer monitor in the center of one lens, which he connected to a small computer in his pocket. With no preplanning, this is what I cam up with. Little did I know this was the beginning of “Google Glass.”
The lighting on this photograph is 2 strobes and 2 computer monitors. I had to match the brightness of the two computer screens to determine my exposure, matching the brightness of the large monitor in the background and the small computer screen embedded in his glasses. To obtain the exposure I used the meter in my camera. I needed a lot of depth of field for this shot, so that glasses and my subject were in focus. My focal point was Starner, seen through the glasses. The glasses were clamped to a light stand with a Superclamp. The main light was a Dynalite MP-800 power pack and a Dynalite head with an extension tube, a grid holder on the end of the extension tube, a 10º grid and a sheet of Rosco Tough Spun over the grid to soften the light.
I really needed to control my light on the subject, so there was no light spilled on the glasses or the screen behind the subject. Just off set, on the right side, I set up a speed light with Rosco yellow gel and a snoot made of Cinefoil to outline the frame of glasses with color. The Cinefoil snoot was brought down so it was about a 1º opening. When making shoots out of Cinefoil, which is black tin foil, you have flexibility to make any shape you want with any size opening giving you great control over the output from your Dynalite heads. To determine the exposure of both the speed light and the Dynalite, I used a Sekonic light meter. If you are maxing speed lights and studio strobes, you speed light needs to be on the manual setting and not the TTL setting.
See more of Rick Friedman’s “How To’s” of Location Lighting on his blog where every Tuesday he has another tip that he shares from his Location Lighting Workshops with Rick Friedman!