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Strobist: The Complete Outdoor Kit

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. I just put the finishing touches on my lightweight outdoor Strobist kit. I added a carry bag (a $20 bag designed to carry baseball bats and balls), and some very important safety gear.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    The working part of this minimalist kit consists of one Speedlight, a lightstand, an umbrella, and a flash/umbrella bracket. The safety gear consists of a framing hammer, a 10" tent spike, and a 20" bungy cord.

    One of the biggest risks of doing Stobist stuff outdoors is the possibility... make that probability... that your umbrella will catch a gust of wind and blow over. Mine did at a recent shoot. Fortunately, the flash wasn't damaged, but the spokes for the umbrella were badly bent.

    Some folks recommend sandbags, but I prefer a collared tent spike. As you can see from the label, it's a 79 cent solution!

    View attachment 98554

    I use that big framer's hammer to bang the spike down, loop the bungy cord around it underneath the collar, put the lightstand directly over it, and then hook the loops of the bungy cord over the leg assembly.

    View attachment 98555

    Here's what the finished assembly looks like. It feels like it's nailed to the ground. Wait! It is nailed to the ground :biggrin:.

    View attachment 98556
  2. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Good idea with the bungee and stake, I would have had to scratch my head for a light weight kit like this,

  3. Looks good Frank. One suggestion I would make is to wrap your bungee once around your stand and then stretch it down and connect to the spike. In other words reverse the way you have set it up. This will keep from scratching your stand up with the bungee connectors.
  4. Very slick, Frank. I worked as a carpenter for years, so a hammer always looks like the right tool to me. :wink:
  5. The hammer will also come in useful if my subjects aren't cooperative ;-).
  6. topher04r1

    topher04r1 Guest

    perfect !! ..... but how do you fire the strobes ?? su800 ?

    Prehaps throw a bogen magic arm in there also ? .... ya never know what comes up ....
  7. SU800, but if you have a d70/d200/etc., the internal flash in commander mode will do for a minimalist kit.
  8. That's a GREAT solution to the wind problem, UF! I am about to buy a two umbrella kit, but have not wanted to carry around wieghts or sand-bags... the only limitation is that if one is shooting on cement/hard surface, then this will not work, but hey, a hammer, tent spikes and bungee cords weigh next to nothing, so take 'em anyways!
  9. sypher


    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    what a brilliant idea with the tent stake and bungee.
  10. Sharon


    Feb 18, 2006
    I've been trying to soak up all the information at the Strobist site for the last couple of weeks and wondered about keeping the stand/umbrella stable. The spike is a great idea! Thanks for sharing that information.
  11. Awesome kit Frank!!
  12. Test Results!

    I had an outdoor shoot yesterday, in gusty wind conditions, and the tent spike/bungy cord combo was the BOMB! The big 45" umbrella looked like a sail on the lightstand, which was raisesd to 8 feet, but the assembly was as solid as a rock.

    Note: for anyone who doesn't watch Randy Jackson on American Idol, The Bomb is current slang for "great".
  13. Since I need to learn lighting and equipment, subscribing.
  14. And here I thought the hammer was to get the SB-800 back into functioning order again...


    Protection against roving pack of dogs...

    BUT never for bunge-cording a light stand to the ground...

    Just shows to go ya! :biggrin:
  15. mr2monster


    Jun 29, 2007
    haha... before reading your thread (just looked at the top pic) I was questioning where you were shooting outdoors if you needed a hammer and a spike for "safety"..... I thought to myself "Pepper spray is lighter and maybe a little more effective depending on your approach"

  16. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I guess you've never run into vampires on your shoots. Let me tell you, it can be hair raising.:smile:
  17. Thanks Uncle Frank. Appreciate your passion for sharing knowledge.
  18. Great idea, Frank. Which umbrella stand do you use? My old eyes couldn't make out the brand from your photo. When I first saw the bungee cord and stake I thought you were into some kinky stuff.

  19. Hehehe, that's too funny! :866:

    I use an Impact 8 ft. air cushioned stand.

    A pair of them, and some other good stuff, came with this kit:

  20. Stick a nail gun in there for concrete.....:rolleyes: 

    nice kit, looks truly portable - lightweight and folds up small.
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