Strobist: The Complete Outdoor Kit

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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.

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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
 

Commodorefirst

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

Wade
 
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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.
 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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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".
 
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And here I thought the hammer was to get the SB-800 back into functioning order again...

OR

Protection against roving pack of dogs...

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

Just shows to go ya! :biggrin:
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2007
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Arizona
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"

haha....
 
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And here I thought the hammer was to get the SB-800 back into functioning order again...

OR

Protection against roving pack of dogs...

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

Just shows to go ya! :biggrin:
I guess you've never run into vampires on your shoots. Let me tell you, it can be hair raising.:smile:
 
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Jun 10, 2007
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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.

Bruce
 
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