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Dallas

Why I haven't been posting so much lately

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I am supposed to be taking the lead with content on FZ, but unfortunately my life is a bit of a mess right now and my head is very far away from making the content I wanted to be making on a weekly basis. I am dealing with some pretty heavy personal stuff that I can't really talk about online for various reasons and there's also a whole lot of negative stuff happening in my country too. Worse than usual. It seems that apart from dealing with the ever plundering government and its ineptitude, we now have to deal with urban terrorism again, for the first time since 1994 (see here). We shop in the Pavilion Woolworths grocery section every other weekend. Kinda scary. 

 

My time has also been chewed up in the past few weeks with trying to make a living as a photographer, which in this day and age isn't the easiest thing to do. It's very competitive out there, so I am working well below the rates of old while fuel prices are at their highest levels ever. Then there's having to deal with clients who think it's ok to pay on their own time frame, which exists in some parallel universe. I know, big pity party I'm having here, right? I apologise. 

 

Well, on the plus side I swapped my Rotolight Neo for a proper, full size product shooting table on Friday. This thing eats up about 1/5 of the space in my office, but is so awesome that it's size can be overlooked. When I got it there were no instructions for assembly at all, so putting it together was a bit of trial and error. The hardest part was getting the enormous piece of perspex clamped on correctly. That's a 2 man job. It's still slightly skew, but only those of us with Teutonic characteristics will notice it. In the past I have used an old piece of white vinyl sheeting hung from the picture rail with two hooks and a trestle table to do my pack shots (you can see this in the assembly pic below), but this table opens up a whole lot of other options. I can light products from below which gives a completely shadowless effect, as well as attach small lights at any point of the table for various effects. And that is a current conundrum. I only have the two Olympus FL-600R speedlights and three enormous 500W Menik a/c strobes, which in this small space with their stands, can present some problems. I have been trying to sell them for a while now, but the market is chock full of cheap Chinese lighting, plus all the kids want the strobes with built in Li-Ion batteries now, so these old girls don't find many suitors. I'll probably hang onto them and just get a couple of those Yongnuo 560 speedlight units. 

 

I am contemplating running some courses for people who want to learn how to do pack shot work, so I might make a few videos about how I do it and then post these on a paywall part of FZ. I don't know. I need to think about how best to do this. Who would be interested in something like that? 

 

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Above is the aluminium frame which is held together with those black clamps. The cross member's height can be adjusted simply by sliding them up or down. The back can be tilted to different angles, but I will run out of space in my studio before I can use that feature. The whole thing is surprisingly sturdy. No wobbling at all. 

 

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Here's the final assembly. As you can see the big light stands and my boom stand in the corner are a bit constrained in the space, so the plan is to use the clamping points on the side of the table to mount speedlights. I reckon a couple of cheap Yongnuo's will compliment the Olympus kids fine. 

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Dallas, out of control violence worries me more than anything else, we had episodes over here and it does change the way one lives, hopefully it'll  get quickly under control 

 

anything else is just hard work 

congrats on the new setup for product photography hopefully it will drive more sales for you


 

 

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Thanks for your kind words, Armando. Yeah, been really down in the dumps lately. Getting the table was a bit of a lift.

 

What a lot of people don't know, or prefer not to talk about if they do know, is that the 1980's and early 1990's in South Africa were hyper-violent. The ANC was classified as a terrorist organisation because they planted bombs in places where innocent civilians were killed. I came to within a few minutes of being a victim of one of these bombs myself when I was 12. I had been sitting on a dustbin with a friend in a shop vestibule on a rainy Saturday afternoon waiting for a gap in the weather before we walked to his home apartment. We must have been about 250m up the road when it went off. It was an indescribable event. Everything slows down, just like you see in the movies. That would have been in late 1980 or early 1981. I can't recall the exact date. From then on there were regular bomb blasts throughout SA. Every time we went into a store or a mall we would have to pass through metal detector scanners and have our bags searched. The Woolworths store has now started doing the bag and body scans again and it's a real throwback to those bad days of the 80's. 

 

The darkness that lives inside the hearts of men is the scariest thing I can contemplate. 

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