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on Feb 4, 2014 in Aviation, Camera Tech, Gear Just Introed!

ProFoto B1 Flashes – The BEST Ever!

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Knowing this project was coming up, I’ve been trying out for months a whole bunch of “more powerful” portable flash units from Profoto. And after testing a WHOLE bunch, found the ones for my style! The Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery Powered Flash is a beautiful 500w light in a small package. It’s powered by a battery the size of a cigarette packet, that blows me away. Being a small package was a really IMPORTANT consideration since I’ll be flying to locations often with these units. But the #1 consideration for all the units I tested was the quality of light they produce. That’s where the B1 really excelled! In this particular shoot, I used the Profoto 5.0′ RFi Octa Softbox that with its internal baffle producing a gorgeous light!

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In this portrait of Chris with his stunning Stinson L-5 / OY-1 (an Okinawa veteran), we’re on the ramp just off the active. After selecting his favorite aircraft to be photographed with (I was hoping for their Kenner or Porterfield..next time), we moved planes around and got the L-5 in place. Next, after getting all the parts assembled, I had Sharon stand in as I got the scene set and lighting in place. This was all hours prior to the moment for the main click. That’s the one thing the gets me about taking portraits, all that work and time for one photo. You can see that area I’m trying to light, the plane and Chris, is pretty large. Of course, ambient light is part of my lighting calculations which is why the L-5 is parked the way it is so the setting sun will skim along the fuselage. One of the cool attributes of the Profoto B1 that I really love is its ability to be remotely controled. The Profoto Air Remote Transceiver works with the Nikon and TTL with the Canon (Nikon TTL coming this summer). It permits the light to be fine tuned by 1/3 stops, turned off during shots to save the batter as well as control the modeling light.

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After all the preliminary set up (I shot with the Df / 24-70AFS in Manual Mode), I brought Chris over to explain what I was hoping would unfold, photographically. This lead to explaining a bit about all the gear that we’d thrown up. We were working towards that one magical moment and to get to that point, first got Chris comfortable with all the gear which looks a little intimidating (especially when your friends go down the ramp and cat call as they past) and then got him comfortable being in front of the lens. He really never got comfortable but he did loosen up the closer we got to the moment. The photo you see here is early in the process, it’s not the photo for the project. But you can see the gorgeous, wrapped around light the Profoto B1 produces.

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Yeap, them are snow chains weighting down that Avenger A2033FKIT 10.75′ C-Stand. Why? Well, they were closer (I’d buried the sandbags when I packed the truck) and since we’ve had no snow to use them with, I thought they would at least get one application this winter. You can see another great feature of the Profoto B1 here, the Modeling Light. Yeap, this battery powered flash even has a modeling light (adjustable with the Remote). I’d love to show you the final image which turned out truly amazing even if I say so myself, but that has to wait. But I can share with you now the results of my search for a powerful, portable, gorgeous light source, the Profoto B1. You will be seeing more from it in the future! Oh, you might be wondering, I have two Profoto B1 units and have the Profoto Strip 1 x 6′ Softbox. Why did I use the Octa over the Strip? I wanted light under the wing of the L-5 up to the prop and have it wrap around Chris (which is what determined height of C-Stand). If I was in the hangar (which I went prepared for), I would have used both lights and softboxes. But for this one, outdoor location, the Octa did a great job.