Straddling the Line Between Genius and Insanity:

Oh, yeah. I laughed, too.

But I'll give Juergen Specht this much: I'll bet he has no problem getting a smile out of his subjects.

And when his off-camera-lit shooting session is threatened by rain, well, who's laughing then, huh?


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear! Some videographers or second photographer will be MOST annoyed with a wedding photographer using the helmet-umbrella-flash! And the wedding couple will find more attention given to the helmet than themselves! Cool invention, but certainly on the border...

YowCH, MY in SG

May 18, 2006 2:58 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

thats FANTASTIC! All press photographers should be required to wear one on assignments, for the sake of better photos... of course.

Imagen the scene on the steps of the Old Bailey or somewhere...

May 18, 2006 4:43 AM  
Anonymous Juergen Specht said...

Oh, you found it ;)

This invention is actually not new, it was first seen around 1920...I found out from the feedback I received.

Thanks for Strobist, its a fantastic read and very inspiring.


Juergen - the guy with the flash helmet.

May 18, 2006 4:57 AM  
Blogger EssPea Photography said...

Haha, man. As awkward as that looks... it DOES give some pretty good light.


May 18, 2006 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a headcase!

May 18, 2006 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! I think the contraption Juergen made is brilliant. As someone who likes to make things, I'm considering making one of these for the sake of better light. However, I find the lighting flat as expected. Thanks for sharing!

May 18, 2006 10:02 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

Pretty cool, isn't it! I've been so tempted to build one.

May 18, 2006 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Pete Millson said...

This is all it takes. If you're prepared to take yourself (and what a tit you look) out of the equation an umbrella on your head is the most convenient way to soften up grabbed shots. The only thing is though, do you think pehaps you'd get spotted if you were roaming the streets for candid images?

A good find!

May 18, 2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Chad Worthman said...

Technically, wouldn't it be better if you could reach the umbrella out over your shoulder with a boom from the helmet? Maybe a backpack harness would work better for that.

May 18, 2006 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to you saying this thing is even remotely a good idea. build one, wear it, get heckled. there are better and far less humiliating ways to get decent light.

May 18, 2006 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

This invention as a great feature that is not obvious. Didn't anybody else notice the genuine, natural smiles on every subject's face?

May 18, 2006 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Ken B said...

I was thinking that this invention would work better if it were worn by my assistant, who would then always stand at just the right angle to the subject. Probably have to use wireless TTL to get it to work properly -- a long off-camera cord would be too much of a PITA.

As an added benefit, the assistant would be the one getting the odd looks.

May 18, 2006 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should try putting a small softbox on the helmet instead of an umbrella!

December 10, 2007 3:17 PM  
Blogger Danno said...

Hate to be a downer, but I don't think this would work well, for the very fact that your head blocks a third of the light reflected off the umbrella, perhaps leaving a shadow? Also, it seems to be pointed down instead of in parallel with the shooting angle. The sample pics on that blog are unconvincing - the images show little evidence of the flash on people's faces. Call me a skeptic!

December 10, 2007 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

How about a side-boom with a counterweight? So you could get your light off-axis?

A telescoping bracket to get high angle light...

The variations are endless. :D

December 10, 2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking at the shadow transition line and it looks pretty hard. Not much different from a direct flash.

December 11, 2007 12:21 PM  
Blogger YakDriver said...

I was thinking of using my poverty wizards with my three lightstands (i.e. grandchildren)as mobile sources. Full studio flexibility with only a few sugary treats to keep the whole thing running throughout the day. Besides, the kids think the helmets are Waaaaay Cool.

August 03, 2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

HAHA! Gave me a good giggle. But in all reality it's not much different then having the flash on your camera. It's still harsh, flat light. Actually a lot of the pictures relied more heavily on the natural light around the subjects then the flash helmet. And I'm sure she had to duck quite a bit walking under trees and through door ways! =) Very interesting idea however.

December 11, 2008 2:04 PM  
Anonymous tanya said...

ha, that's good! Thanks for sharing.

December 11, 2008 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great and funny invention. Thanks for sharing. 8~)

December 11, 2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger Chris Peters said...

If you look at the photos with the glasses and the mylar balloon you can see the umbrella reflected in the image. It does give a nice soft light.

December 11, 2008 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew I should have patented it when I thought of this idea last year.

But I'd do it as a back pack with a flash over each shoulder.

I tried one wedding with a flash bracket and decided I no longer need to do indoor weddings.

December 11, 2008 7:55 PM  
Blogger michelle cunningham said...

this is like those funny emails that go around on bizarre outfits. comedy! but effective comedy! so i'm not sure who's laughing. this guy or us.

December 11, 2008 9:06 PM  
Blogger Val Vechnyak said...

Sorry but this one wins!

December 11, 2008 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's still essentially 'on camera' just softer. As for the smiles - I know I get much much more natural family snaps of kids with the waist-level viewfinder on my RB67. Big clunky camera and the fact that they can see your face - it helps with both the shy kids and the hams.

December 12, 2008 8:33 AM  
Blogger Erik Markov said...

Go Go Gadget Umbrella. Mr Gadget would be proud. Just have to figure out to motorize it so you push a button and it pops out at a moments notice.

December 12, 2008 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you'll probably hear from a d------d named Ressmeyer who came up with a similar contraption in the '70's...

January 01, 2009 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Minnesota Joe said...

Boom that thing out a bit to the side. Whoever said "backpack harness" actualy might have a good idea on their hands. ;)

June 08, 2009 12:57 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

There is something even better and probably more useful: "Handholdable Umbrella and Bracket" designed by Bob Krist. A quick off-camera umbrella solution for travel headshots;) I like it... It works beatifully with Nikon's SB-800 in TTL on the umbrella and D90 with on-camera flash used as in commander mode...

See here:

May 14, 2010 12:34 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

This is truly the answer! With budgets shrinking dramatically in all areas, a lighting assistant is usually the first thing my clients want to cut from my line item estimates. Many of these fine clients have in the past volunteered their "assistance" on the job. Wellllllll... this would be perfect! I'm bettin with this rig they wouldn't cut so deep the next time : )

May 14, 2010 7:14 AM  
OpenID stevenbisig said...

Ha ha. Thank you for a good laugh. What better way to start the weekend

Steven b~

May 14, 2010 10:37 AM  
Blogger Angad said...

haha this is brilliant!

so everytime a photographer clicks a picture using that flash-thingie, it will look like he just had a bright idea. like "ting"

:| :D

May 14, 2010 1:14 PM  
Blogger Rick Dahms said...

Serious students of photojournalism will be familiar with the work of Roger Ressmeyer - who actually patented the "Flash Helmet" in the 70's. His first job using it was a shoot with Grace Slick. Google Roger and see the photo and get the story. She bought one of the photos for the cover of her autobiography, "Somebody to Love."

As Roger might say, "Who looks stupid, now?"

May 14, 2010 1:19 PM  
Blogger NYSTAN said...

Steve Martin was funnier with his umbrella hat routine...can you imagine the ugly head shadow in the bottom foreground? Bad ideas always resurface!

May 14, 2010 1:34 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wrenn Photography said...

LOL! I love it, but I think i'll wait for the octobox version...the 48" one :-)

May 14, 2010 1:35 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Rats! Someone snagged my idea before I had a chance to patent and put into large scale production!

May 14, 2010 5:29 PM  
Blogger ylDave said...

No need to lug around sandbags with this setup; ingenious!

May 16, 2010 12:09 AM  
Blogger Howard said...

This has been around for a few years. IIRC, the photos I saw taken with this rig looked pretty good.

Make sure to wear a chin strap on windy days. :)

May 16, 2010 6:48 AM  

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