First Time in the US: Gulf Photo Plus is Coming to Seattle.

L102: You Got Questions, We Got Answers

Thanks for the questions, guys. It is the most efficient way I know to hit all of the things I forgot to explain in the first place. Let's get them out of the way so we can get this L102 party started.

Regarding the suggestions as to (a) where to get the gels, and (b) the admonitions to actually buy them so as to not mooch off of the company, I totally agree. You should pony up for a full sheet of CTO and a sheet of window green. These are the tungsten and fluorescent conversion gels. You will use these A LOT. But, for speedlights, it is hard to justify buying many more. So just ask for a sample pack at every opportunity, and you should be well-covered.

What I'd like to see: A sample pack that had 10 each of CTO and Window Green, 5 each of CTB, 1/2 CTB, 1/4 CTB, 1/2 CTO, 1/4 CTO, 1-stop ND, and a coupla reds for $15 each. Slightly bigger than the current sample packs would be great. They'd make money and we'd be gellin' in style.

There was a suggestion that people shoot their setups on the photo uploads for the assignments. I totally agree with that, if you can remember to do it. Not being without sin in this area, I cannot really insist on it...

Q: Will I be picking example reader submissions to talk about after the fact?

A: Sure will. Probably three or so from each exercise/assignment.

Q: Could you add a Lighting 102 link to the top right side menu of the Strobist homepage?

A: Yep. It'll be up as of the first lighting control post, which will be next in the series.

Q: Should I do Lighting 101 first?

A: That will always be a good reference/foundation. But L102 will be a far more comprehensive approach. I will be referencing relevant posts in L101 as we go along.

Q: How often do new posts (lessons) go up for it? Once a week?

A: That will roughly be the schedule. We'll need time for stuff to sink in, for people to see the latest post, and for exercises to be done. And also, for me to create the posts/exercises while also running the rest of the blog, shooting for The Sun and occasionally sleeping. The exercises will be quick hits, completed from week to week. But the assignments will be more involved. You'll have a minimum of two weeks to complete each assignment. I'll get into a rhythm of posting L102's on or near Mondays. But because of the vagaries of my job at The Sun, that is more of a goal than a promise. (Could be Sunday or Tuesday, for instance.)

Q: I only see one thread for the Lighting 102 discussions. Will there be separate threads for each section?

A: Oh, yeah. Can you imagine all of the L102 discussion compressed into one thread? Yikes. I will be setting up a separate thread for each discussion, exercise and assignment.

Q: (I am) attempting to participate without a hot shoe or any means (that I know of...if there are ways to manually control off-camera flash without hooking it up to my camera directly, please let a newbie know) of off-camera flash....ergo, lamps. Well the principles will still be the same?

A: Uh, yeah... somewhat. But you'll miss out on a lot. If you were learning how to SCUBA dive, you'd want a mask...

Q: I have a new monolight kit (200ws each so small) that I want to get comfortable using, so I think I'll try the sam exercises with them as well.

A: That should work just fine.

Q:I would like to create videos of the exercises/assignments and post them on YouTube. Is this okay?

A: It is more than okay. I think it is a great idea. We are visual animals. Monkey see, monkey do. I will be happy to link to the good ones and archive them so that others may benefit from your efforts. FWIW, the YouTube videos that are linked here tend to get about 10,000 views over the first couple of weeks. Which always helps if you are looking for exposures. And if you are really good, I have a script I'd like to share with you...

Q: I would like to blog about my progress in Lighting 102. Is this cool?

A: Absolutely not! (Kidding.) Of course it's cool. In fact, I would encourage it.

In a broader sense, I think anyone who is into photography should be blogging. It's free, creative, visual - all those things shooters like. Couldn't be easier, really. Heck, I helped my dad start up a blog this afternoon, and he's 62.

I recommend Google's blogging platform, It may not be the spiffiest platform out there, but it is pretty darn good and getting better each day. Besides, with Google owning it, it'll probably be around in five years.

A year ago, I started a blogspot blog just to fart around with lighting ideas and look what has happened. You really never know. And I have never paid a penny for bandwidth, or anything associated with this site. Way cool.

Besides, blogging steadily about this process will mean you'll be more likely to stick to it. Kinda like telling your coworkers you are starting the Atkins Diet. For the 6th time this year.

Next: Control #1, Position | Angle


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Blogger jmc photo said...

excited for the first assignment! youve inspired me to grab a strobist kit and im ready to learn! thanks

June 12, 2007 1:48 AM  
Blogger Elephant said...

For your reader who asked about off-camera flash without a hotshoe or sync cable ...

If your flash has a slave mode or if you have a slave trigger attached, you can use the on-camera flash as the trigger. The reason this works is that (most) slave units don't distinguish between visible light and infra-red, so what you need to do is kill off the visible part of the spectrum.

You can do this by making a black filter from several layers of gels. I have used three pieces of congo blue and one scarlet. If you hold it up to the light, it should be nearly opaque. Then just stick it over the camera flash and set the mode to forced flash.

It isn't ideal, but I've used it on my wife's camera when mine is in for repairs. Sadly some of us can't afford a second body.


June 12, 2007 5:30 AM  
Blogger Nicholaus Haskins said...

Occasionally sleep? Thats funny. I'm interested in the script though..I'm pretty computer savvy.

June 12, 2007 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I think he meant he has a movie script.

(or was joking...)

June 12, 2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Wow. I can't wait! /me rubs hands together in a devious manner/

June 12, 2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger efrudd said...

Dave said...

Heck, I helped my dad start up a blog this afternoon, and he's 62.

But only after white-balancing him to around 55.

Looking forward to the class. I've told all my friends.


June 12, 2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger stuart said...

<---is the guy who doesn't have a hotshoe or PC cable/slot

This (as well as the other ideas int he L102 thread) is certainly worth considering...I don't yet even have a slave flash unit, as I've never entirely thought of ways to optically trigger it, so that may be something I'll look into. Either way, I'll be following along throughout and attempting whatever I can at this point, and we'll see what comes up.

June 12, 2007 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Justin Liew said...

I love the Q&A, David! Very helpful to know people are asking some of the same questions I've had, and are getting answers where thousands can benefit. Can't wait for L102 to really get into gear!

June 12, 2007 11:33 AM  
Anonymous BrentJ said...


All of that is great info. Now let's get this party started. I have worn out my refresh button waiting for the first assignment. I'm ready to go.

June 12, 2007 12:38 PM  
Blogger Michael Kemper said...

I'd buy the gel sample pack you mentioned yesterday!

June 12, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger stephen said...

Bogen/Manfrotto and Lee make filter packs that get close enough to make you irritated. The closest I found to David's list is this one. At $20, it has 12"x12" sheets of CTB and CTO in full, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8, but you would have to find the green (and ND and red) elsewhere. Lee has a PDF describing their filter packs on their website. At $50, the Lee "Master Location Pack" has everything David mentioned plus a few other colors (25 types in all). Perhaps Moishe can cook something up?

June 12, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I have an off camera flash (Canon 580EX) and hot shoe cord... will that be sufficient or will I need to go pick up a "Strobist Kit" like the first poster did?

June 12, 2007 5:27 PM  
Blogger SeanMcC said...

If you have a flash on the camera, then cover it with black exposed film (remember film?), processed of course!

June 13, 2007 1:41 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Regarding the Gells in the UK - I just received a huge free sample pack of Lee Filter lighting gells from Central Theatre Supplies - - with over 200 colours and textures its a bit overkill, but they are the perfect size for my SB-24s!

June 13, 2007 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Mason Trullinger said...

I will be offering a gel pack similar to what David described sometime next week. What size gels would people want? The ones from the sample packs are 1.75"x2.75". The front end of a Vivtar 285 is exactly 2"x3" and this would be slightly bigger than the front end of the Nikon and Canon speedlights.


June 13, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger David said...


I am on vacation and trying not to swamp myself with work, but I did get your note and will be back with you on this next week. It's a great idea. Thanks much.


June 13, 2007 12:05 PM  
Blogger -Matt said...

Just FYI there is a PHOTOGRAPHY related "YouTube" service setup at (it's being moved but it works there for now). There are thousands of photo-related videos posted there and more being added all the time. I bet if you emailed he'd setup a Strobist Channel so we could find ALL of the Strobist related vids at once. :)

cant wait for the assignments.


June 13, 2007 3:45 PM  
Blogger Chow said...

Wow, just realised one of my pics is in the readers hotshots! ( ). That was my first ever strobist attempt, using two ancient flashes with no fancy manual settings. Thanks to your advice I've now got myself an SB24 and SB25. Now if only it would stop bloody raining in Belfast...three days non-stop now :-(

June 14, 2007 8:28 PM  
Blogger estevan studios said...

For those building their own diffusion panels I suggest the following site for diffusion materials.

January 08, 2009 11:55 AM  

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