Sunpak 120J bare bulb strobe

Sunpak 120J bare bulb strobe
Sunpak 120J bare bulb strobe
Sunpak 120J TR-PAK II, retrofitted with RC battery
Sunpak 120J TR-PAK II, retrofitted with RC battery
Sunpak 120J, the whole get-up with radio trigger and powerpack
Sunpak 120J, the whole get-up with radio trigger and powerpack
Canon 430EX, at 1/16th pretty direct with less reach
Canon 430EX, at 1/16th pretty direct with less reach
Sunpak 120J @1/16th, much wider light output with better reach
Sunpak 120J @1/16th, much wider light output with better reach

I came across a bare bulb Sunpak 120J on craigslist for a price I couldn’t resist, the strobe is working great and can be driven by 4AA batteries, which is sufficient in the streets, where I oftentimes use a strobe for a slight amount of fill light. The light output of the bare bulb is a whole lot wider and cleaner than a more directional strobe, the difference is pretty astonishing, at least in my living room…

The 120J also comes with a battery pack, but it turned out that the original battery packs are not available anymore – I also don’t have the C-cell holders, that the TR-PAKII apparently came with, but I prefer rechargeable batteries anyways. After a little googling around, I came across this 7.2V 2800 mAh RC battery including charger for a cool $29.99 at Radioshack… all I had to do is to retrofit the original connector in the Sunpak case with a 2-pin Molex connector. With the battery pack, the 120J recycles in about one second at full power and should be good for a couple of hundred pops on a full charge.

The radio trigger for the time being is a CowboyStudio NPT-04, as I don’t seem to have a proper cable for my pocketwizards…

After shooting with handheld strobes for a long time, I can’t believe how much softer the bare bulb strobe’s light is…

430EX at full power, shot through a white umbrella
430EX at full power, shot through a white umbrella
Sunpak 120J at full power shot through a white umbrella
Sunpak 120J at full power shot through a white umbrella

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Top ten tips for photography assignments

candid photography by Markus Hartel, New York
click on image for larger view

I did a photo shoot for a client today “Kids Who Love To Cook” and while shooting I subconsciously applied a few valuable techniques that I picked up by doing for the past decade.

1.) shoot a lot, yet be selective
2.) find a rhythm
3.) never hesitate to click and don’t be afraid to lose a shot
4.) engage with your subject and smile, encourage candidness
5.) compose every shot properly in the viewfinder
6.) pay attention to detail and fix your mistakes in camera
7.) study things outside for inspiration
8.) focus on moment-emotion-composition
9.) lose the personal connection while editing
10.) edit harder than your worst enemy and show your best work only

arrive early
know your gear to a T
test your gear before the shoot and carry plenty of memory and batteries
assess the location and lighting situation

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