Many of you would know that I did a shoot this Saturday just past to review the Elinchrom Quadra ready to go kit (the review is coming soon). However my lighting experience out on location has been with speedlights which have individual power settings. My studio work has been with various lighting kits that all have individual power settings. When it came to using two lights of one battery pack I suddenly didn’t have the control I was used to. Mentioning this on twitter saw Dan Himbrechts (who is being interviewed in about a week), reply to me with some interesting information about a 60/40 split which I didn’t see in the manual.
I asked him if he wouldn’t mind putting a little description together, and not long after that this arrived in my inbox. For anyone knew to lighting or purchasing a kit like this you really should have a read, it makes a lot of sense.
I’ve got the Ranger RX Speed AS, had it for nearly four years now – love it.
I predominately bought it for it’s super short flash duration, so i could freeze action (snowboarding) in full daylight. The big drawcard for me was that in the off season I was doing a lot of varied freelance work. For corporate portraits the unit paid itself off in no time.
I’d turn up at a firm’s building, set up in a boardroom with a 9ft seemless background, ranger, 2 heads, softboxes and a couple of old metz flashes as background blow-out strobes and it’s the perfect portable studio.
Still using it for that, in fact did a shoot at a law firm last week.
I’ve used it working for the paper where I know I’m going to do a shoot with a model or actor and have more than 5 minutes with them, and for my snow work it is priceless. Billabong winter catalogue every year, I shoot action, lifestyle, portraits -and the product (in the hotel room at night) all with the ranger.
That’s what I was referring too in regards to flexibility on Twitter.
So for the 60/40 split, at first I thought it would be a bit limiting, but actually it’s perfect. For corporate stuff it works really well because I think in most portrait situations with full flash you don’t really want 50/50 -it’s too boring and flat, there’s no punch.
On the ranger’s and quadra’s the way it works is that the A port is your main and most powerful port. If it’s big power you want just use one head through the A port and you get the full juice from the pack. Fill with speedlights or a reflector.
If I want the full power but a shorter duration (for action) I’ll use just the B port on full power.
Setting up a portrait shoot I’ll often use two heads and put the A head in a 100 x 70 softbox and the B head shoot through a 42 inch white umbrella or the variostar shoot through brolly/box thing. The ratio of light is perfect.
if I want it more dramatic I usually always use the A port as my main or key and the B port is the one I’ll scrim or grid.
Here’s a really shitty example of how powerful the Ranger is in full harsh mid-day sun.
This is a shot of the model Laura Dundevic I did for the Sunday Tele two weeks ago (complete with dirty spot on the sensor!) Shot at 1pm sun direct overhead slighlty backlit with one softbox and one small umbrella (you can see it in her eyes) and the pack was only at less than half power!
There is pretty much no post work except a little bit of vignetting done to this pic – it’s a news pic.
The Ranger is a powerful beast!
About the Author
Dan Himbrechts is a freelance photographer based in Sydney, Australia. I specialise in action sports, news and commercial photography.