Friday, March 13, 2015

Gearing up for 2015 With a ProtoMachines LED2 Light

Light painting night photography under moonlight in Bodie
One of the primary things to manage during night photography are your light sources. You may have light pollution from near or far incandescent light, additional light from the moon, a strobe (flash), and handheld lights such as a colored LED, flashlight or headlamp. Illumination from various types of lights ranges from "cool" (blue in tone) to "warm" (yellow). Fortunately you have a lot of flexibility to adjust the warmth or coolness of the lighted area in post-processing software such as Lightroom. On the other hand, it's good to do as much in-camera as possible, so if you can tune your light to have the desired effect while you shoot, that can save time on the post-processing side.

The result of a quest for warm, cool and colored lights
I've posted on the variety of lights I've bought, used and carry, but at some point carrying so much gear gets to be a bit of a burden, especially when moving around cluttered scenes on dark nights.  Even trying to keep costs low, over time I've ended up spending a fair amount just to have a selection of different light temperatures and intensities.  And the selection is one of compromises, incandescent lights being seen by the camera sensor as being very warm and yellow, while most simple LED lights are seen as very cool and blue.

"Old school" light painting in Bodie, with incandescent lights
After having customers show up at my Bodie night photography workshops last year with ProtoMachines LED1 and LED2 lights last year, I just picked up an LED2, which should dramatically reduce the volume and weight of the light painting gear I carry, give me a wider range of options, and reduce the number of batteries I need to keep charged.  I can pre-program warm and cool settings for a range of white balance settings, or various RGB values for creative color work.  The intensity can be adjusted in a range of up to 9 stops, so the brightest setting should be 2 to the ninth power brighter than the dimmest one, a range of 512x.

It's going to be nice to have a light with adjustable color and intensity, all in one small package.  It'll be fun to see what works best for lighting up foreground subjects under full moon, no moon, and mixed lighting scenarios!

ProtoMachines LED2 light for night photography