Tag Archives: Alien Bees

Photo of the Week: Zach Honahan


Jay Dalton in Poughkeepsie, New York by Zach Honahan

“While sitting down on my computer editing wedding images, I received a spontaneous phone call from my good friend Jay Dalton who was in the area,who just left doing a Ramp show performance in a elementary school. I quickly grab my light stands and camera bag, rushing out of my front door toward my car. I drove an hour to Poughkeepsie, New York where I would soon meet Jay and two other homies. An hour later, I arrive at Waryas skatepark seeing Jay and his two other friends looking quite winded from the session. I approached Jay asking to shoot a boosted T-Bog air and hopefully angle it enough where I could get him in the sky. For the photo, I used an Alienbee B800 sitting on a 10ft light stand, at around 8 1/2 foot tall. The Alienbee was angled toward Jay at around a 10-20 degree angle. The Alienbee was fired at full power, to the left of the frame, around 12-13 feet away from Jay. As far as a secondary light, there was a Nikon SB910 shooting at 1/16th as just a little filler toward the back of the frame sitting on another light stand.”

Nikon D3100, 40mm 2.8 Macro (I left my 50mm at home, so I pulled out this lens from my camera bag), Alienbee B800, Nikon SB910, two 10ft lightstands.”

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Photo of the Week: Josh McElwee

mulville by mcelwee

“This slab of cement is located in the Indian River along US Route 1 in Titusville, Florida. Mark noticed it while driving into town one day, and we decided that it was great location for a bunnyhop barspin photo.

We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon, so the Florida sun was in full effect. Since we were in the water, my setup options weren’t exactly ideal for getting the strobes in super close to Mark, which is my first line of defense when trying to freeze action during the middle of the day. The first light that I set up was an Einstein on half-power (320 w/s) on the cement slab parallel to the one Mark is riding. Although I placed it in a rim/kicker light position, it serves as the main light in this case by both lighting the camera-right side of his face, and freezing his spokes (to a degree). The atypical positioning was done in an attempt to get the light a little more off-axis and create some depth, and avoid having flat-looking light.

I placed two more strobes in the water about 15-20 feet from the slab. The large distance is due to the depth of the river, although I might have been able to get away with putting them in closer, I wouldn’t trust having normal light stands in water more than a few inches (a C-stand would be a perfectly safe solution, though). To compensate for the distance, I used an Alien Bee 800 at full power (320 w/s) on a small stand, and another Einstein at half-power on a larger stand. This gave me a reasonably large amount of light to kick some fill into Mark’s face and the front of his bike.

Both the pair of strobes and the single strobe metered at f/11. I ended up shooting a third of a stop under at f/13, just to try and get the sky a tiny bit darker, knowing that I could bring back detail from the flash portion of the exposure in post without much of a hassle. I originally envisioned the photo with Mark in the left side of the frame, but it just wasn’t working out, so I ended up switching the composition completely about halfway through shooting. Mark was nice enough to fire out a whole bunch of these so that I could get the framing and timing just right.

Tech info:

Canon 5D MK II
70-200 f/4
Paul Buff Einstein Strobes (2)
Alien Bee 800
Vagabond Mini Lithium Batteries (3)
Pocket Wizards
Light stands”

See more of Josh’s work here.

See Mark’s riding here.

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Photo of the Week: Jonny Clarke

jonny clarke potw

This photo was a huge hit in the Push It A Stop Flickr pool for obvious reasons. First off- that sunset is gorgeous. Those are the colors that everyone wants from a sky at dusk. So the timing with that (and the timing on the trick) could not have been much better. The bright green leaves pop amazingly against the sky without distracting from the action. Composition is on point with the landing of the previous set framed in the bottom left which guides your eye directly to the tire marks launching straight off that lip. Then boom, there’s the rider, lit so nicely, portraying a beautiful 360 table. He is framed perfectly in the sky between the dark tree line in the background and a small branch of lit leaves closer to us.

“Most of the time at Redbox I will ride, as it’s one of the few lines in Austin that I can make it through. Scott Glannan was throwing some awesome sauce on this last set, so I got out my camera just before the sun went away.

I set up an AB800 far right at ¼ power and a 285HV at ½ power, behind the landing in the foreground. I was using a Rebel T2i w/17-40L. I am currently looking for a new camera body but haven’t come upon the right deal for me yet (anyone selling a 5D MkII hit me up!)

I started with iso100 but changed it up to 200 as the natural light faded. I also cranked the 285HV to full power to get that tree lit up better. Final settings were 1/200th f4 with iso200. I was really stoked on how Scott folded himself in between the tree lines, a few people asked to see the photo on my LCD and I got some great feedback, much appreciated guys!

Thanks to Scott for giving me time to set up, and being an all around rad dude. Also, thanks to all the people I’ve been shooting with recently, you rule!

Gear used:
Rebel T2i w/17-40L @29mm
Alienbees B800 w/ vagabond
Vivitar 285HV
3 x Pocket wizard Plus X”

Check out more of Jonny’s work here and here.

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Photo of the Week: Josh McElwee


“I shot this photo of Evan Smedley at Grindlab Skatepark in Camp Hill, PA on a late night in January of this year. Evan is the BMX manager at the park and has the entire place way too dialed. On this night, I noticed that he was getting a lot done on this pocket bowl corner setup. My first instinct was to shoot fisheye from the deck, but I decided against that in order to show the steepness of the transition and the thickness of the pool coping. We shot a handful of other tricks, but as soon as Evan did a toboggan I knew that it was going to look better than anything else we had previously shot.

I shot this with a Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200 f/4, Pocket Wizard Plus IIs, a Paul Buff Einstein strobe, and an Alien Bee 800. The lights came from the left and right, and were pointed at each other. The Einstein is at camera right, just out of frame, and feathered to the left a bit in order to keep Evan evenly lit. The Alien Bee is coming from camera left about 25 feet from the bowl corner, and is powered about a stop down from the main light.”

Check out more of Josh’s work here.

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Photo of the Week: Jacob Manes

jacob maneS

Shooting at the trails can be fun and frustrating at the same time. It can be fun because there are all sorts of angles you can get and the only obstruction, more or less, is trees. But, the beautiful thing is that you can climb said trees and get crazy angles no one has seen before. It can be frustrating if you choose to light your photo with flashes instead of using ambient light. You need the right equipment and it needs to be used properly. Jacob pretty much nailed it in this week’s photo.

As a ton of bmx related photos are, this was sort of a “spur of the moment” opportunity to snap a few photos on a set that rarely gets seen on a computer screen. Initially set up to shoot a photo of Will Blount, everyone got in on the session and I sat back, and snapped and grinned.

I set up an AB800 far left at 3/4 power and then a SB-800 behind the lip you see in the foreground mid right at 1/2 power. Shooting with my D300s and a 50mm 1.8 I snuck far back into the trees on my stomach to get a nice foreground and feel that is worthy of the woods in the winter.

The initial set up was 1/250th f8 at iso400 but it was later into the session and the sun was going down quickly so I ended up at f4 for this photo. Its always a struggle shooting strobes in the woods with the sun constantly being pushed behind clouds and lighting HUGE landings as you see here.
All in all I walked away content with a solid 4-5 photos as the sun dropped out of view and I didn’t have anymore ambient light to play with.

Shout out to all the locals who put up with my strobes and antics. Go balance some ambient light with strobes, its a challenge each and every time.

D300s w/ 50 1.8
AB800 w/ vagabond
Phottix triggers
Manfrotto Tripods

Check out more of Jacob’s work here.

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