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Shooting on location with Hensel’s new parabolic softbox Grand Mini 85

Posted on April 11 2018

Original Russian Article: http://photar.ru/semka-na-lokacii-s-novym-parabolicheskim-softboksom-grand-mini-85/#photar
Author: photar – Pavel Molchanov - April 9, 2018 

Finally, the weather has improved and the time for on location shoots has begun! In this article I want to share my impressions of working with a new softbox from HENSEL, the parabolic Grand Mini 85. The first thing I noted was how compact and lightweight the softbox was, and that it set up like an umbrella. For me, these characteristics are extremely important, especially when shooting on location. It takes just seconds to assemble / disassemble the Grand Mini 85.

In the examples below, Hensel’s Porty L 1200 battery generator was used as the main and only light. As I’ve written in previous articles, it is very important to have a harmonious combination of ambient and strobe light when shooting on location. I really like that the Grand Mini 85 can be used even "open face", that is, without the use of internal and external diffusers. In terms of intensity and contrast, the light from an open faced Grand Mini 85 is very similar to sunlight and is well directed, which makes it possible to use as much flash power as is necessary for the shot.

© Pavel Molchanov

© Pavel Molchanov

© Pavel Molchanov

© Pavel Molchanov

In this scene, the Grand Mini 85 was roughly at the same angle as the sun, but a bit more directional to the model. This way I was able to obtain similar coverage on the scene and the model. I adjusted the intensity in such a way that the ambient light was about 1-2/3 steps darker than the strobe light. This provided better focus on the main subject. All the diffusers were removed from the Grand Mini 85, which made the characteristics of the strobe light very similar to that of natural light in the scene. The hard light perfectly emphasized texture and small details, as in the flying hair of the model.

© Pavel Molchanov

When creating this picture with the Grand Mini 85 I again removed the inner and outer diffusors. I choose this type of lighting because the background was very sunny. The flash was placed at the same angle as the sunlight striking the model. In this case, I purposely used hard, shadows as an artistic device.

© Pavel Molchanov

For the next image, my approach to lighting was slightly different. Here, direct sunlight acted as a main light, and was also reflected as fill light. The flash acted as a feather between them. For a smooth transition of light, the internal diffuser was used in the Grand Mini 85. This softened the direct light from the flash, but still provided a similar look to the direct sunlight. Using the diffuser gave the shadows a more shaded look, allowing them to blend harmoniously with the overall lighting. The inner diffuser for the Grand Mini 85 is similar to a hand-held folding reflector, covering the middle part of the softbox.

© Pavel Molchanov

For the next image, my approach to lighting was slightly different. Here, direct sunlight acted as a main light, and was also reflected as fill light. The flash acted as a feather between them. For a smooth transition of light, the internal diffuser was used in the Grand Mini 85. This softened the direct light from the flash, but still provided a similar look to the direct sunlight. Using the diffuser gave the shadows a more shaded look, allowing them to blend harmoniously with the overall lighting. The inner diffuser for the Grand Mini 85 is similar to a hand-held folding reflector, covering the middle part of the softbox.

© Pavel Molchanov

According to the plan, the car does not have to attract much attention, however its outlines should be visible. To achieve this effect, the light source used should be directional and soft. For this reason, the Grand Mini 85 was used with both of its diffusers, allowing it to obtain the needed lighting characteristic. The softbox was above the model (about the center of the car), at a height of about 2.5 meters (98.43”) and directed towards the model’s legs. At this location and distance, the light highlighted the model, smoothly leading to darkening at the border of the car, while still providing a beautiful glare on it.

In general, I noted the following important features:

  • The softbox is very light and comfortable, which is indispensable when shooting on location
  • Due to its depth, the output light flux is perfectly directed and convenient to work with
  • The parabolic structure provides excellent contrast
  • The silver inner coating of the softbox provides a very high intensity of light reflection, which reduces the amount of strobe power needed
  • Two diffusers offer great flexible in the light-shadow pattern
  • Due to its design, light filters can easily be attached to the internal diffuser
  • Shooting "open face" significantly expands the abilities of the softbox, especially in sunny weather conditions

Author of the article - Ambassador Hensel, advertising photographer  Pavel Molchanov

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