Publisher’s Note: On occasion, The Luminous Landscape sees fit to support and promote unique or useful photographic technologies and campaigns by small start-ups and individuals. The terrain of new camera tech, programs, and plug-ins is one that requires much sifting through. Sam’s offerings continue to be beneficial products in the field of lighting and the advancing of photo processing. Adaptalux is a product worth supporting.
Here I go again, I’ve been busy designing again and I am now bringing out another key product that transforms the Adaptalux Studio. This product allows the studio to not only be an extremely adaptable product for continuous macro lighting, but for Flash lighting as well. This article follows on from my previous articles on Luminous Landscape, about how I developed and fulfilled Adaptalux Studio, you can read them here https://luminous-landscape.com/adaptalux-studio/ & here https://luminous-landscape.com/turning-an-idea-into-a-photographic-product-macro-lighting-tool/. Adaptalux has grown into a worldwide business since 2015 and we now have over 2000 Adaptalux users around the world, not bad for something that started out with just me from my bedroom. I am forever thankful to all of our customers and backers who turned this idea into a reality.
What sparked the idea for Xenon Flash Arms?
Its always been something in the back of my mind since the first campaign during 2015. This was further confirmed when several backers and photographers during that year said “Adaptalux looks great, I just really wish it was flash”. This really started to make me think about it and I have always pondered on how could bring xenon flash to the studio, but work seamlessly with the current products. Before I knew it, I started to develop and code my own PCB board that not only was a great flash, but you guessed it, worked seamlessly with the current product. I wanted to bring xenon flash as an addition to the Adaptalux Studio, not any form of replacement for the LED Lighting Arms.
Why offer both types of photography lighting?
Both continuous and flash lighting have there own separate advantages. Continuous lighting is a great photography lighting asset, you can see the light source at all times and therefore have great control over it in a very simple way. Further to this, continuous lighting can also be used for macro videography work. It also does not rely on any triggers and you can maximise your creativity with different types of light sources and filters.
Flash on the other hand has its own set of advantages. Firstly, it’s very powerful, much more powerful than continuous lighting technology can reach today. As a result of this it has the ability to freeze fast moving subjects. This has two sub advantages, it means you can take sharp photos relatively easily by free-holding your camera and it also means those fast insects or the wind no longer poses a problem when doing this.
I believe that by giving macro photographers the ability to use both sets of lighting under one product, they will become un-restricted. The whole philosophy behind Adaptalux is that the product adapts to you and you don’t have to adapt to the product. This enables you to become more creative and have more control with your photography lighting, dictating each lighting aspect to suit your subject. Introducing flash furthers this philosophy, by removing the boundary of having to use continuous light at all times with Adaptalux, now photographers can choose which type of light will be best for their photo. In some cases, you can use both types of lighting for some fascinating results, more below.
Introducing the Xenon Flash Arms
The Xenon Flash Arms have been designed to work seamlessly with our current products. Therefore, our existing users can buy the arms to add to their system without the need to buy a complete new product. This brings all the highly adaptable features of the Adaptalux Studio to flash macro photographers. A quick overview of the features of the Flash Arms are:-
5 Flash Output settings
Precise Flash Direction Control
Fast Flash recycle times + a long battery life.
Colour gels and diffusers.
I decided to opt for IR triggering when designing the products. This is because it is very reliable over shorter distances, which is perfect for macro photography and it keeps product costs down when compared to radio technology. More information about the product can be viewed in the video below or by clicking here: https://adaptalux.com/studio/flash]
Youtube video: Introducing the Xenon Flash Arms
As mentioned above, one of the key advantages of flash is the ability to freeze fast moving subjects. What better way to test this than get images of a water droplet hitting another in mid-air. This type of shot would be very difficult to get with continuous light. Flash is able to freeze subjects because you are taking a photo of the time duration the flash is on for.
Imagine it like this, without the flash firing your scene would be completely dark. The flash comes on for a fraction of a second (millisecond) and illuminates the scene in that moment, this is what your camera picks up. Please watch the video below to see how the Adaptalux Flash Arms can freeze subjects.
Youtube video: Water Drop Photography Tutorial
Precise Lighting Direction Control
When using flash for macro photography, it is important to be able to get your light source exactly where you need it. Why is this important? It’s important to visualise how a light hits your subject, what shadows will be created? What highlights will it pick up on the subject? The way your light falls onto your subject can drastically effect the photo, especially in macro where small lighting changes and have large lighting impacts. The more control you can have over this aspect, the more refinement and control you will have over the overall photograph.
Flash and continuous lighting at the same time!
I mentioned earlier that you can get pretty cool results by combining both flash and continuous light sources. This is actually now my favourite feature of the Adaptalux studio, that you can use now both types of lighting at the same time. Aside from creating some very cool effects, it can also serve a very useful purpose as well. One of the weaknesses of using Flash lighting is you cannot see how the light hits the subject until you take the photo. With Adaptalux, all you need to do is plug in a white Lighting Arm to act as a focusing light alongside your Flash Arms. This will give you a very good idea of how the flash will land on the subject before you press that shutter button.
We did a great photography shoot using peacock feathers where we used a combination of both flash and continuous lights.
Youtube video: Peakcock Feather Photography Tutorial
The Adaptalux Flash Kickstarter Campaign
In order to bring my inventions to life, I often use Kickstarter to grow support for a product to ensure we can mass produce it at an effective cost. The Flash Arms are an important evolution to the Adaptalux Studio, and Kickstarter is an important root to our success. Therefore, it felt that Kickstarter was a perfect fit to release Adaptalux Flash Arms, hoping to continue to inspire more macro photographers around the world.
If you are interested in supporting the campaign, please go to the campaign by clicking here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adaptalux/adaptalux-flash-arms-adaptable-flash-photography-lighting]. Your support for the product will be greatly appreciated.
Hopefully, the Adaptalux Flash Arms will become successfully funded on Kickstarter over the coming weeks. From there I will have the important job of fulfilling the awards. This involves organising mass production of the product, further testing and ultimately getting it into customers hands. You can read more about how I achieve this by reading my other luminous landscape article, here: https://luminous-landscape.com/adaptalux-studio/ Thank fully I have now been through this process 3 times since 2015, and every single time I learn something more and improve my process.
From here I have plenty more ideas that I am urging to develop for Adaptalux Studio, furthering its abilities even more and thus the capabilities of macro photographers around the world.