January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

 This subject is featured in Issue #3 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.

Getting Ahead‚ Lamp

On location at Bosque del Apache

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. As a landscape and wildlife photographer I frequently find myself working in unfamiliar locations in the dark‚ either preparing for a sunrise or packing-up after a sunset.

When hiking, a small Maglite magnesium flashlight is always in a pouch on my belt. But when setting up my camera and tripod I need both hands to be free. The obvious solution is a headlamp, and I’ve used one for some time. The problem with them is that they are bulky and not terribly comfortable to wear.

I’ve just discovered the most elegant solution to the headlamp problem‚ the Petzl Zipca. This tiny unit uses bright white LEDS instead of ordinary bulbs, and it’s so small that it can be hidden in the palm of one hand. Instead of a bulky head strap it features a thin retractable elasticized band that fits snugly yet comfortably.

The LEDS have to be seen to be believed. Using just 3 AAA batteries the Zipca casts a brighter light than flashlights 3 times its size. Also, the light is blue-white, similar to daylight colour balance. (The frame above was shot on digital video solely under the light of two Zipca headlamps worn by nearby photographers.)

This is the Xenon headlight of headlamps. The only downside is that like automobile Xenon lights, it’s expensive. But, if you frequently find yourself working in the dark with your camera gear, this istheheadlamp to have. Most major outdoor outfitters and high-end sporting goods stores carry the Petzl line.

Areaderwrites the following….

Michael, just wanted to let you know of a small trick with the Petzl, you can replace the “very bright” white/blue LEDs with yellow and more importantly red LEDs for about 5$ at any electronics supply store.  The main advantage of putting in red LEDs is not only reducing the output for light sensitive applications, but it doesn’t kill your night vision nearly as badly.

I’ve used this technique quite extensively with other LED flash lights and have recently “upgraded” my Petzl to match.  That way I can still used a headlamp without blinding my companions during a group shoot.

Avatar photo

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

You May Also Enjoy...


January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

  Please use your browser'sBACKbutton to return to the page that brought you here.

Fuji X-Pro1 Launch

January 9, 2012 ·

Michael Reichmann

Some companies plod along, slowly incrementing the marketing bullet points with new models. These are usually the ones that have turf to protect and market