Next up, a series of blogs about my favorite gear, just in time for the holidays. Basically, everything under discussion in these next few blogs goes with me every time I go in the field.

The below shot on Bourbon St., New Orleans, with the Nikon Z7 camera, and a pre-production S series 50mm f/1.8 lens, at f/1.8. A new favorite camera/lens combo, but more on the Z in an upcoming blog. This one, concentrating on light shaping, in this instance, out on the street.

This is, of course, self-interested, as my name is on the bag this gizmo comes in. It’s actually called the Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus. I helped Lastolite design it, and they were their usual, typically creative selves in terms of making it happen. The couple good things I insisted on have turned out to be very good things indeed. I asked that even though this is a “junior brother,” stuff-it-in-your-bag kind of light shaper, it has advantages generally associated with far bigger, more expensive shapers. The front diffusion panel is adorned with a very deep edge baffle that controls the light. Correspondingly, the other diffuser front available for it has a deep baffle and a wonderfully crafted fabric egg crate (grid) that really, seriously and pleasantly limits the spread of light. I say pleasantly, as it doesn’t make the light sharper, harder or meaner. It just limits where it wanders off to.

We have all seen the solutions. Turn a salad bowl into a beauty dish! Wrap a pair of your old boxer shorts around the lamp head of a Speedlight, and by God does it soften the light!

Fine. But there are considerations, not only in terms of the result, but appearance. These little boxes snap to quite easily, and you can plug-in an unadorned Speedlight, sans dome diffuser, or pop it in there, and then reach around the front and easily affix the dome, which gives it an extra measure of diffusion. Use two of them in an over and under fashion, such as the pic above of the lady with the hat, and the results are downright big-time. As in, it looks like a bigger set of lights that you might need stands, sandbags, assistants, a boom crane and a generator truck for. Kidding, but just a little. It’s a great way to work, light and fast.

And, of course, use one of them, off to the side, and you can get beautiful character and dimension, as seen in the portrait below of Amber. In this shot, we ran the Speed-Lite 2 through a hand-held Tri-Grip diffuser, and the results are kinda dreamy.

Or, you can use it in edgy fashion, and produce a bit of drama and intensity, such as with Nik, below.

Small, portable, fast, lovely quality of light, affordable. And, you don’t have to buy any new Tupperware.  What’s not to like?

More tk…..

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Joe McNally
Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in nearly 70 countries. McNally is known world-wide as not only one of the top, technically excellent photographers of his generation, but his charming demeanor, confidence and humor make him a sought-after choice from CEO’s to celebrities to commercial and magazine clients alike. He is among the rare breed of photographer who has bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing an impressive commercial and advertising client list including FedEx, Sony, ESPN, Adidas, Land’s End, General Electric, Epson, MetLife, USAA, New York Stock Exchange, Lehman Brothers, PNC Bank, and the Beijing Cultural Commission. McNally is equally comfortable climbing buildings or lighting a telescope to capturing quiet, sensitive subject matter with confidence in medical surroundings. He has shot numerous cover stories and highly complex features for the National Geographic, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, where his research skills and unmatched preparedness were highly valued.