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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 15 Dec 2011 (Thursday) 09:32
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The Elinchrom Maxilite (aka Fireball) Sample Images Thread

 
TMR ­ Design
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Dec 15, 2011 09:32 |  #1

This thread is for posting images shot with the Elinchrom Maxilite. As long as the Maxilite was used in the lighting, then it qualifies.

So I'll get the ball rolling. . . . . . . .

Over the last year or so, the Elinchrom Maxilite reflector (external link), affectionately renamed The Fireball, has become increasingly popular and many photographers are using it as a main light source. I kept looking for samples but I wasn't really seeing what I wanted to see and while the images were all really nice, I wasn't getting excited enough to want to own one.

After a long period of time where the Maxilite was out of stock at retailers, they arrived at B&H and I figured I'd give it a shot. As soon as I received it, I started doing testing and really looking at the light. Tests quickly revealed that this modifier is not one you just point at your subject and start shooting. Until you dial in that sweet spot and get to know the character of the reflector, you're just going to be pissin' in the wind, if you'll pardon the expression.

There is a rather significant hot (and sweet) spot with extremely rapid falloff once you're outside that zone. The hot spot is very concentrated and can create some beautiful light. Having said that, the Fireball can easily create horrible light. By that I mean that if you place the transition from inside to outside the hot spot smack across your model's face, it's going to look nasty and won't give you the typical pleasing light you get when feathering other light sources.

After spending some time with the Fireball, I completely fell in love with the light but in a different way than most. Everyone I saw using it was taking advantage of its amazing efficiency and firepower, enabling them to distance themselves from the subject and still get a very focused ball of light on their subject. I like that too, but what I like even more is to have the leading edge of the Fireball no more than 30 to 36 inches from the subject.

I love how this type of high contrast light reveals texture and for fashion that's crucial. Like any high contrast lighting, you really have to look at your subjects skin and then the makeup applied. Bad skin and/or bad makeup will look terrible. Really oily skin will produce specular highlights that may or may not be acceptable.

For my purposes, the Fireball has now become a serious tool in my toolbox for beauty, fashion and glamour. It's soft but with punch. It doesn't eat up a lot of studio space and for beauty lighting in a room with an 8 foot ceiling it makes things easy.

OK, enough talk.

This is from my shoot with Julia. (more images to follow).

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7159/6516683499_e21758427c_b.jpg

Lighting is as follows:

Main Light - Elinchrom 300RX - Maxilite w/diffusion sock - directly above camera position and on lens' vertical axis.

Fill Sources - Lastolite Tri-lite - Left and Center w/silver panels , right w/white panel -a bout 12 inches in front of subject and 24 inches below the chin.

Hair/Accent Light - Elinchrom 600RX - 7" grid reflector w/30 degree grid and barn doors - 4 feet behind, to camera left, and about 2 feet above the subject.

Robert
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Csae
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Dec 15, 2011 09:48 |  #2

Sweet photo Rob, i am a bit confused by your description of the kind of light and how you use the fireball though.

Also, i notice some weird pixelation in the photo's BG, what looks like compression artifacts.


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Dec 15, 2011 09:59 |  #3

subbed.


"Lovely photo, you must have a really good camera"

  
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Dec 15, 2011 10:03 |  #4

Csae wrote in post #13548810 (external link)
Sweet photo Rob, i am a bit confused by your description of the kind of light and how you use the fireball though.

Also, i notice some weird pixelation in the photo's BG, what looks like compression artifacts.

Hi Case. Thanks.

If you tell me what has you confused, I'll explain.

Regarding the artifacts. Yeah, I see it and I freakin' hate it. I just decided thatI wasn't going to create multiple versions and in this case, when the web optimized version had no artifacts, it screwed with the skin tones so much that I just decided It would be fine for an online image.


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Csae
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Dec 15, 2011 10:10 |  #5

Trying to read how you use the hotspot...

Oh btw, flickr is horrible for it, i stopped using it years ago. Especially after all the legal problems its dug up. Lots of other services that won't compress your files so poorly and, (for me this is big) will keep exif intact and within the file, if i cant right-click exif, i'm not interested.


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Dec 15, 2011 10:27 |  #6

Csae wrote in post #13548905 (external link)
Trying to read how you use the hotspot...

Oh btw, flickr is horrible for it, i stopped using it years ago. Especially after all the legal problems its dug up. Lots of other services that won't compress your files so poorly and, (for me this is big) will keep exif intact and within the file, if i cant right-click exif, i'm not interested.

You're right, Flickr is terrible. I have and use a Zenfolio account but it's for presenting things differently. I believe they don't screw with the files and display correctly from there.

As far as the hot spot goes... I first determine a rough height of the light by looking at the shadow and position of the catch light with the center of the light pointed at the center of the face. Then I gradually angle the light downward so that the hot spot is shifted from centered to pointing (the center of the hot spot is what I'm pointing) at the top of the chest and neck. That slight feathering is what gives you a very even exposure from the face to the chest, and by using the reflector panels underneath and around the chin and neck, some of the shadows are lifted.

There's a fine line between the light being right in the models face and angled down too far. I add the hair/accent light to compensate for the slight drop in exposure with the light angled downward and the models head turned slightly away from the main light.

Does that help? :D


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sigma ­ pi
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Dec 15, 2011 10:40 |  #7

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7153/6398104965_63e8a047b0_b.jpg

Don't try to confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up.
http://www.flickr.com …6850267535/in/p​hotostream (external link)

  
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Dec 15, 2011 10:45 as a reply to  @ sigma pi's post |  #8

Nice, Mike.

Lots of texture with true blacks and whites with lots of detail. Looks like some of the blacks are being lost, but it's a great shot.


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kenyee
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Dec 15, 2011 10:48 |  #9

Could you show some badly aimed shots as well? Since the emphasis is on a narrow line between "great" and "horrible", it might be useful to see how bad it is...
Ditto blocky pixelation on the background...upper left...lower left.


Pentax K20D, 77Ltd, 43Ltd, Sigma 17-70, 60-250/4, crapload of Strobist gear (SB28's, RP JrX Studios, Einsteins, WL, Speedo BD, softboxes, grids, etc.)

  
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Csae
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Dec 15, 2011 11:03 |  #10

So if i get this right, you back up the fireball so that the center hotspot is enough to be aimed at her chest while being feathered over her face, making sure the rim of the falloff begins by the hair...

Seems like you try to make sure whatever you are lighting is within the hotspot and the most pleasant light is the hotspot itself being slightly feathered...

If i get it right...


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Dec 15, 2011 11:13 |  #11

kenyee wrote in post #13549065 (external link)
Could you show some badly aimed shots as well? Since the emphasis is on a narrow line between "great" and "horrible", it might be useful to see how bad it is...
Ditto blocky pixelation on the background...upper left...lower left.

HI,

Unfortunately, I can't show badly aimed shots. I don't have any of those. I did all my testing first with a mannequin head to make sure I wouldn't have badly lit shots once I was actually shooting real world images.

The effect is the same as taking any modifier with a leading edge and going past the point where feathering is effective and lighting the subject properly. It's always obvious when the light drops dramatically as the edge begins to flag the light.


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Dec 15, 2011 11:14 |  #12

here's my contribution to the thread, first pics with the fireball, model had no time for make up i was too excited just to test out this inferno of light on a human :lol:



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Dec 15, 2011 11:16 |  #13

Csae wrote in post #13549133 (external link)
So if i get this right, you back up the fireball so that the center hotspot is enough to be aimed at her chest while being feathered over her face, making sure the rim of the falloff begins by the hair...

Seems like you try to make sure whatever you are lighting is within the hotspot and the most pleasant light is the hotspot itself being slightly feathered...

If i get it right...

That's pretty much it, and depending on the distance the light is from the subject, that will influence the lighting pattern and positioning. Working tight as I was doing leaves very little room for sloppiness and if I hadn't have added the accent light behind her and to camera left you would see noticeable drop in exposure in the hair on that side of Julia's face.


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Dec 15, 2011 11:31 |  #14

TMR Design wrote in post #13549178 (external link)
Unfortunately, I can't show badly aimed shots. I don't have any of those.

So true....

Rob light something badly? Never! :)


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Dec 15, 2011 11:33 |  #15

Sheldon N wrote in post #13549240 (external link)
So true....

Rob light something badly? Never! :)

LOLOL. I tried, but I just couldn't do it.


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The Elinchrom Maxilite (aka Fireball) Sample Images Thread
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