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09 Apr '19

Lighting ancient statues with a speedlight and color filters

Posted by David Honl

Light Modifiers used on this shoot:

I travelled to Mt. Nemrut in Southeast Turkey to photograph the curious group of statue heads, believed to have been erected around a royal tomb in the 1st Century. At some point in their history these heads sat atop the carved bodies several yards above on the hilltop behind the heads. My goal was to photograph the heads to show their final resting place as well as the original carved bodies watching down on them. 

It was a rainy 3 hour drive from my hotel in Sanliurfa and once I arrived at the base a dense fog bank started to roll in, and after a 25 minute hike to the top a light snow began to dust the ground. The light was very flat and as the minutes ticked, the visibility between the statue heads and the bases on top of the hill was diminishing quickly. I took a few ambient test exposures and one with a Nikon SB900 Speedlight with a Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox. Still very flat.

I quickly added 2 Honl Full CTO Filters to the speedlight with soft box and set my camera's white balance to 2500K (a bit cooler that tungsten). The result is a deep blue background with a warm tone on the statue head. The traveller8 gave just the right amount of spread and feathering on the statue and the smaller rocks at the base. A bare flash would have spread the light too much and taken the attention away from the ancient face.

All in all, a successful shoot, even under the ever-demanding Mother Nature!

Light Modifiers used on this shoot:

04 Feb '19

Behind the Scenes Location Shoot with Speedlights

Posted by David Honl

I used 2 traveller8 Softboxes for these quick portraits in Bamiyan Afghanistan. I set the speedlights at 1/4 power and the camera settings were 1/125th at f/8, ISO 100. Easy!

If you'd like to try a traveller softbox today, use coupon code "blog" at checkout for 10% off


25 Jan '19

Behind the scenes: fashion shoot with the Honl Photo traveller8 Soft box

Posted by David Honl


Here's a quick and nimble fashion shoot setup: a speedlight with a Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox as the main light, a speedlight with a Honl Photo Speed Grid for the hair light, and another speedlight with a Speed Grid on the background. 

Modifiers used on this shoot:

05 Nov '18

Surf's Up! Behind the Scenes: Speedlight shoot in Hawaii

Posted by David Honl


If you want to shoot in full sunlight an use speedlights to light your subject, here are a few tips:

Whenever possible, I place the subject in a shaded area. This gives me much more control over the light on the subject, as I set my initial exposure at 1 stop underexposed on the background. In this case my exposure was ISO 100, 1/250 @ f/11. At this exposure, the subject will be in shadow, giving me a good canvas to add light to the subject.

For this shot, I placed the surfers under the shade of palm trees. As you can see in the video, both the mainlight (with the traveller 8 Softbox), and the rim light (with a Speed Grid and CTO Filter) is placed very close to the subject- between 4 and 5 feet. Both speedlights were set at full power.

The traveller8 gives a nice even, soft light on the subject, and adding the Speed Grid with the CTO filter simulates a warm sunset light on the right side of the surfer.


Modifiers used on this shoot:

Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox

Honl Photo Speed Grid

Honl Photo CTO Warming Kit

10 Oct '18

One Light Speedlight Setup: Hula Portrait in Hawaii

Posted by David Honl in soft box, workshops

It was a beautiful overcast day just south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, and no better place to shoot model Maluhia Kawai than the jagged lava rocks at Kualanui Point. The tech details couldn't be simpler! The cloudy sky gave us an evenly lit background exposure of 1/125th second @ f/4 (100 ISO). We then lit Maluhia with a Honl Photo traveller8 Softbox on a Nikon SB900 at full power, sometimes lowering the power setting when moving the speed light closer to the subject. Moments later, the sky opened slightly, revealing an amazing Hawaii sunset. All settings stayed the same, but I bumped up the shutter to 1/200th for a slightly darker sky.

Check out the video to see the placement of the Speedlight, and how the traveller8 gives an even, soft light on the subject and provides a nice separation from the background.

Take $10 off any traveller8 Softbox by using coupon code HULA

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