Saturday, March 12, 2011

V.A.L. Voice Activated Lightstand

Over the years I have had an awful lot of folks holding lights and lightstands for me performing a duty affectionately referred to as the V.A.L. - or Voice Activated Lightstand.  When using speedlights or small flashes for your source of light in photography, its easy to just have someone hold it for you, requiring no lightstand to do the job.  This has several advantages for the photographer and the VAL.

First off, having someone hold your light for you, makes it easy for you as the photographer to get the light in the right place without having to go back to the light and adjust it yourself.  Also, your VAL, if trained appropriately, can adjust power settings, feather the light, change modifiers and just about everything else.  Another advantage to having a VAL is, since they are at the location of the light, sometimes they can see how that light effects the subject better than the photographer.  For the VAL, its a good learning experience because being at the view point of the light can really show you how its going to respond on the subject and the VAL can also learn from the photographer. A good VAL is a blessing to photographers and fortunately I've had my share of good ones to help me, including my number one partner in crime.

I've done my share performing the task of VAL for quite a few other folks as well, which leads me to the real point of this post.  Joe McNally and David Hobby (the Strobist) are currently touring the country in a mad escapade called the Flash Bus Tour.  They will be teaching photographers all across the country how to use their speedlights for better flash lit photography.  I can honestly think of no other photographers I would rather see in a seminar than these to amazing guys so when the opportunity presented itself to volunteer as a VAL for their tour, I jumped at the opportunity.  Surprisingly, I just got notification a few days ago, that I was chosen to be a VAL for their Nashville stop!!!

I can't tell you how excited I am about this and the fact that I may get to meet two photographers who have pretty much shaped the way I do my own photography.  Volunteering as a VAL for these guys has several advantages.  One, you get to learn off camera lighting up close and personal, and two, you get to be working with (or for) two of the most amazing photographers in the business!  Being a VAL (for anyone) can be a great learning experience and performing the job for these guys, I'm sure, will be no different.

I'm planning on updating another post after the seminar (around the first of April) to do my review of the Flash Bus Tour and to also share a little about being a VAL for two industry leaders.  I haven't been this excited about something since I got my last Nikon. :)

1 comment:

Audrey Allien said...

Easy and very interesting. Light stands have very important role in photography shoots. So always take time before buying them.