Negative Altitude Photography

Richard Horn Photography

A day off??

I have been rather busy of late, to the end that even when I have a day without actual photography on the schedule, I still have editing to catch up on. Yesterday was a perfect example. A shoot I did in Malibu this week was very photoshop intensive, and since the client was not around for the shoot, I have a tendency to over shoot and over deliver. So, Friday found me without a scheduled shoot, but once again on the computer working away.

OK, done.

Done?? Yup, I have no videos to edit, no images to process, no files to back up.  All shoots for the week have been delivered. Wow! It looks like today is a day off!  

Or is it? There is more to the business of photography than just shooting and editing...  I have some new equipment that I really should run through its paces before taking it to a real shoot. As unimportant as that might sound, showing up at a gunfight with a pistol you have never fired might not be the best plan!

I have an upcoming beach shoot for a wedding announcement. Sure, I could try and get away with a reflector as the primary light source, or even an off camera speed light, but since I cannot guarantee the weather and I have to light 2 people in the shot, I want to be able to use a reliable studio solution without the hassle of a generator and the permits needed to go with it!

To that end, I pulled out my Profoto Acute 2 strobe setup, and connected it to a Photogenic ION. This is a new toy for me, and I have no idea how it will hold up under real world use. It is a a Lithium-ion battery powered Pure Sine Wave Inverter. The battery pack sits very nicely in a shoulder bag. Theoretically, this will allow me to power a studio strobe attached to a boom, and the assistant can freely move around the beach to place the light source wherever I need it! 

So, test number one:  setup the light at 300ws and use a timer to shoot an image every 2 seconds.  The result of this test...  WOW!  OK, I overheated the battery after 600 images, but still, wow.  Test number two: I reset the test to 600ws and a 10 second interval and got another 300 images. The battery still reads about 50%, but the recharge time is slowing a bit. Test number three: Reset the strobe to 1200ws, interval 12 seconds. With a full 10 seconds needed for recharge, I expected an overheat, but instead just killed the remaining battery after another 100 images or so.

The results of the tests are in my mind astounding.  It does appear the strobe output may be somewhat limited by the output level of the inverter, but that is a different test.  The strobe output was more than enough for any lighting needs I will have in most situations, and the cost of this battery was about a third of what I was about to spend for a battery powered portable setup.

I did go ahead and take one portrait so I have something to show for all these tests. Thanks for sitting in Dad!