I just returned from a week long photo workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico. We focused on portraits, travel and food photography while we were there (I’m still dreaming about the amazing mole sauces!). A big part of the our trip was creating portraits, both with available light and studio lighting. I was especially excited about photographing Day of the Dead models using gels for moody, creative effects.
If you read this blog you will remember a few months ago I did a portrait shoot of Navajo people in Monument Valley. To overpower the bright sun I needed 500 watts of flash power, and the Elinchrom Five was the perfect solution. But for Oaxaca I needed a very portable strobe that was lighter, and I didn’t need as much power. Elinchrom had an answer for this, the 261 watt Elinchrom Three. It just might be the perfect solution to most of my lighting needs.
I travel a lot for assignments and workshops, and portable lighting is always in the mix. Sometimes speedlights will do the trick, but many times I need faster recycling and more power. I use the ELB500, which is still one of our main go-to lights. But monolights (no cables, battery in light housing) are nice on location…no cables, very clean design and simple to use. And 261 watts hits a sweet spot for me. Plenty of light for a three foot softbox indoors and shaded locations outside. I will chose the Elinchrom Five if I am shooting through a six foot octobox in bright sun.
The Elinchrom three is about the size and weight of a 70-200mm F2.8 lens, and I can easily fit a pair into my roller. They have a very simple touch screen on the back that allows you to cycle through all the modes and functions. Even if you have never used a studio strobe, you will understand this menu very quickly. And I love the touch screen ability. Most importantly, the Elinchrom Three uses High Speed Sync and TTL modes. What this means is you simply attach the Skyport transmitter to your camera and start taking pictures at whatever aperture and shutter speed…you should get perfect exposures. The light is durable, and the flash tube is protected by a diffusion dome.
We had rented out a vintage building to do our shoot in, only a few blocks from our hotel. This building had great photo locations, including a large staircase. To illuminate the staircase we put an Elnchrom Three at the top of the stairs with an orange dome cap attached. I really like the different colored caps you can buy for the Three, it just takes a quick second to switch colors by changing the caps.
We did a variety of lighting setups and shoots. The portability of the Elinchrom three, along with quick changing gels caps, really made the difference. Some of our set ups involved three lights, others two or just one light. Cree got some incredible images in available sunlight of the model dancing and jumping . We had full catering and a famous makeup artist for the Day of the Dead face painting…a memorable photo shoot! We had so much fun we are going back next year and doing two full days of Day of the Dead model photography…in addition to photographing street art, local artisans and delicious food. Come join us.
If you are looking for a versatile, lightweight strobe, check out the Elinchrom Three. Cost is $1000.