The other day, we pulled out our EU1000 Honda Generator to run it through a few tests. We set up in front of the shop with our gorgeous IE Photo model, Andrew. We had two Alien Bee 800’s and one 400 hooked up to a power strip running from the generator.  The Honda Generator’s spec list goes a little something like this: 1000 watts, 120v output and super efficient with about 8hrs of continuous run time on half a gallon of gasoline.

Check it out the gear used in this post on our site:

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This generator is very lightweight and portable, making it a very good power source for extended shooting on location.  You can see our light set up above.

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We initially set all the strobes to full power and started popping them off.  The generator’s tone fluctuated as the power draw of the lights increased.  The generator did a fine job keeping up with the Bees’ cycle rate.  Afterwards, we turned the power down and had our beautiful and talented model step in.

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With our three light setup up front, we had one strobe trigger wireless from the camera and the other two were set to slave mode.  The next few photos demonstrate how you can create some drama by over powering the ambient light levels a little.  It’s very easy to use light to focus the subject of the photo as well.  A little experimentation goes a long way.

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Shooting at higher aperture values like f/16 or f/22 while shooting into our light source produced the starburst effect seen above as well.

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Andrew decides he wanted more photos for his portfolio on Model Mayhem so we had to travel about 10 feet to a new location.  High maintenance if you ask me!  We dialed down the power a little bit as well to balance the amount of light output with the ambient light to get a more even exposure.  Notice the sky isn’t blown out and the shadows aren’t crushed.

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In the test shot above, the right-front strobe wasn’t firing so we grabbed a couple more PCB (Paul C. Buff) receivers to sync all the lights up.  When shooting outdoors with slave mode activated , sometimes it just isn’t possible to get all three lights to sync.  Shooting indoors is more forgiving because, typically, light will bounce around inside more, increasing the odds that all lights will fire.

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Here’s a top tip from IE Photo Rentals: A good model is always aware of his or her surroundings.  Here Andrew demonstrates that it’s possible to look good even when one strobe isn’t going off.

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The camera we used on this shoot was our trusty shop camera, a Canon 30d with a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  The generator ran for almost an hour with zero issues. Cycle times were consistent. The generator itself is rather quiet as well.  Below is all the equipment you’d need to shoot any location that lacks electrical outlets.  The beauty of the generator is that it could consistently power your lights much longer, especially at higher power, than a battery could which is perfect for those shoots that go much longer than you expected or even multi-day photoshoots in the middle of a rain forest.  This generator is good for more than just powering strobes.  It could also easily charge camera batteries, cell phones, laptops and any other devices and amenities you and your clients may have brought along to the shoot.  Depending on your needs and the aspects surrounding your photoshoot, this generator may be exactly what you need.  All this is equipment is available to rent so give the shop a call and we’ll get you sorted out!

-Phil

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