I've never been a big fan of ring lights. Why? For one, those doughnut-shaped catch-lights don't do much for me as they, often enough, look strangely alien to my eye.
Having said that, I should also mention I've never shot with a ring light. My perception of ring lights is based, wholly, on my reactions to the work of others who use, or have used, ring lights as part of their bag of (lighting) tricks.
But now that I own a Zeus lighting system, I figure it might be a good time for me to take the ring light plunge.
So I am-- plunging, that is.
I've ordered a ZEUS™ ZRM1 RingMaster ring light from Paul C. Buff.
Some of you, those who read this blog regularly, might have noticed I've purchased a fair amount of gear lately. In the past few months, I've bought three new lenses, two of them Canon "L" glass, a bunch of new grip and lighting gear, plus a pair of PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers as well as the new, PW, Flex TT5.
Not that I need to 'splayne, Lucy, but I will mention that I didn't go to Vegas and hit big on a slot machine. I haven't won a LOTTO payout. I wasn't given a new credit card. (I'm a cash guy-- I don't use credit cards.) No one died and left me money.
What's happened is this: The last 4 or 5 months have been very good to me, work-wise. Since I don't live a lavish lifestyle--that's a BIG understatement--coupled with my recent upturn in income, I've put some of this money back into gear. "Get it while you can" is my motto. Well, one of my mottos.
To help put things in perspective, the 3 or 4 months prior to the recent 4 or 5 months were kinda bleak and desolate in terms of work and income. During that period, I sold a bunch of gear, mostly grip. Fortunately, it was surplus grip gear I no longer had much use for due to the fact I no longer had a studio to equip.
But that was then and this is now and now I've bought myself, amongst other things, a ring light.
Personally, I consider ring lights as being fill lights. Yeah, I know, they're certainly used as key or main lights often enough, most notably by fashion photographers. I'll probably use mine as such from time to time but, for the most part, I see it as fill.
Since I also have an ExplorerXT portable power system, I'll be able to take my Zeus lighting system, including the ring light, most anywhere.
When shooting daylight exteriors, I'll sometimes be using the ring light as a powerful, on-axis, harsh-shadow-busting, e-z setup, fill light: Like on a beach, in the desert, up in the mountains, most anywhere. I'll also be incorporating the ring light's use into the PGS DVD that begins actual production in the next few weeks.
By adding to the ring light's use a second light source--yeah, the ExplorerXT can power multiple lighting sources, within reason--and/or perhaps some reflectors, scrims, whatever, I should be able to nicely capture some pretty girls in all kinds of environments where A/C isn't available and natural light just isn't going to cut it, leastwise, my versions of cutting it.
I'm fairly excited to have all these new capabilities. Not as excited as I am for simply and recently being able to afford new extravagances like my Zeus pack-n-heads system, the glass and the grip gear, the PWs, as well as the ring light, but excited nonetheless.
Money ain't the key to happiness but poverty ain't either.
The pretty girl at the top is Chloe from a month or so ago. I shot Chloe in a simple, straight-forward manner, in-studio on a white cyc, i.e., a white cyclorama. And yes, those chest puppies are all natural. No bolt-ons for Chloe!
Post Script: I'm probably done buying gear for a while. One possible exception: Another Pelican case to safely store and transport the Zeus system, including the ring light. I'll be keeping an eye on Craigslist for an appropriate-size Pelican. Pelican cases can take extreme abuse! They also float! (They are nearly, if not completely, air-tight and water-tight.) Used, beat-up, Pelican cases are often good as new in terms of functionality.