For some reason, I haven't cruised over to the Mola Light Blog in a while. Did so today. Some good stuff there! Check it out.
I know a Mola isn't in everyone's budget. It wasn't in mine either but, with good fortune smiling on me, I managed to put my hands on one.
I have the Mola 33.5" Euro. As mentioned, it wasn't in my budget either. Luckily, however, a few years ago, I spotted an ad on Craiglist. Some retired commercial photographer was selling some of his gear. (Who knew photographers retire?) He didn't actually have the Mola listed in his ad: He was selling some other stuff. I called him regarding the gear he was selling and ended up going to his place to look at it all. I don't exactly remember what the other gear was but I believe it was lights, stands and other assorted grip, a camera body and various glass.
When I got there, I spotted a Mola sitting on a junior stand in his garage. I asked about it after haggling over some other stuff I was interested in.
"Do you even know what that is?" he asked me.
I thought that was a bit presumptuous. You know, to presume I'm a photo-gear dumb-shit. Maybe I was paying too much--I didn't think I was--for the other gear we had agreed on? Perhaps I simply looked like a bumpkin who just fell off a turnip cart out front of his home? No matter. I have rhino skin. So, I went along with his assessment.
"No." I lied. "What is it?"
The old shooter went on to explain to me everything I already knew about Mola beauty dishes.
"Wow!" I said, maintaining my naivety. "Are you selling that too?"
"Those things are very expensive." He somberly advised me.
"Really. Hmmm... but are you selling it?" I again asked, keeping the turnip-cart-impression going.
"Maybe," he said. "But it's not going to be cheap."
"How not cheap is not cheap?" I innocently inquired.
The old guy sized me up. I plastered my very best hopeful-yet-ignorant look on my mug.
"Six-hundred bucks," he finally said.
"Wow! That is a lot!" I said.
"It cost well over a thousand new," the dude lied.
"And you're sure it's going to help me make great pictures?" I asked.
"Absolutely," the man said, this time a bit more honestly.
"I'll tell you what," I said as I pulled a wad of one-hundred dollar bills out and held them up in front of him. (I came prepared.) "I'm already buying this other stuff..." (I don't recall, specifically, what all the other stuff was but it was a bunch of things that amounted to approximately one thousand dollars.) "...and I'm just getting started in photography (I lied) and if you could let me have that -- What is it called? A Mola beauty dish? -- for five-hundred, on top of what I'm already spending... and you throw in that light stand it's on (a like-new Matthews Junior stand worth 3 or 4 hundred bucks by itself) I'll take it all, for cash, right now."
The guy thought about it for a moment, eying the Ben Franklins in my hand.
"That would be an awfully great deal." he said. This time completely honestly.
"Yeah. But you seem like an awfully nice guy," I answered with a big, hopeful, smile on my face.
He thought about it a moment longer then, still eying the bills in my hand, agreed.
Anyway. That's how this guerrilla glamour photographer ended up with a Mola beauty dish in his arsenal of lighting gear. BTW, I eventually sold the Matthews Junior stand for $350 (I already had plenty of other stands, including some juniors) so my total investment in my Mola beauty dish ended up being $150.
The pretty girl at the top is Charmaine from a few years ago. Snapped it using my Mola BD for a mainlight plus a couple of strip boxes, either side from behind, for kickers. Also worked a small, 18" square softbox into the mix, boomed overhead, from behind, for a hair light.