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We have it so easy now! Ascor strobe of the 1960's.
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
x-ray
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We have it so easy now! Ascor strobe of the 1960's.

I got into commercial photography as an apprentice in a studio in the early 70's. I look back at the strobe lighting equipment we used and am amazed at how inefficient and big the strobes were at that time. We had some small (all is relative) Photogenic units but they didn't put out much light and were mainly for portraits and small products when we didn't use hot lights. For bigger stuff we had Ascor 800 series units with Clortran / Ascor soft lights. These were aluminum and steel and about 4 feet x4 feet square and were mounted atop heavy duty stands designed to hold 5K hot lights. The total package took two of us to raise it and move it. The unit had 4 1K halogen bulbs for modeling lights and two 3-1/2 foot long quartz flash tubes that were attached to two 680 series 2400ws power packs. Each weighed around 50 pounds each. This was the state of the art at the moment and was the improved version of the Ascor 800 series Sunlights. I never used the sunlight but was aware of them. They were made up of capacitor units weighing somewhere around 65 pounds each and delivered 800ws but required a power supply that weighed as much as 355 pounds. Up to 48 of the capacitors could be connected together and would deliver 40,000ws through a single flash tube. A full complement of capacitors weighed 3,000 pounds. Oh yes, these things were deadly and could kill if not treated with respect.

Here's a little article you might find fascinating.

https://cornicello.com/itfigures/ascoraaaa

Yeh, the good old days!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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I remember a guy in my high school had a (I think) Honeywell strobe. He walked around with a battery pack. But he was able to shoot at a basketball game. We could never figure out how he paid for that strobe. I wish I could see some of his photos again. They were very good, he used a Rolleiflex. Like you say they were big outfits even the Honeywell portable unit.

In 1970 I bought a Braun flash unit (very portable, but weak) and used it for years; then the rechargeable battery died. I continued to use it as a slave on AC power in my house. I still have it but have others to use now.

My friend at my suggestion use bought a GODOX tt685s for his FF Sony. We set it up and now he (who doesn't know the first thing about lighting) is a Pro.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
rybolt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I remember a guy in my high school had a (I think) Honeywell strobe. He walked around with a battery pack. But he was able to shoot at a basketball game. We could never figure out how he paid for that strobe. I wish I could see some of his photos again. They were very good, he used a Rolleiflex. Like you say they were big outfits even the Honeywell portable unit.

In 1970 I bought a Braun flash unit (very portable, but weak) and used it for years; then the rechargeable battery died. I continued to use it as a slave on AC power in my house. I still have it but have others to use now.

My friend at my suggestion use bought a GODOX tt685s for his FF Sony. We set it up and now he (who doesn't know the first thing about lighting) is a Pro.

You young guys! I was mounting Ascor Sunlight Series heads and packs in the rafters of college basketball arenas back in the 70's. The only problem was that they had a long duration. Speedotron came out with a pack/head series that gave the same output but with a shorter duration and the PJ's and sports shooters swiyched over to them.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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In this film episode they show what was in use in sixties for USSR studios:
https://youtu.be/cjBu1U6NgO4?t=22m30s
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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I remember my dad buying a new Pentax H3v and Honeywell Futuramatic strobonar. That was one sweet camera but the flash weighed several pounds and barely would reach across a small room.

It was around 1968 that I bought a Honeywell 660 that was great. it had a pretty good guide number, didn't weigh too much, rechargeable battery trays and best of all was automatic. I also bought 2 Honeywell 202 or 204 AC slave strobes for head shots. I had a Wein flash meter and thought the setup was pretty uptown.

Unfortunately I never used the Ascor Sun system but until digital came along had somewhere on the order of 40,000ws of Speedotron backline equipment. I had 6 - 2K Normans, 3 - 4K and 3 - 800's that were very unreliable and got rid of them. I still have around 15,000ws of Speedotron Black Line. They're really heavy but stand up under heavy use.

When I was doing a lot of catalog work I shot much of it on 8x10. I often used a 19" Red Dot Artar and would stop down to f64 or 90 for enough depth of field. On large sets, I'd have to turn the lights off in the studio and modeling lights off and open the lens and fire the strobes as many as 30 times to build up enough exposure. Each 48,000ws pack pulled 40 amps and the magnetic field generated around the metal conduit would make the steel in my building rattle. My studio was in a large steel building.

When I got into commercial work in 1972, that kind of power was rare. 2,400 ws was a huge amount of light and somehow we made do with it.

Even into the 80's I used flash bulbs. I lit some massive areas with #3's and fired them with 110v using a relay box so as not to kill myself. The amount of light from #3's was really hard to achieve any other way. There were times I'd use a couple dozen in one shot. The downside is you have to change the bulbs every time you make a shot, it's impossible to meter so it's by calculation and trial and error and it's a huge amount of work to string outlets and cables to couple interior lamps together. Also the cost is high.

I still have a case of bulbs and tell myself I'll use them one day.

Old guys that have used the big bulbs, ever had a bulb go off when you're putting it in the flashgun? Even a 25 or 5 will fry the fingerprints off your fingers. That's why we old-timers used a handkerchief or better the cardboard sleeve to hold the bulb when you put in the socket. Sometimes they would static fire, OUCH!!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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An interesting little side note, I have a Ascor fresnel spot from the 80's that drops the breaker when I turn on my pack. I decided to get it fixed and contacted Speedotron today and they will still work on it.

In all the yeas of using Speedotron I only had one repair. I was on location shooting in the middle of a highway that the police graciously shut down for me. I was shooting a truck seat on the yellow line with a long lens and the mountains compressed up close. It was mid day and the sun was fun and harsh so I had to do some fill light. I had a large industrial generator that you pull behind a truck and was using a 4,800ws Speedotron and single 4,800 ws head in a 6ft soft box. The generator malfunctioned after a few shots and the regulator failed feeding 220v to my 110v pack. It popped and blew out a piece of ceramic insulation from the head. I sent my 2 assistants to quickly get some sheets of foam core and aluminum foil and used that as reflectors. It worked perfectly.

I shipped the pack to Speedotron and they repaired it in one day and shipped it back via air. The repair was around $125 and involved replacing a transformer and new piece of ceramic in the head. Great service!!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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I still would like to have a lifetime supply of AG-1 bulbs to use with my Leica IIIf. Those slides were beautiful.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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It's like the first time I saw someone use one of the first cell phones on the street. This suit was walking back and forth on the sidewalk in San Diego talking on a phone that had a cord connected to a largish pack on his shoulder, which I assume was the battery. I thought, wow, why would anyone want to do that? Now, I spend more time avoiding calls on the thing than answering them.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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I had a Honeywell potato masher flash and a Braun Hobby flash. No idea what even happened to them. Now I have a different potato masher and a Nikon SB-something or other: SB-24? The latter died a while ago. I should open it up to see what I can do with it (I have an electronics background, a little rusty by now). Capacitor, likely. It would be fun to build up a really big electronic flash. I don't know what I would do with it. Light up the dark side of a building for an architectural shot. I used to work for EG&G Inc., founded by Dr. Harold Edgerton, who invented the electronic flash. You remember his picture of milk splashing into a dish, right? I worked in the Nevada office. But the biggest flash we put together wasn't electronic. It used over 100 flash bulbs! It was for scientific photography. I was the guy who had to change the bulbs.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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Bob In the mid 70's I worked for the DOE at Oak Ridge National Lab and one other facility. I did ultra high speed motion picture work and used FF33 and # 3 bulbs to lite the subject. Sometimes I only needed a split second of light and other times a second. I shot a lot of film at 44,000 frames per second. The shutter speed was 1/100,000 of a second and 400 ft of 4x went through the camera in 1/10 of a second. Timing was critical especially when you only had one chance to get the shot.

The FF33 was a good bulb with a 1.75 second peak. I still have one somewhere.

Edgertons work was amazing for the time. Wasn't he at MIT?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post

Edgertons work was amazing for the time. Wasn't he at MIT?
I think so. As I recall our home office might have been in Boston.

The fastest camera we had was a Bell & Howell Fastax, which used a vacuum cleaner motor to spin a drum. The film (just 5 or 6 feet) was wrapped inside the drum. There was a prism spinning the opposite direction from the drum to sort of "spray" the images onto the film. It was also a split-second event.

Otherwise we used high-speed 16mm Milliken cameras that ran maybe 400 frames per second, and 35mm and 16mm Mitchell cameras.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
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Being a bit younger I remember my father lugging around his Crown Graphic and a battery pack for this huge flash head for many years. He was so happy when he switched jobs and went to a Vivitar 181 and a 35/1.4 Nikkor.

I remember seeing some shots of a family looking at a train going by at night lit by flash bulbs. I still have a lot of bulbs in boxes downstairs for when I have time to play. I loved using them in High School as I could paint the light (move the flash) with a long exposure.

A friend of mine got tossed across the room learning the fix an Apple Monitor, I can't image what one of those old flashes would do to you. While she was 5' nothing and weighed about 20lbs holding two buckets of water it's scary stuff.

B2 (;->
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Some neat stories here!
Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Some neat stories here!

Dear x-ray,

I'm enjoying reading about this stuff even though I don't have the slightest idea what most of what you're saying means? It's just fun to read about things that exploded or could burn you!

My Grandfather Murphy had a Honeywell Potato Masher flash that he used with his Nikon FTN to shoot beautiful slides of all the grandkids. He mostly used it in the house with an AC adapter and I can still remember that the lights inside the house used to dim when he set it off. I'll also never forget the smell of all the dead electrons after each flash. Seriously, that post flash smell is a great childhood memory for me.

Please keep the stories coming!

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/sho...638eeaaa6e4c37

https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/sho...c23eb8d20ecb5a

Bill, here you go^^^

And search images O. Winston on google or any other engine.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
Being a bit younger I remember my father lugging around his Crown Graphic and a battery pack for this huge flash head for many years. He was so happy when he switched jobs and went to a Vivitar 181 and a 35/1.4 Nikkor.

I remember seeing some shots of a family looking at a train going by at night lit by flash bulbs. I still have a lot of bulbs in boxes downstairs for when I have time to play. I loved using them in High School as I could paint the light (move the flash) with a long exposure.

A friend of mine got tossed across the room learning the fix an Apple Monitor, I can't image what one of those old flashes would do to you. While she was 5' nothing and weighed about 20lbs holding two buckets of water it's scary stuff.

B2 (;->
It was O Winston Link that did all the train images and lit them with flash bulbs. I met him about 23 years ago and just happened to have a #11 bulb with me and a sharpie. I love his work and asked him to autograph my bulb. He did but thought it was really funny.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
Being a bit younger I remember my father lugging around his Crown Graphic and a battery pack for this huge flash head for many years. He was so happy when he switched jobs and went to a Vivitar 181 and a 35/1.4 Nikkor.

I remember seeing some shots of a family looking at a train going by at night lit by flash bulbs. I still have a lot of bulbs in boxes downstairs for when I have time to play. I loved using them in High School as I could paint the light (move the flash) with a long exposure.

A friend of mine got tossed across the room learning the fix an Apple Monitor, I can't image what one of those old flashes would do to you. While she was 5' nothing and weighed about 20lbs holding two buckets of water it's scary stuff.

B2 (;->
It was O Winston Link that did all the train images and lit them with flash bulbs. I met him about 23 years ago and just happened to have a #11 bulb with me and a sharpie. I love his work and asked him to autograph my bulb. He did but thought it was really funny.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
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I had a portable electronic flash in the early sixties. The flash tube unscrewed and was carried around in a tin tube with a screw top and a lot of padding. The power was two 90v batteries in series and they were heavy.

Regards, David
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
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Very cool stuff, #11, Walk With Pride X-Ray!

CJC, thank you!

I remember going to a talk at ICP that Dr. Edgerton gave in the mid '80s. He invented side scanning sonar, amazing man. He was very old at the time but you still see the spark in his eyes when he talk about his pictures and stuff he did. I wasn't smart enough to bring an electronic flash and a sharpie.

Can't wait for the weather to get better, gotta go see if the old Vivitars still cycle.....

B2 (;->
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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When I outfitted my home studio I went with old Broncolor. Several of the central fixtures are two 606 power packs, which allow me to put 6000WS through one head. These packs are 220V and are about as safe as you can get with this kind of thing. I can do 12000WS in one "pop" and it does make quite a "thump" when it fires. The Broncolor Hazylight completes the rig. I bought all of it for $600 from MPEX and hauled it away in my Minivan. It was previously owned by a British Fashion Photographer who used it to make 8x10 chromes (catalog work) in NYC.

In the 1970s I bought a Honeywell 700 Strobonar brand new and it never failed me for over ten years of photojournalistic photography. Now I use hot rodded Norman 200b's, New York Flash Clinic even made a Hasselblad ringlight for me that fits the 200b pack. Norman 200bs are 200WS.

Vivitar 283's were my go-to units fifteen years ago; right now I use them occasionally. Probably have ten or twelve of them around here now. Recently I have toyed with the idea of using them with the Plaubel Makina IIIs. Actually that is a very good combo for retro press photography.

Larry at Broncolor Service informed me that those 606s were originally valued at about $150,000.00 each. I probably paid about $100 each for the 606 heads and packs.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #20
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Large capacitance components scare me. I once shorted a moderatly big capacitor with a screwdriver (by accident). The spark, noise, and smoke scared me quite a bit, but noticing the melted metal on my screwdiver shank is when the fear set in.

Looking in my old (but very reliable) Norman power unit, I see a few rather intimidating capacitors. I see some kids are using large capacitors in their car sound systems these days....I noticed an advertisement for a 1 Farad capacitor at the audio store. Um....1 whole Farad of capacitance must easily be lethal!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #21
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....and I used to be frightened by flash bulbs too. Those things get hot! And if you grab one before its cooled down, the molten safety coating will stick to your skin, ensuring a long painful burning event.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #22
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Nokton48 I used some smaller Broncolor units in the 70's into the 80's at an ad agency I worked for. They were nice units but components like sockets, plugs and fuses weren't standard in the US. Broncolor parts were were hard to find in the south. That's one of the great things about Speedotron. Virtually every component can be bought in a good electronics store.

Honeywell changed portable strobes for ever. They went from huge heavy units with wet cell batteries or high voltage batteries to a small light and very efficient flash with nicad rechargeable batteries. After carrying a Graflex IV flash with two 4xx volt batteries that weights 5 pounds around, Honeywell brought relief to our backs.

Do any of yo remember those huge heavy Graflex IV strobes? The IV could be switched from 50-200ws if I remember correctly. There was also the Braun RL515. It took one single 5-5v battery. I had one of those too and they were much smaller and lighter thN the Graflex and batteries although expensive were much cheaper than the two for the Graflex.

Then Vivitar came in and saved our backs and wallets. They brought out the 283 that set the stage for virtually all modern portable strobes. They were small, light, fast recycle, good guide #, auto or manual exposure with multiple ranges and some very usable accessories at a very good price. I think the 283 is still made after more than forty years.

Speaking of smelling the burned plastic coating on flash bulbs as a child one of my favorite smells was the B&W coated swab that came with polaroid B&W film in the 50's and 60's. Actually they came with the 4x5 55PN that I used a lot of. I actually have a few still to sniff when I start missing the old days.

One thing about large strobes, they'll kill if mistreated it only takes 50 WS (joules) to start and stop your heart and these big units store 4,800 up to 6,000 ws. If you didn't die you'd be severely burned and probably never the same. If you really want to know what something like that feels like, I can give you an idea. About 25 years ago my son and a friend and I were at a pistol range practicing for a state tournament when a lightning storm came up. We all pulled up our target frames and headed out. I was the last out and had to close a steel gate. As I wrapped my arms around a 4" heavy horizontal part of the gate to put a pin in a hole I remember feeling the hair on my arms stand up then everything went white. My son witnessed me getting a secondary strike off of a tree. That's about all I remember. For about two weeks my body from my toes to my eyelids felt like I'd been hit by a cement mixer. Every muscle contracted 100%, even in my eyelids.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #23
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My father would come home and charge three Graflex batteries for the next day. Remember the WIDE black plastic straps. My gut tells me that you could lift a Le Car with two of those.

X-Ray that is scary 5hit man. Damn lucky to be here. I was told that lightening doesn't have to follow the laws of physics and it can go any way it feels like.

I went from a 151 to a 192 that I used for years. If the accessories for the 292 were anywhere near as good as the 283 I would have stayed with that form-factor. I love off camera flash and the 192/292 had all the power of the 283. I used a thick plastic card to help direct light and held it in my left hand. I remember taking it apart about a week after I got it to put in a thin piece of frosted plastic to help defuse the harshness. That and my old Konica IIIa were a great flash setup for existing darkness. Right hand for focus, aperture, and shutter release, left for flash and film advance.

Make me very happy at the range out here we have an automatic gate now. You are very a lucky man!

B2 (;->
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Old 1 Week Ago   #24
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Bill, Le Car???? My friend had one and we could lift it. I didn't think of flash batteries.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #25
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I was extremely lucky. It knocked out some memory but it doesn't matter because I can't remember what it was ;-). My sister in laws brother suffered a direct hit while on a ship in the navy. It really messed up his heart but he's in his 70's now and is doing fine. I had client in the late 60's that's 5 year old daughter was hit on a golf course. She was in a coma for thirty years and passed away without ever regaining conciousness. Very sad!

I've got a couple of little pocket Vivitars from the 70's that still work and are great for a little fill light outside.

I just bought a Nikon SB5000. What an amazing strobe but you have to carry the manual with you because it's way too complex. I wish Nikon would allow you to custom design your own menu on your computer and load the features in the unit that you'll need in a configuration that makes sense to you. It would be so simple. I guess that's the problem, it's too simple.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Bill, Le Car???? My friend had one and we could lift it. I didn't think of flash batteries.
Yeah, I lusted after the old Renault 5 and the 17 Gordini for years, come to think of it I still do. My father got some front seats from a old (then) Renault 8 and built some frames on 2x6s and we used them in the basement for seating for years. Gosh they were comfortable.

On my first day of photography class in High School our teacher was trying to teach us about light and exposure. He took a picture of us with the lights on, then turned them off and took another. Then he pulled out a six in long strand of magnesium that he lit while I took his picture. Talk about things you would never see in a school today. But then we had a lino-type machine with hot led and three old presses.

B2 (;->
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Old 1 Week Ago   #27
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I recall that era (vaguely) though I hasten to add I was only a little kid (I am thinking of the 1960s). One incident sticks in my mind for some reason. My older brother was getting married and a photographer was duly organized for that day. I do not know what camera he was using but I do recall it was impressively BIG. I don't recall him using a tripod so I can only guess all these years on that it was something like a speed graphic or similar (pictured below). One further thing I do recall vividly was the plethora of used flashbulbs dropped on the floor by him as he took pictures in the reception hall. I recall picking a freshly dropped one up and burning myself on it. Which of course is probably the principal reason why I recall it all so vividly 50 years on. Oh there was another reason - I remember that I did not wish to go to the wedding preferring to stay at home and read comics and play with my air rifle. My stressed father, tired of arguing with me wolloped me. Which settled the argument convincing me, not perhaps that I had changed my mind, but rather that there was no further point in resisting. I don't blame him, I would have done the same were I in his shoes but it did register on my mind apparently. I ended up with pain on both ends of my body that day and can only conclude that pain administered appropriately is a good way of remembering things and reinforcing learning. A lesson in evolutionary biology, perhaps.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #28
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Talk about life easier, Linotype machines were engineering marvels. I used to watch the typesetters run them at the newspaper near my home when I was a kid in the 50's. I did work for a guy that had a print shop an still set type on two of them. He was still using them in the 90's until he died. How amazing they are and watching the operator press the type impression in the fiber mat then form it into a cylinder and pour hot Linotype metal in it. I used to love getting ahold of those mats after they were finished with them. There's still a Linotype society that use them. I had one of the member contact me to use one of my images in something he was doing. He said the group gets together each year and each will produce a special piece for show each year and make enough printed pieces for each member to exchange with each other. Very cool they're keeping this alive.

I'm really big on keeping old photo processes alive. I do platinum printing and shoot collodion wet plates. I try to keep everything as authentic as possible down to the lens. In the 70's I had a coworker teach me how to do dye transfer prints. Man, what a process! I'd like to get into other processes one day.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #29
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Peter I worked for the Department of Energy (the new name for the AEC Atomic Energy Commission) back in the mid 70's. My boss was marking time until retirement and resisted any form of modernization. We still shot everything including grip and grins on 4x5 sheet film. We each had a 4x5 calumet monorail and a Super Speed Graphic with a Graflite flashgun and a bag for bulbs and one for film holders. I shot literally a ton of press 5 and 25 bulbs.

My Super Speed had problems with the fine wires that ran through the bellows that triggered the selanoid tat fired the lens and that fired the flash. It spent a lot of time in the repair shop and would work for a few days after getting it back then fail again. I finally gave up and dug a WWII olive green signal corp Speed Graphic out of the camera locker and adopted it until I left the DOE. It worked flawlessly. Wish I owned it now.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #30
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X-ray;

You'll like this.

http://www.dasilvaphoto.com/behind-t...again?rq=ascor

I once repaired a sunlight series console. 4 capacitor drawers at 5000 W/s each. There were two consoles in the studio owned by my pal, who shot food on 8x10

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Old 1 Week Ago   #31
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That's the article that inspired this thread.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
...... we could lift it.......
Second semester in Monroe Community College a bunch of us "Data Processing" types had done our PL/1 assignment and one of the other geeks-in-training new to him car and wanted to show us. We went to see his car and I noticed a Vega that belonged to one of the girls in our class. She had parked next to me and the space on the other side of hers. So as it was a nice day, the six of us bounced her Vega and turned it sideways between my car and other. We guessed that she would be out so we hung out near the car (read BOAT with room to almost get into the engine compartment on either side of the big V8) with the hood up. She came out in a bit and was confused, mad, but all was forgiven when we I moved my car.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #33
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It must have been around 1960, my band instructor had a Renault Daulphine. Several of us turned it sideways one day. Today you'd get in serious trouble doin something like that but back then everyone just laughed and went on with life. No one hurt and nothing damaged, just fun.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #34
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One reason I went with Broncolor, is that it is some of the safest strobe eq out there. I have no desire to experience a jolt of electricity. When you turn off the pack, it discharges through large built-in ceramic resistors. Broncolor made a big deal out of the fact that they passed UL tests and were approved to be safe. I've heard of assistants being blown across the room by some other systems..........

That strobe in Peter's photo is interesting. That's a Norman 200b flash tube grafted onto the top of a 283. I have a few of those, Armatar was making them for a while. IMO the biggest advantage is fitting the strobe with Norman reflectors. I have a homemade soft one that I used to use with the 30mm Hasselblad 30mm fisheye. So very versatile.........

I have gravitated to using smaller Broncolor strobe packs, the really big ones can be rather scary to fire up. As they age the big issue is whether the caps will "poof" and Larry at Broncolor Service says that is somewhat inevitable at some point or another (due to cap aging). The only remedy is cap replacement, which is outrageously expensive as far as I am concerned.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #35
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I got a good jolt once from a White Lighting mounted on a catwalk way too far above the gym floor in a coliseum. Followed all the instructions for changing the flash tube - unplug it, let it sit over night, went back the next day to change out the tube, pressed the test button several times, pulled the old tube no problem, went to insert the new tube and zzzaaap!. Lucky there were two horizontal pipes, one above the other, as well as a horizontal corner piece right at my back or I'd have probably been a grease spot on the free-throw line!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #36
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Capacitors can hold a partial charge for quite a few days.

I never had a capacitor blow but the Norman 2000's I had blew several diodes. When one would blow there'd be a huge ball of fire come out of the pack and it sounded like firing a shotgun beside you. It would scare the crap out of you. I've never had any diodes or capacitors blow with my Speedotrons.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
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Here is one of my Broncolor 606 Heads. This beast will handle 6000 watt seconds through one tube. See how massive the flashtube (and connecting cord) is? To put it in perspective, firing this head once is the equivalent of simultaneously firing sixty (60) Vivitar 283 flashes.

The 606 pack has a flip-up door arrangement, which automatically fully discharges all the caps, before you can remove any of the connection cords. This is an example of Bronolor safety built in to the system. No need for a "suicide stick" :/

My Broncolor Hazylight Head will also handle 6000Ws. It is fan cooled and has a 1000W modeling light, which I tend to use more with the Hazylight, rather than the strobe itself.

Broncolor 606 Head by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 1 Week Ago   #38
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Those are expensive tubes. I have Speedotron Blackline packs and still have 4800cx and 106 heads that have a single tube that takes the full 4800ws. The tubes get expensive if you break one.

One of the big complaints Ive had with strobes vs hot lights is the lack of fresnel spot lights. You almost have to have hot lights adapted. Speedotron addressed that and still make fresnel lights. I have one that I love that's an 8" fresnel based on a Strand-Century. It takes a full 4800 as in one tube. It's a really nice light that has a very unifor pattern from very tight to flood. I just picked up a nice Ascor fresnel focusing spot that had a short in the modeling lamp or fan circuit. It's off to Speedotron to be fixed. This little spot will take 800ws max.

I learned to light in the days of hot lights and still use hot lights and especially fresnels. You just have so much control and unlike LED lights the color is on the money. Speaking of LED's. I worked on a shoot recently where one of the assistants had just bout a new Arri sun soft light, WOW. Amazing color and versatility with constantly variable color from the warm side of tungsten to something like 20,000 kelvin. It'll run on a battery too and you can dial in about any color that Rosco offers in gells. The catch is it's dry heavy and with the AC power supply its right at $7,000 but it'll last a lifetime. Arri has similar features in their LED fresnels too. You could have a pretty nice lighting package for around $75,000:-(.

That's a lot cheaper than a comperable HMI package and a lot lighter and easier to use. No monsterous heavy ballasts and temperamental lights that won't strike an arc when hot. No heat too with LED's.

Speaking of big and heavy, in my hot light days I had a Mole Richardson Mighty Mole that was 10,000 watts. Imagine the amperage it pulled. I had 2 800 amp services in the studio. The beast must have weights 300 pounds and the fresnel lens was around 30" in diameter. I might be a touch off on size as it's been over 30 years since I had it. I also had 4 x 5,000 watt, 6 x 2,000 watt and quite a few 1,000's. Then there were 1,000 watt floods and smaller fresnels. I did quite a bit of motion picture work for commercials on 35mm film and then later video plus doing large room sets and products for stills. Big setups take a lot of light because tungsten film is quite slow (transparency film not negs).

With Ektachrome professional tungsten the film came with a data sheet that gave different ISO values for different exposure times and filter pack recommendations for each time to correct for reciprocity color shift. I always tested each batch and most often found their recommendations were off by quite a bit.

A 15 second exposure on tungsten chrome might result in an effective ISO of 15 with a filter pack of cc10 blue + c 7.5 magenta. Depending on the batch of film it could be anything. For example one batch might require that cc10B + cc7.5M at 15 sec and at 1 minute it might be ISO 8 with a cc5 green + cc10 cyan and another batch would be totally different.

When you're working with an ISO of 10 or 15 with filters and an aperture of f45 on your 19' (480mm) lens on 8x10 you need a huge amount of light. Imagine working with models and keeping them cool and looking fresh.

Daylight film and strobes made life much much easier. Daylight film didn't require CC filter packs to correct reciprocity color shift because the flash duration was very fast. There was no proble keeping talent cool and power requirements were much less. The trade off was the lack of fresnel lighting. Like I mentioned, Speedotron offers or offered 2 fresnel spots, an 8 and a 10 inch that will take 4800 ws in a single pop.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Capacitors can hold a partial charge for quite a few days.

I never had a capacitor blow but the Norman 2000's I had blew several diodes. When one would blow there'd be a huge ball of fire come out of the pack and it sounded like firing a shotgun beside you. It would scare the crap out of you. I've never had any diodes or capacitors blow with my Speedotrons.
Norman P2000D's were sometimes referred to as the Norman Portable Grill. I had a wedding photographer buddy who blew one up one day during a bridal shoot and caused a pre-bride to soil her linen.
On the other hand, Bill Norman made some really good portable 2oo watt second packs and heads back in the 70's.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #40
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I may have some old tungsten chrome data sheets stuck away. If I find them I'll scan some and post.
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