Wrapping up Lighting Week… We started the week with a high-end power pack and head system, moved to a fluorescent lighting, then window light, then segued into LED. It’s time to come full circle and look at electronic flash again, this time its monolights.
Portrait photographers get to practice their craft with an amazing selection of different light kinds of light sources and each has their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the kind of work you do. When it comes to electronic flash, I’ve always been partial to monolights because of their built-in power supply so there’s no cables from power pack to heads, only AC and maybe synch cords.
Dynalite’s Baja B4 kicks it up a notch by having the power supply—a Lithium-Ion battery—located inside the head and can fire up to 550 full-power flashes or up to 4500 shots at half-power. The Baja B4 can charge the battery but offers an external charger and additional batteries for long-day shoots. You also have the option of powering the monolight via AC by simply plugging in cord from the bundled charger into the nearest outlet.
The Baja uses the 2.4 GHz Swing II wireless system to trip the flash and control power output in tenth-stop increments. The Swing II receiver works with up to six groups with 16 channels per group and the strobe’s specific number is displayed on a small LED display and is user controllable. It uses a single AA Battery, works with sync speeds up to 1/250 sec and has an effective range of 260 feet.
The Baja B4 has a six-stop aperture range and offers three shooting modes: Normal, High Speed and Stroboscopic. The monolight has a built-in optical slave, audible flash indicators, Pyrex glass dome and a swiveling metal lightstand mount. The monolight is available as a two-head Kit that include two Baja-B4’s, a Swing II transmitter, two Swing II receivers, two battery chargers, and two Reflectors. The Baja B4 uses the Bowens accessory mount, opening the door for lots of different light shaping tools including Dynalite’s own full line of soft boxes, reflectors and umbrellas.
The old lighting saw that the closer the light, the softer it is and the bigger a light source the softer it becomes plays out in the loose headshots I made of Colleen Breanne with the light this close to her. Here’s where the not-so-bright modeling light come into it’s own since the light isn’t that bright and won’t make the subject uncomfortable. In this setup the main light, with softbox mounted, was placed at camera left with a second Baja B4 placed behind the subject to backlight her hair. A black Savage Infinity vinyl was used as background. Camera was a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 200.