Rigging up some lighting

Over the weekend we had a shoot on a beach area with two young teens, a brother and a sister.

The last time we shot with them, I used a battery pack with a strobe and a beauty dish. It was awkward and heavy.

This time, I decided to strap together two flashes, and use a shoot through umbrella for shots that needed fill.

I’m not always a fan of how diffusion wraps around your subjects, but it works in a pinch, because often — if hard light is wrongly placed, it looks crappy. We needed to work on the fly.

The above shot is lighted with the sun as a rim (a heavy rim on the left, the kid’s right). The fill is on his left, our right.

Like I said, it’s not perfect, but damn it made for a good image.

Here’s my make-shift rig that worked really well. Not pictured, my umbrella shoot through.


Oh no! Another scam to watch out for: DirectBuy

On this blog, I’ve successfully started two conversations that steered people from a gigantic Wyndham Vacation Resorts scam and from US Airlines Mailing scam.

Both have record-level hit counts. Just this week, the US Airlines Mailing post has seen upwards of 750 hits. And more people are giving accounts of their experiences. Keep ’em coming.

Well, here’s another one to watch out for from DirectBuy.

See the attached images I received in the mail. At first I thought, I could sit through a hard-sell meeting for a tablet that I could give away for Christmas.

But then I looked it up. And the tablet they offer is a cheap, Chinese piece of poop that you may, or may not get, if you sit through DirectBuy’s multiple hour, hard (hard!) sales presentation.

Notice in the rules below that you must bring your wife or fiancé if you go to the meeting. A “90-minute visitation is required.”

The sales tactics at these “visitations” are hard-sell, up in your face, you must buy now presentations.

If you’re faint of heart or have trouble saying no, DO NOT GO TO THIS PRESENTATION. 

After looking up several sites, including Wikipedia, I came to the conclusion that DirectBuy is likely somewhat legit, but a scam at the same time.

How it works is you pay almost $5,000 to become a DirectBuy member. DirectBuy is:

DirectBuy is a membership buying service with over 130 locations in the United States and Canada. It is headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana.[1] It claims that it is the largest franchiser of members-only consumer buying centers in North America.[2] Members pay a significant fee, which then entitles them to buy merchandise “directly from the manufacturer and its authorized suppliers”.

DirectBuy says that they offer “manufacturer-direct wholesale prices on practically everything you need for your home, both inside and out.”[3] Product categories include home furnishings, home improvement, entertainment & outdoor, flooring, and accessories.[4]

Once you become a member from their hard-sell presentation, many complain that it takes $20,000 or more in purchases to get close to recooping your initial investment. And often, the prices at their site aren’t any better than buying products elsewhere.

I find this to be true at places like CostCo, and certainly the age-old saying “Buyer Beware” comes into play.

But one doesn’t have to go far to find horror stories about DirectBuy. So here’s a google for “DirectBuy Scam“.

Here’s a lovely breakdown, though, at Scam.com for you to consider:

1)Reports of unscrupulous recruiting practices. You will be invited to a information session where they will force you to make a decision: Either you sign up right there or you will be bared from Direct Buy for 3-5 years. And they do not ask this question nicely.

2)You will have choice of the products, but that choice will be limited to what they have at warehouse. So even if you are promised at info(recruiting) session that you can buy that make/model/manufacturer, that does not mean that it will be there.

3)A lot of people complained that their prices are not that good. I guess Direct Buy compare their prices to Manufacturer Suggested Price list prices. But if you shop around, you can find similar price/model in other stores.

4)They have nonrefundable entrance fee of about $5000. So you better buy a lot($25-$30K) to recoup entrance fee.

My overall advice is, do not go to this meeting. You may not get your prize, and my may be pressured into spending $5,000 that you didn’t need to spend.

If you have DirectBuy stories, please share them below.

Here are more links:





Taking a bath after you get to the party

At a recent event, I took the above photo.

The event was at a bathroom showroom, and the tub in the shot features speakers in the tub for you to enjoy your jams to while Calgon takes you away.

The entire showroom is a working space, so the faucets all work and so do the tubs.

I caught this moment as a stranger came over and gave this young woman a bit of a jolt.