I am a big fan of the Alien Bee Einstein series of strobes from Paul C. Buff. I love everything about them from their reasonable price to action stopping speed and color control. The additional radio trigger makes them perfect for me in every possible way. The only thing I wish they had was a handle to help with tipping the unit when a modifier is in place.
I carry the following speedlights:
- 3x Nikon SB-800 speedlights (amazing speedlight that is no longer on the market)
- 4 Yongnuo speedlights (amazing, CHEAP, and stellar product for around $80!)
- 1x Nikon SB-900 speedlight (works as my commander. was damn expensive and not worth it)
I use these speedlights in conjunction with the Einstein strobes when I need additional lighting for a scene. Sometimes I use them in SU-4 (slave mode), and sometimes I will attach a radio trigger to them to insure they fire in cases where the angle or distance might limit the slave abilities of the unit.
I also have a ring light ABR800 from Alien Bees, but rarely use it as I don't prefer the look. I do use it as a beauty dish or round softbox sometimes, but because it isn't a controllable color like the Einsteins, I don't prefer it.
Note that all modifiers are Alien Bee unless otherwise noted. I love their folding softboxes! Also note that I don't get a sort of kick-back for advertising their stuff, I just feel it is the best bang for the buck in every way.
For traditional modifiers I carry the following: (all can be found at www.alienbees.com)
- 1x 22" White Beauty Dish (with all grids $$$, ouch)
- 2x Strip Boxes
- 2x Medium Softboxes
- 1x Laser Reflector
- 3x 9" Reflector
- 1x 86" PLM with all modifiers (freakin' HUGE)
- 2x Each type of grid for all reflectors
- 2x Barn Doors
- 3x Stands and 1x Background stand
- 1x 46" Softlighter (like a PLM but smaller)
- 2x 42" Shoot through umbrellas
- 2x Barn Doors
- 2x Snoots (I make these from spaghetti boxes and gaffers tape)
- 2x Various grids
- 2x Rosco Gel Sample Packs
- 3x 6' Stands, Adapters, and so on
I use the magical Nikon CLS system if possible, mostly because it is simply awesome and easy to setup/meter. However, if using my Alien Bees I often use a trigger. I did start out with some cheap triggers off of eBay, but eventually invested in some Pocket Wizards and have never looked back.
- 2x Pocket Wizards (not the newest ones, I have the no-frills version)
- 3x Paul C Buff CSB (awesome trigger that is battery powered)
- 4x Paul C Buff Einstein Triggers (plug into the top of the Einstein units)
- 1x Cyber Commander (ZOMG!, I love this thing!)
I am currently shooting a Nikon D800 and Nikon D300
These are the lenses ones I use the most:
Pelican Case. I think this was the smartest investment I made as it keeps my stuff as safe as it can possibly be, plus it has wheels!