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decostanza

Mounting ideas for a slave strobe?

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I recently started a different thread about some Ike strobes...just got three of them with one being a slave strobe. I will be doing some pool testing prior to heading to "cave country" and was curious what others have found as a reliable mounting approach for the strobe on a set of doubles (or maybe a single tank)? It will be attached to a 3' ext. cord and I figure I would mount the "optical eye" on the inflator as that is easy. I'm also concerned about how tall of a profile this creates as it would almost make me cry to see the strobe ripped off from a model that might be a little off on the approach to such areas as "The Lips" at Ginnie.

 

Most of the folks that will be wearing the strobe will be in doubles but there might be a few single tank folks in the pool that would like a "hero" shot.

 

Best regards,

Don

Edited by decostanza

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Hi Don,

 

I tank-mount strobes on divers in doubles using bands of tire tubing, the same as I use on stage tanks to neatly stow regs. I've not yet been brave enough to tank-mount strobes on divers prior to passing through The Lips in Ginnie. I wish you all the best with it and I would be interested to hear how you get on. I have seen divers put my tank-mounted strobes into the ceiling and I can tell you it sure does hurt to watch!

 

For caves with really tricky sections (restrictions) that I want to shoot beyond, I will carry strobes into the cave in my drysuit pockets and mount them on the divers when we have passed through the restriction, removing them again for the exit. It works well but you and your models have to be patient setting up and you should plan to lose time and gas this way (and be super careful you don't trap a diver's long hose with your strobe cord routing).

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Alison,

Thanks for the input...I had a suggestion of using the same bands used for sidemount but came up with a better idea (I think). I have a buddy fabricating up a couple options, one will clamp to either top or bottom band and the second option will rest between the tanks. We are doing a test shoot tomorrow and depending on what he was able to fabricate last night, I will post of pic of the finished product. This should meet my requirements of being low profile, simple and easy to swamp out on models that may have different sized bands. Once we get this prototype dialed in, we will be making one for a single tank mount.

 

Regarding the divers putting strobes in the ceiling, I could see laying the strobe in a crevice but if they were damaging the cave with their strobes I would be compelled to give them a "WTF are you doing" gesture. More info forthcoming as we flush out this idea.

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Great! I look forward to seeing the results.

 

I'll just put this out there for consideration... I find that one of the greatest challenges of mounting strobes on the backs of cave divers is the resulting ugly "leg shadows" on the floor and walls.

 

It sounds like you are planning to nestle a strobe between tanks, which may be a practical way to transport strobes through the cave but may not be a functional way to get light out.

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To follow up on the mounting issue... A good buddy came up with a magnetic mount that will work great and keep it tucked in-between the tanks. Granted, it only works on steel tanks but that is not an issue with the group. This approach will not only keep a very low profile but also allow easy removal. I thought it was a clever approach that I hadn't considered...and thus thought I would share here.

 

Don

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Hmm, magnets - sounds interesting. What worries me is a strobe coming loose so that it's hanging by the cable alone. I usually clip them to a bit of cave line as well so they can't fall too far.

 

I have started using bungee straps placed on the tank in advance. For sidemount this means the diver can reach down and adjust the strobe from the top of the tank to the side as they pass through different areas. For backmounts it makes it a bit easier to mount the strobe in there while underwater. If you have enough strobes mounting one on each tank makes for great lighting behind the diver. A single strobe between backmounts (up the top) can work well for lighting, especially if it's angled slightly up and you instruct the diver to stick to the floor and keep their legs straight out behind for photos. Or place it right at the bottom between the boots to light the passage behind rather than overhead.

 

I was previously using duct tape for strobe mounting, added before the dive which sticks well when the tanks are dry but obviously isn't adjustable. I have also seen people taping/clamping strobe arms to tanks and then being able to adjust the strobe on the ball as they go.

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errbrr,

no worries about the magnet coming off...and if it does...we have much bigger problems. (grin) I could probably pick up a set of 104's just by the magnet (that is a slight exaggeration but you get the point). This is a much more flexible option which will allow for ease of transfering the strobe from model to model or re-position in the cave or wreck. more info forthcoming on the water trials

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Sounds interesting. Would be keen to see photos of setup and results if you have an interest in sharing.

 

If the magnet is that strong will you not have an issue pulling it off underwater?

 

Unfortunately magnets won't work for the aluminium tanks generally used in Mexico cave diving.

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Here is a very quick pic showing what we came up with. This is shown here fully extended; however, when positioned on doubles, the profile is very minimal when folded down. A buddy machined the ball mount and since I was doing a shoot for some cool UWLD products, thought I would use their clamp in the photo instead of the ones I normally use.

Don

post-35379-0-46973200-1419005133_thumb.jpg

Edited by decostanza

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Hi Don,

 

When I started shooting in caves about four years ago, I tried mounting remote strobes between the doubles on my model(s) and quickly found that it limited my creativity, not only with the lighting, but also the type of shots I could make. Tank mounted lighting really only works (if one likes the lighting that tank mounted strobes produce) with "diver facing you" shots. It took a little trial and error (all done in open water!) but I settled - and my models preferred, hand-held slave strobes. Nothing is attached to the diver so in the event of a more pressing need, the strobe can be simply dropped. I had a short aluminum handle made that has the Ikelite strobe attachment end and then used the now-discontinued Ikelite EV Controller to trigger the strobe. There may be more elegant solutions to firing the slave with other types of strobes. However, the advantage of the controller is that its adjustable in terms of position. So, with the strobe (on the handle) being held by the diver (in the left hand, when shooting) the strobe can be pointed in almost any direction - so now I have options with front-facing, back-lit shots, from the back looking into the cave shots and almost everything in between in terms of shooting angles.

 

I use one strobe (usually turned down in terms of power so as not to over do the foreground in an effort to reduce my (the photographer's) "footprint" in the photo, and the divers get to angle and position themselves for the shot with a lot of flexibility.

 

Here's a photo that illustrates my description:

 

resized-IMG_1820.jpg

 

And here's a photo of the remote strobe rig...

IMG_1605-resized.jpg

 

Hope that helps! Best of luck with your cave photography!

 

Lee

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