Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 4:57PM
So yesterday Kelsy and I went to the fabulous store Calumet. I've rented lenses from them before and the staff is always friendly and pretty knowledgeable about cameras and stuff. Recently I added Strobist to my Google Reader, so I've been aching to do some off camera flash.
For around $40 I picked up a hot shoe mount and a flash trigger cord. Unfortunately the cord was only about a meter long, so getting really interesting off camera flash would be difficult. Fortunately I just saw an article on Make about extending flash cords with cat 5. $5 at home depot got me two cat 5 wall jacks, an hour later I was cooking with a cat5 cable that came from some piece of network gear I've bought. I wanted to go the whole nine yards, so I took some cat5e that I've had for a while for wiring my apartment network, measured out 50 feet and terminated the ends.
It didn't work.
So I cut the cable down to 30 feet. Eureka! That's a lot of room to move around with the camera and keep the flash on a tripod with an umbrella. It's quite a bit of fun shooting this way, and I figure all in I spent about $50 to $60 on the parts needed to achieve this. I could have spent $190 each on a pair of Pocket Wizards (one transmitter and one receiver), but I think for now I have all the tools I need to have some fun. You can see some of the early test shots by clicking on the photo above.
I'm shooting on a Canon Rebel XTi I got for Christmas 2007. The flash is a Canon Speedlite 430 EX I bought open box at Best Buy for $100. The tripod is a random tripod I have (I think I have 3 or 4 of them floating around), and the umbrella is part of the Lowell DV Creator Kit Kelsy bought a few years ago. My Cat5e isn't shielded or of the highest quality, so I bet if I got a little bit nicer cable I could extend the reach to 50 feet or so. All in all it was a fun little test and I'm hoping it'll help me in taking some more interesting photos in the future.