State of the Business (or assorted miscellany)
Its been busy. Yes, there is some work going on - real picture taking type of work. Yee-ha to that. In association to that is the continuing but soon ending saga of the studio buildout. After an emotional heart to heart (read as arguing and yelling with accusations) with the developer I am getting constant updates and they are accurate. Progress is being made. Another yee-ha. Looking to physically move stuff on the 4th, mostly cause I can get the help I need because folks are off work!
Besides the studio, my efforts with the new larger format sensor camera, the GFX50s, is ongoing. Its use over the past few months has been somewhat restricted so my progress with it is slow. For critical work like real estate, I do not have the lenses needed to do anything with it in that genre. For some people pictures I prefer a bit longer reach than the 32-64mm affords so I have branched to the X system and the 56mm or 90mm lenses. That will change with the arrival of the Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 this week. My friends at MPEX called out of the blue on Friday saying they had one in hand if I wanted it. How cool is that? So of course, its now mine and brown is bringing it home to Daddy. Thats a YEE-HA for sure.
Selling my location kit, all my Profoto B1's and the B2, was not an easy decision but there were several contributing factors to it. Operational price is one, they are expensive to operate. Period. I can handle that in the studio which remains largely Profoto for now. But outside and on location the B1's battery life has become an issue. I figured 250-270 pops per charge at the beginning would be plenty. I was wrong. Spare batteries are $279. Their OCF modifiers are also very expensive and to be honest, only the umbrellas and their diffusers live up to the hype. The OCF white beauty dish with the B2 was pretty good but the rest is over priced mediocre stuff. Also after using the Godox AD200 flash with bare bulb option, I have really come to like the results and flexibility of using a bare bulb flash. I think the reason the OCF gear earns a big fail is due to the B1's having that tiny built in 3.7" reflector and recessed flash tube. The B2 for whatever reason did not suffer as much and was quite good even with the bare head. Weird. So I decided to use the AD200's as my main "out and about" light but knowing I would need some power here and there, I invested in the Godox AD600 version offered by Adorama, the Flashpoint Explor 600. It has a full 2 yr warranty. Godox doesn't have a repair station stateside, Cheetah does and offers their version but the warranty is 6 months. Now, I don't think Adorama has a staff of guys wearing skull caps working at benches repairing flashes. I think they just replace units that fail. Cost is $549 shipped. I once had a D1 board fixed by Profoto out of warranty, at a cost of $450 shipped. Even if the Explor 600 is out of warranty, the cost of getting another is pretty close to getting a Profoto fixed. I can handle disposable flash units since they are written off anyway. Serious amateurs may balk at this philosophy and I get that but using them in a business for work is different. So far the results with the 600's are stellar. I dig the bare bulb. I don't dig the rattling of the Bowens mount modifiers, preferring the solid mating of the Profoto ring but you have to give up something given the price differential. I'm mostly buying my modifiers from Edward Tang and Cheetahstand. Very good quality and very good service. Their hard reflectors I have so far mimic the Profoto reflectors for instance, and the grade of metal appear identical. Performance is pretty much identical but I could only afford a few 7" and one Magnum Profoto reflector. A 7" reflector from Profoto is $240, a Magnum is $344. I bought the tele zoom version from Cheetah, the Magnum version, the wide angle version and a spare 7" version for $253 total and the 7" came with 4 high quality grids. For now, I'm digging this Godox/Cheetah/Flashpoint product. Godox also has the X1T-F Fuji trigger in production so its top of the line TTL trigger offering HSS will be available real soon - its $46. Profoto's TTL trigger for the B1 is over $400. $400! Thats insane and it works like crap too. I never trusted it.
So, listen, I need to run and get back to work but stay connected on email and or Facebook for the date of my ribbon cutting and grand re-opening of my business as Kilburg Photography at the new Kilburg Photography Studio at 72 S. Lasalle St., Aurora IL 60505. I hope to have a bunch of people, the Mayor of Aurora has said he would love to make it! I hope to have a few other top business owners and creatives in attendance too. Come meet the guys that are part of my new studio too - Vern, Matt and Mark. These guys are all top creative types, and awesome humans as well. We all want this studio to stand out as THE studio in Aurora. We are all working hard to make it so. Stay tuned amigos!