Flashpoint White Shoot Through Umbrella – other uses

Under an UmbrellaWhile writing a review for the Flashpoint 180 Monolight and the 71″ Glow Grand Softbox I wanted to test these two products in a bright environment, where I really need to kick a lot of light on my subject since I was using a white shoot through umbrella as my background.

As you can see from the photo on the left, there’s been some post production work, but that’s neither here nor there. Nor is this about my review. (see initial review) What I wanted to touch on was using something other than a classic backdrop or something found in nature.  In this case I wanted to increase the light hitting the back of my subject but not have to deal with direct sunlight.  Seen that done too many times and frankly I’m bored.

I remember seeing a high fashion shot about a year ago where the photographer used a huge white shoot through umbrella.  But, that was shot in a studio with very controlled conditions.  Beautiful shot though.  I wish I could remember where I saw it because I would love to share it with you.FlashPoint-Umbrella

Back to my story, I purchased this 7 foot umbrella from Adorama about a year ago.  It’s HUGE and works great when you’re outdoors and need to soften that noon time sun.

I had my subject drape it over her shoulder, standing with her back toward the sun so that the umbrella lit up.  Then I took the Flashpoint 180 Monolight and the 71″ Glow Grand Softbox and placed it right in front of her, about 10 0r 11 feet away.  Turned the monolight up to full power and got a beautiful shot, in my opinion at least.  I liked the umbrella ribs behind her and with quasi high-key effect I think it works.

My point – experiment with different backgrounds to create something out of the ordinary for your portraits. Now go out and shoot.

Joe Randeen : 3 Penguins Photography

40 Must-See Photos From The Past

Unpacking the Head of the Statue of Liberty delivered June 17, 1885

Unpacking the Head of the Statue of Liberty delivered June 17, 1885

One of the reasons I LOVE photography. Take a look at these 40 photos from the past.

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was coined by American newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in 1911. It’s a simple notion that applies to many aspects of our lives, but especially to historical photography. Sometimes, one simple picture can tell you more about history than any story you might read or any document you might analyze.

These photographs all tell stories about the historical figures or events that they represent. Once taken simply to document their present, they now help us witness the past. Many photographs only become iconic shots years later, once we understand their importance and historical context. From historical landmarks and famous people to the basic daily routines of the past, these pictures portray the past in a way that we can empathize with and understand more intimately.

Take a look at all of these pictures and perhaps the wars, poverty, fights for freedom and little miracles of the past have lessons for us that we can use today.

Flashpoint 180 Mono Light and Glow Grand Softboxes [review]

Received a wonderful invitation, a short time ago, from the amazingly talented Jeff Foster (Pixel Painter). The invitation was to assist in reviewing the Flashpoint 180 Mono Light, the Glow 47″ Grand Softbox, and the Glow 71″ Grand Softbox.  Although I’m not done putting all three products through their paces (the 71″ softbox is a MONSTER), I do have some initial observations.

First, the Flashpoint 180 Mono Light. I don’t do a ton of in-studio work.  I prefer seeking out new locations, locations that suit the subject matter that I’m photographing.  That said, this light is great for both.  Everything you see pictured is included.  It’s light-weight and contains everything you need for a basic shoot.

The shoot-through umbrella is a nice touch and maybe in a pinch, I would use it.  But, if I’m going to haul a stand(s) I’ll bring something more substantial.

The mono light has plenty of power, highly adjustable.  I do wish it had an LED readout instead of a simple dial, but for the price it’s not a deal breaker.

It comes with the necessary cables, a reflector and the aforementioned umbrella.

You can click on the link for more specifics.

That brings us to the Softboxes.  As I mentioned, as of writing this I have only begun using the 47″ Softbox.  The 71″ is such a monster that I don’t have the stands to fly this thing.  I’ll do some mods and get it working soon.

The only initial con that I encountered is that both Softboxes require 16-rod speedrings.  Personally, I had a hard time locating any, at a fair price.  So, having only one speedring currently, makes it not desirable to switch between the two Softboxes – it takes a lot of time with 16-rods.  But, yes there is a but, having 16-rods makes the Softboxes round and even.  That part I love.  Get a speedring for each Softbox and you have no worries.  NOTE: Adorama states that each Softbox comes with a speedring, we only got one for both Softboxes. Again, check the links above for more specifics.

So, I did shoot a couple of initial shots; a selfie using a remote for my camera and one of a baby.  I set up in my messy garage for expediency, with a black backdrop and a white foam core board for a bite of highlight.  No other strobes, just the one 47″ Softbox.  I was extremely happy with the results, especially since I was wearing glasses. The mono light was set at half power and remotely triggered.










Joe Randeen Selfie

f/13, 125, ISO 400


f/9, 160, ISO 200


f/9, 160, ISO 200












Looking forward to sharing more with you soon. In the mean time, check out some of Jeff Foster‘s other reviews at Pro Video Coalition:

DJI Phantom Quadcopter for GoPro Hero3 with Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal
iOgrapher for iPad/iPad Mini
Lowel GL-1 Power LED Flood/Spot Light

 – Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

The VALUE in photography

These are not my words as I’m re-posting this from Two Blooms Photography, but they are my stance, my beliefs if you will.  I don’t think it is the intention of Two Blooms Photography, nor mine, to point a figure at or chastise anyone.  Rather, as professional photographers we have done a poor job of educating out clients. So, here you go – appreciate the value of photography.

– Joe Randeen | 3 Penguins Photography


I can’t tell you how many times…

I have gotten a phone call, email, or Facebook message from someone saying how much they love my work and want to book a session with me. I then proceed to give them all of the information and pricing, and there’s a moment of silence.


I have experienced a lot of sticker shock over the past year from many people and I completely understand why. At first glance, my pricing might seem a little alarming. I mean, you have a nice DSLR, right? Or know someone who has one that could do the same work for you for free? Yes, and a BIG. FAT. NO.


(can you tell the difference? Same kid….same photographer…both taken with a “nice camera”….2.5 years apart. There IS a difference between the relative with the camera and an experienced professional)

When you hire a professional photographer, you aren’t just getting pretty pictures.

You are receiving a customized session with professional (and dare I say EXPENSIVE) equipment and props. Professionals also have to invest in computers and editing software to make the photos look, well, professional. But my point today is NOT about how much the photographer has to invest in their business, but as the client who chooses to invest in custom photography.

Custom photography is not a necessity, it’s a LUXURY.

Just like that $5 latte you get before work every morning. Or that $900 flat screen TV you just got for Christmas. Or those $100 skinny jeans that you can’t imagine living without. I could go on all day about the luxuries we indulge ourselves in everyday.

But when it comes to a $350 photography session…GASP….you suddenly cannot breathe.

I don’t blame you; I honestly don’t. When everyone has an uncle Bob to take their picture for free (or right next to it) or a Walmart/Picture People/Portrait Innovations, then the $350 might seem a little steep.

But, if you truly admire good photography, then treat it as a luxury.

Luxuries are not an everyday occurrence. Luxuries may only come but once a year (or every 5 years, and that’s okay!). But if you treat it as a luxury, you will value it MORE.

If you are one that really values photography and wants so badly to have precious memories of your loved ones created, then I challenge you to make a fund.

Instead of that $5 latte, why not put that into a jar to invest towards your photography session? Maybe you can afford to skip that pedicure you had scheduled for this month and put that into the jar too. Just like saving and planning for any luxury, photography isn’t any different.

I know that custom photography isn’t for everyone and I respect that. But if you can see good photography for what it’s worth, then uncle Bob’s photos might not be enough for you.

I mean, the proof is in the pudding…
What can you sacrifice a little to put towards a photo session?

The love of a dog

For those of us who know the joy that comes from the love of a dog, I don’t need to say any more. For those of you who don’t know, you are missing out.

Allow me to introduce Peanut.  She is the proud owner of Dorothy and Darrell. Peanut was abandoned, found, nursed back to health and given to this wonderful couple to care for. In actuality, they are caring for one another.

Her  temperament is amazing.  She is kind and loving, despite being abandoned and neglected by her former owners.  We all enjoyed playing with her on this particular afternoon.

Peanut & Darrell

Peanut & Darrell

Peanut & Dorothy

Peanut & Dorothy

Photo Credit: Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

A different side

If you know me, even a little bit, you know that I love photographing at Disneyland.  I love Disneyland – period.  Been going there since I was seven.  Now my kids are hooked.

This last time out I decided to take a few shots from areas that I don’t normally shoot.

Everyone shots the front of the castle, as do I – it’s magnificent, but I wanted to try the backside. Finding Nemo is closing down for a while.  They have to empty the 5 million gallon tank before they can start. Since my kids are older, we don’t spend as much time in Fantasyland.  I was sitting there waiting for them to get of Casey Jr. when I looked up and thought, this is really cool.  Finally, I decided to photobomb from the another angle.

Backside of the Castle

Backside of the Castle


Finding Nemo & Monorail

Fantasyland with Matterhorn

Fantasyland with Matterhorn

Reverse Photobombs

Reverse Photobombs

Cooper Enjoying Ice Cream

Cooper Enjoying Ice Cream



Desert Falls – CA

As often as we can, our family heads out to the Coachella Valley, specifically Palm Desert, CA.  It is quiet and relaxing.  Here are a few shots from our latest trip.


18th Tee Desert Fall Country Club




Bunker – 17th Desert Falls Country club


Rainbow from the Sand – Desert Falls Country Club



Hazard – Desert Falls Country Club