Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's in the Bag? Umbrella Swivel Mounts

Continuing with the “What's in the Bag” series, we now move on from umbrellas to mounting hardware, specifically, the umbrella swivel mount.

Lashing it all Together
A swivel mount is what mates the umbrella and flash together atop the light stand. It holds the umbrella at an angle so the flash will aim somewhat near the center of the umbrella. It also allows the flash and umbrella to swivel up and down for positioning.

Seeing Both Sides
These are Impact brand swivel mounts. On one side is the umbrella shaft lock screw. Just around the corner from that are the mounting clamp screws, the bottom one for the stand and the top for the flash mounting hardware. Around the next corner is the swivel lock.

They are inexpensive and made from some kind of high grade plastic that is sturdy enough that I don't worry about them breaking. In fact, they have seen lots of heavy duty use far beyond their intended use. I have this swivel to mount softbox and flash via a custom speed ring adapter. They performed admirably, even with a sizable 36”x24” softbox. That of course was in the days before having studio lights. It seems I got a bit carried away with making little flashes do the job of larger studio flashes. At one time I had six.

Here they are again with my custom mounting plate for the flash (more on that below).

Now, about that custom mounting plate. The Vivitar 285HV has a plastic foot. It is the weak point of this flash and is prone to break. Because the full weight of the flash relies on that small plastic foot, little disasters can break the foot, for example, when a stand falls over because it wasn't wearing a sand bag. My flashes get moved around a lot, get used around children, and are sometimes hand carried following a subject around, I created these mounts so the flash can lie flat with no stress on the foot. The flash gets to lie on its back while being held snug with a couple of Velcro strips. The wireless trigger sits on the foot out of the way. The power control is face up and easily accessed with this configuration. I might make a future blog posting on how to make this plate, but for now, just know that it is a piece of aluminum, a hunk of rubber pad, and some Velcro.

Coming Next
That's a wrap for today. Still more to come for this series, so stick around and we'll finish show and tell for “What's in the Bag.”

Until then...


Click Here for the next posting in this series
"RF-602 Wireless Trigger"

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