Came across this today via a post on Fredmiranda.com – photographer Dave Black and his “Workshop at the Ranch” articles. Dave’s got some really cool toys and he’s using them to make some kick-ass photos. This is a photog who’s embraced Speedlights, actually leaving his studio strobes and home to light sports arenas with them. How cool is that?
The key to all these multi-Speedlight shots is a little unit by Lightware Direct called the FourSquare Block, which Dave appears to have been testing for a while. Essentially a square of machined aluminum, the FourSquare lets you mount a Speedlite to each side, quickly combining anywhere from one to four of them together on a single bracket for increased power.
Unfortunately, the price you pay for cool is pretty steep – Lighware Direct’s FourSquare is $100. Start adding accessories, like the swivel mounts that let you keep the E-TTL sensors facing the camera, and the price jumps by almost another $100. Throw in their softbox and handle grip, and you’re looking at a cool $400+. Ouch – that’s a brand new 580EX!
I see something like that and my brain instantly shifts into DIY mode. Since I just love being cheap reverse engineering things like this, I can’t justify spending a Speedlite’s worth of clams on the mount & modifier alone. I mean, come on, at it’s most simple, we’re talking about a 4-way mount with some coldshoes on it…how hard can it be to make one of those?
Off the top of my head, I’m thinking 2x right angle brackets hooked together into a square. Or perhaps a 4-way threaded connector, with lengths of threaded steel rods onto which the coldshoes can directly screw. I don’t care if mine looks as pretty as the FourSquare, it just needs to hold 4x Speedlites securely and mount to a lightstand/monopod.
What all this means is a trip to the hardware store this evening, another hour or two spent wandering aimlessly to see what I can find and convert from its intended use into a flash accessory. In all honesty, I see this project as being simpler than the last one, my DIY Right-angle Flash Mount.
I’ve got a model shoot tomorrow evening and I’d love to have this built in time to try it out. Not sure if that’s possible, but either way, be sure to share what I come up with.