You know how there’s that stuff in your life you just can’t get around to fixing? It sits there staring at you, taking up physical space in your life and mental / emotional space in your brain; making you feel inadequate every time you look at it. I fixed one of those today.
I inherited a studio when I began working at Fred Hutch about a year ago. In that studio is a lot of old, broken photo equipment I’ve been trying to get back into some kind of working order. Chief among that broken, practically discarded, gear is a little softbox that is designed to attach to a portable strobe. I love photographing with softboxes. They provide a really nice quality of light. However, learning to set up a softbox on assignment just seemed too complicated, especially a broken one. So, I’ve used umbrellas for portable lighting for as long as I’ve been making pictures. They are simple and robust. However, they can be a little heavy, and there is a lot of light spillover. Their quality of light can be a little messy.
I had a slow day at work today, so I decided to take this little softbox to a local camera shop to see what could be done. The friendly salesperson at Glazer’s Camera in Seattle helped me for about 20 minutes. We found a $13 bracket that TOTALLY filled the gap between the softbox and my light stand. He then showed me how to quickly set up the softbox while on assignment. I want to kick myself. I allowed myself be intimidated by a problem, and that caused me to not use a valuable piece of equipment for a whole year.
So, the lesson is… Pick up one of those broken things in your life. Stop being scared of it, and begin the process of fixing it. The sense of accomplishment you’ll get is insanely satisfying.