Sponsored by Phottix
Though Cliff Mautner only occasionally used artificial lighting for the first 15 years of his career as a photojournalist, it has been paramount to his repertoire for the last 15-plus years as a wedding photographer.
Mautner is known for his mastery of balancing light, having photographed close to 1,000 weddings in various settings around the world. As a Nikon Ambassador, his go-to lighting tool is a Nikon Speedlight, but when he’s in need of more power output than a speed light can give him, he pairs the Phottix Indra500 TTL Studio Light with the Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger Transmitter.
The 500-watt Phottix Indra500 is a portable studio strobe featuring high-speed sync and the capability to run on battery power. Mautner uses it when a speed light or two simply won’t provide the power that he needs, as was the case during a recent shoot on Long Island, New York. “It was midday in June, and we were shooting on Westhampton Beach,” he recalls. “I was forced into a situation in which I needed to overpower the hot and bright sun at the equivalent of ISO 50 at f/8. I needed all 500 watts of power,” he says.
“The beach was incredibly crowded, which is typical on a June Saturday in The Hamptons,” Mautner says. Compositional scenarios were limited, so he used the Indra500 to capture the bridal party and portraits of the couple on a jetty. With a battery-recharge time of two seconds and 360 full-power flashes when fully charged, the Indra500 is handy in situations like this that involve moving scenes and large groups with bright backgrounds. “The battery and recycle time provide me with the speed and power required to get through large groups quickly,” Mautner says. “And the light doesn’t misfire.” But aside from the accuracy of a studio light, it’s the portability of the product that Mautner has come to rely upon. “How many 500-watt light sources can you simply put at the end of a monopod because it’s so lightweight?” he asks. “Most other studio strobes I’ve used—and I’ve used many—are much heavier and much less mobile than the Indra500. You can’t drag them onto a beach.”
In addition to the power, versatility and agility available to the photographer with the Indra500, Mautner says the light’s built-in Odin TTL flash receiver works extremely well when coupled with the Odin II transmitter. With the transmitter, he’s able to control the power output in 1/3-stop increments with the turn of a dial. Plus, he’s able to fine-tune his settings in manual mode.
“When I need more power output than my Nikon Speedlights can provide at the time, I pair the Indra500 and Odin II, which give me the quality and quantity of light that I’m looking for,” Mautner says, making the couple a mainstay in his bag when he needs studio power and portability.
The Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Transmitter is compatible Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras with a link.