Archive for February, 2014

How to build collapsible scrims or reflectors on location. Cheap and easy.


Estrella Navarro on my shoot for Outside Magazine. Lit with home made scrims.

A couple of years back I was hired to do a shoot for Outside Magazine of Mexican free diving champion Estrella Navarro in La Paz (Baja California). I was wintering in my house in Todos Santos (also Baja California).  I had flown to Todos Santos and decided to leave my handy Scrim Jims in Montana since I already had too much to carry on my plane.  I figured I could rent or have my assistant bring the scrims on shoots.  In this case there was no budget to fly my assistant and there was no place to rent.  I use Scrims on 80% of my portraits shots, to either bounce or scrim light (both natural and strobes), I needed some scrims!  Living in a place like Mexico you learn to become resourceful and what I came up with is something that I now use all the time.  Especially when I don’t want to travel too loaded with gear or on personal projects where I might not have an assistant.  To build a scrim frame is easy, all you need is some 1 inch PVC pipe (2).  Four L shape PVC connectors for 1 inch PVC (3).  2  1 inch to 1 inch straight PVC connectors (1), 1 inch velcro (4), a hack saw (5), PVC glue (6) and about two hours of time.  Building the silks and reflectors (7-8) is a little more tricky.  You will need a good fabric store to find the fabric, velcro (10) or rubber band material (9) and a good seamstress to put it together.  Or you can purchase the fabric from Westcott and just build the frames.  Flying with a lot of stuff is a hassle these days and what I like about building PVC frames on location is that I can pack all the fabrics and then build the frames once I get there.  It only takes a couple of hours and you can find PVC almost anywhere in the world.

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How to build the frame

These are the tools you will need.  Can buy at any hardware store.  PVC Glue (6) and Hacksaw (5)

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A) Cut 4 pieces of PVC to desired size (Width and Length).  If you want the disassemble final frame to be smaller cut the long pieces in half.

B) Glue all the L shape pieces (3) for the corners.  Make sure to only glue one side so you can disassemble.

C) Glue the 1 inch to 1 inch connector (1).  Make sure to only glue one side so you can disassemble.

D) Put the frame together and glue velcro (4) on one side.  If you use the rubber band system (9) on the corners you don’t need the velcro.


1 Year ANNIVERSARY OF MY BLOG! Why has it been so great…

Today is the one year anniversary of my blog (and my facebook page).  When I wrote my first post a year ago I wondered what in the hell I was going to tell you all.  I refused to be involved with social media for many years until I realized there was no way around it.  If you have a business these day you have to be present.  If it’s photography or selling hams.  What came to a surprise to me is that I actually enjoyed doing it.  Is great to share what I do, but mostly I enjoy the feedback I get from you all.  This is really unvaluable.  It tells me what works and what doesn’t, what images are catching the attention and what images aren’t.  It helps me make decisions on  what I will showcase and what I should leave out.  And this advice I get from you all is free!    It has been a fun year.  Thank you.


_N0G7080u all!