Bowens RX 400 Review, Portability & Power

Two words to describe the Bowens RX400 kit, portability and power, for the photographer on the move they are an ideal solution. I had the chance to test out the RX kit on a recent photoshoot with Red Dwarf and Coronation Street actor Craig Charles.

 

gemini-400rx_2The Rx 400 Kit is smaller than the standard Bowens Gemini kits, with the test button now integrated with the power LED. On the back, there are three switches: one to change the modelling light mode, one to change the modelling light control and one for setting whether the device beeps when its ready to be triggered again. The 400Rx also has the standard Bowens battery port, so is able to be used with the Travel Battery-pak .

 

Built into the 400Rx is a radio receiver compatible with Bowens Pulsar radio triggering system the system allows for 24 channels, accessed by using the two buttons on the transmitter. The Pulsar Radio trigger is lightweight, compact and solid . With the receiver being built in, you don’t have to have things attached or dangling from the monolight, but there still is a sync port in case you don’t have the option to use the Radio trigger.

 

The kit is a great choice for those just starting out, and seeking their first set of strobes, or those looking for kit that gives them portability, without having to carry bulky heavy lighting systems. With the kit you can create easy two light setups without any fuss. On the photoshoot with Craig (Image Below) taken with a Canon 5DMk III you can see the quality and power of the two strobes.

Craig Joseph Charles (born 11 July 1964) is an English actor, comedian, author, poet, television presenter and radio and club DJ. He is best known for playing Dave Lister in the British science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf and Lloyd Mullaney in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street. Charles first appeared on television as a performance poet, which led on to minor presenting roles. After finding fame in Red Dwarf, he regularly featured on national television, with celebrity appearances on many popular shows, while he continued to host a wide variety of programmes. Charles notably presented the gladiator-style game show Robot Wars and narrated the comedy endurance show Takeshi's Castle. His acting credits include playing inmate Eugene Buffy in the ITV drama The Governor, and leading roles in the British films Fated and Clubbing to Death. He has toured the UK extensively as a stand-up comedian. As well as starring in Coronation Street and Red Dwarf, Charles hosts The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC radio, and performs DJ sets at numerous clubs and festivals, nationally and internationally. (Rory Lewis Photographer)The Bowens Gemini 400Rx kit retails at £599.00, including strobes, stands, umbrellas, a Pulsar Tx trigger and a case.

2014 Year in Review

The difference a year makes: Generals, Actors, Sports Personalities and Politicians. Photographing the essence of character.

 

Erica Kemp Lord Mayor Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer LondonPortraiture is now the name of my game: 2014 has certainly been an incredible journey of discovery and growth as well as artistic truth and relevance. I feel refreshed in my work and have enjoyed the wonderful success of the last 12 months, I’m looking forward to the ‘onwards and upwards’ both professionally and personally – these are exciting times for Rory Lewis Photography. Thank you to my wife, family and colleagues for their support as I’ve made these developments. The beauty of an artist is the ability to experiment and ‘play’. I have been more determined than ever to realise this – that through experimentation I can learn, and most importantly deliver at a higher level. In the continual bid to hone my own Unique Style I am continually refining my ideas, my inspiration and my direction. Beginning the year with a ‘make or break’ attitude having spent too long spreading myself too thinly professionally and knowing something had to change. 2014 has been that year, seeing a more balanced but more worthwhile focus, by concentrating on where my passion lies – Portraiture.

 

NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory LewisI was ecstatic when my Portrait of Actor David Warner was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London. I built on this public recognition of my work by having a wide range of Celebrity Portrait Sessions throughout the year. Expansion was essential, no longer am I just to be found in the North West UK, but in both London and New York. Back in 2004, when I began my career in Fashion Photography, it was the way forward, the path to photography and career success. I enjoyed the recognition of publication, in magazines, newspapers and catalogues, often being called upon by various Fashion Labels to photography their collection. But with maturity and artistic credibility, I gradually fell out of love with the ‘easy’ road. It no longer sits easily on my personal character, and the discomfort grew as I was struggling to be myself in what I felt was an elitist superficial world of photography. I was failing to be true to myself, my personality, and importantly, my artistic style. Artistically I wanted my work to be a reflection of reality, a mirror of truth.

 

This led me to real people leading real lives and portraying them in a real way. I can become absorbed in the story of someone and relish the challenge of reflecting their emotions and character through Portraiture. So farewell Fashion Photographing, and welcome to Portraiture, of Generals, Actors, Artists, Sports Personalities, and Politicians.

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

I began to conceive the idea of my Northern Portrait Exhibition very early in the year and was thrilled with its ultimate success. Northerners started out as a small local project yet soon became a National Exhibition featuring actors, sports personalities, artists and politicians from the North. A blend of story, history and personality, drawn together by Northern Roots, now transcending the globe, offered an opportunity to travel to bring this unique collection together. Big names, big characters, big achievements such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Craig Charles, Emma Rigby, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, and many other prominent figures.

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

This was a truly fascinating project. Sponsored by Calumet Photographic and held in aid of the worthwhile cause UNICEF, the exhibition moved from Liverpool in July, to Manchester in October, and finally to London in November. The project was not only a developmental and artistic learning curve for me, but led to me feeling more comfortable in my own Unique Style, and this is now reflected in my work. I was thrilled when the BBC, various other television companies and the National Press all featured the Project giving the project not just local, but national recognition.

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

For clients such as Pepsi, I have enjoyed a wide range of Commercial Photography assignments, which have included Portraiture such as a commission to photograph successful and advertorial big-name footballer, Luis Suarez. Knowing that Rory Lewis images are being used in such high profile promotional campaigns, including posters as well as drinks bottles and cans, has been a fun and enjoyable part of my year. With the brief to create fierce portraits blended with Rock Star Style stills, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was an opportunity to direct and create a shoot in tune with my artistic desires

Travel has been an inevitable, but enjoyable, by-product of the shift in my photographic direction. My passport has been ranking up the miles with trips to Spain, Morocco, Italy, New York, Ireland and the USA. Good Old Blighty is home, but these trips have been enriching and given my work influence both cultural and socially. Take a quick peek at some of my travel snaps here.

New York Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer

On a personal level I haven’t just seen a seismic shift in the nature of my work and my creative style, but 2014 has been a year of highs as it was also the year I married my incredible wife, Alexandra, who has supported and nurtured my professional change. Still based in Liverpool despite spreading my wings, this year also brought the opportunity to extend my home-grown roots by opening my new Photographic Studio in the heart of Liverpool.

 

2014 saw a continuation of my desire to offer Photography Workshops. A key joy for any creative person is to share and nurture a passion in others. I am grateful to be able to do this, whilst partnered with Calumet Academy, as well as extending the locations of my Courses to additionally include not only Liverpool, but London, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast. Wherever you are in the UK, Rory Lewis Photography Courses can be there! I enjoy imparting what I have learned and discovered to others: from lighting techniques to directional skills, it really is a joy to work with aspiring photographers, and the feedback has been nice to hear too! It’s been good for my ego, knowing I can use my skill and self-development to help develop others. I’ll be forever grateful for reviews such as the following from Amateur Photographer Denis Dame who attended one of my Portraiture Workshops:

 

“Rory’s Portraiture Masterclass was a brilliant course”

“Rory is a fantastic and patient instructor and answered all our questions no matter how basic or advanced. I took nearly 400 images throughout the day and was mentally drained and excited because we covered so much. A fantastic value for the amount of hands-on course work and topics we covered. Rory was able to get us all taking great images.

Rory Lewis Photography Courses Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, LondonI have been an amateur photographer for years, but this was my first time using studio lighting for portraits with models. I had expected only one model, but Rory had hired three fantastic models. All had their own great characteristics, which allowed us to experiment with lighting to see the effects given different facial features. Rory demonstrated the use of several one and two light set-ups, and allowed us to take several images from each. Additionally, we used different back drops, and reflectors. We had hands-on opportunities to use a light meter and set up the studio lights to the proper power and distance. We learned about how to diffuse the lighting and control it with a honeycomb.

He also demonstrated how he captured many famous actors that are a part of his Northerners Portrait Project to support UNICEF. A noble effort. We were able to create similar images during the course.

We learned how to work with models and direct them to help create amazing images and moods. By the end of the course we all had gained confidence in working with good models.

I would highly recommend the course to people that have never worked with models, or studio lights. If you have worked with models and were not quite sure how to direct the scene, then this is also a great course.

Well done and I hope to take another class in the near future.”

 

So here’s to 2015 and my onwards and upwards! I am looking forward to extending my programme of courses to make them more extensive whilst focusing on my true love of Portraiture, from Beginners, to Intermediate, as well as a course in advanced Location Portraiture Lighting. You’ll still find me offering Art Nude Photography Courses, with a special Hasselblad Art Nude Session, allowing delegates to try out the superb Hasselblad H5D Camera System, an opportunity not to be missed.

London Liverpool Manchester Liverpool  Model Portfolios

Whilst also arranging photoshoots with models, dancers and actors throughout 2014, I’ve loved the new creative and practical expansion and vision of Rory Lewis Photography. From helping new models and actors find their first footings in their chosen fields.  I’m glad to still be the photographer of choice for many of the UK’s top agencies. I’ve come to learn that I can still be true to myself in all shoots by offering a comprehensive service based on high quality pictures achieved through my no-time-limit ethos. My clients are not rushed, nor do they receive a hard sell, just good honest portraiture at its best. From sessions with Game of Thrones actors, screen legends Julian Glover and Iain Glen, to the industry newbies, my heart now truly resides in Portraiture.

Julian-Glover-Iain-Glenn-Actor Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer Liverpool

See you in 2015, but before I go, take a sneak peek at my new Exhibition Expressive that will take place at the end of the year. Whether Stateside or on home turf, I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Craig Charles Portrait Sitting

Craig Charles Rory Lewis Celebrity Portrait PhotographerLister! “Sorry ‘i’m a Red Dwarf Fan”……. Craig Charles star of Coronation Street, Red Dwarf  and Robot Wars, recently sat for a portrait session in Manchester. Craig was in need of new promotional material for his DJ and Radio Work. I am no stranger to working with Musicians, DJ”s and Talent. After a chat about the style of imagery Craig was looking to achieve. I set to work with a Low Key Portraiture Lighting SetupIt was a pleasure to work with Craig on the project, and from a short 45 minute sitting I was able to capture some amazing frames. Craig is about the enter the Jungle, In ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!‘ and I wish him the best of luck. If you are a Musician, DJ or a Talent in need of a good Photographer please keep me in mind. I run sessions across the UK from Liverpool, to Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and London.

Craig Joseph Charles (born 11 July 1964) is an English actor, comedian, author, poet, television presenter and radio and club DJ. He is best known for playing Dave Lister in the British science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf and Lloyd Mullaney in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street. Charles first appeared on television as a performance poet, which led on to minor presenting roles. After finding fame in Red Dwarf, he regularly featured on national television, with celebrity appearances on many popular shows, while he continued to host a wide variety of programmes. Charles notably presented the gladiator-style game show Robot Wars and narrated the comedy endurance show Takeshi's Castle. His acting credits include playing inmate Eugene Buffy in the ITV drama The Governor, and leading roles in the British films Fated and Clubbing to Death. He has toured the UK extensively as a stand-up comedian. As well as starring in Coronation Street and Red Dwarf, Charles hosts The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC radio, and performs DJ sets at numerous clubs and festivals, nationally and internationally. (Rory Lewis Photographer)

 

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