A four-foot-wide, brilliant yellow snow shovel sat for several years in the corner of my studio. Without exception, men who saw it would get a kind of gleam in the eye and immediately start asking where I got it, how it was to use, and on and on, no matter the season. Oddly, in the three years I wielded it to great acclaim, not a single woman took the slightest interest, nor even deigned to notice the bright yellow wedge. I believe it was the color. The giant size gave it a cartoonish Claes Oldenburg feel, to be sure. But it was the screaming electric yellow color that somehow spoke to the male (and, apparently, only the male) psyche.
Self-identifying as male, as one does, I was immediately drawn to the deceptively light Interfit Honey Badger compact 320Ws strobe. It’s a bright yellow, half-a-bread-loaf-sized cube with digital controls on one end and a frosted glass flash tube and modeling light protruding from the other.
It would be easy to cart a reasonably totable case of several of them. They’re fast and strong, with a terrific interface that’s easy to get up and running right out of the box. The interface and settings on both the remote and head itself are clear and easy to intuit. That simplicity makes it just terrific to shoot with, without getting uptight about making the lighting do what you want.
Interfit makes a whole array of light modifiers, and if that’s not enough for you, the Honey Badger fits the entire Bowens line of lighting ware. Softboxes, umbrellas, parabolic reflectors—you can bend and shape the white-hot output of that soft glass dome to your heart’s content. Or, rock like I do and mix—a bare head into a white corner can provide beautiful soft illumination to the whole room while you put a smooth spotlight on your subject with a parabolic reflector.
I was surprised to find this unit fit perfectly well into a mostly daylight workflow. One thing I hate about strobes is that once you commit, you’re often in for a half-hour of fiddling and several attempts to get the lighting right while your beautiful daylight fades to twilight. I was able to grab the Honey Badger, slide it into position, pop on the remote, grab a couple of test exposures, adjust, and be shooting with just the right amount of strobe to complement my otherwise gorgeous daylight in literally moments. I’ve shot with strobes for 20 years, and feel about them like my dentist: I know they have my best interest at heart, but I still dread seeing them. The Honey Badger’s bright yellow color and whimsical name make me happy just to see it, and easily could become a basic building block of my daily kit, which is high praise, indeed, as I hate carrying stuff these days and love that I can shoot most jobs out of my photo purse containing a couple of bodies and lenses and precious little else.
In sum, the Honey Badger is a sturdy, portable, powerful strobe unit with advanced features and myriad light-shaping options. It makes beautiful light, over a seven-stop range. Shooting with more than one, the units talk to each other, and you adjust them each (or all) from the top of your camera. Oh, and did I mention it’s bright yellow?
The Honey Badger would make a great first lighting setup for a beginner, or can act as a supplement to a pro’s daylight kit. Even better, use the strobes for stills, then switch to the LED modeling lights for the video part of so many shoots these days, all from behind your camera. One unit runs $299.99, but the sweet spot is the light kit, which contains two packs, softboxes, stands and a case for $699.99 (and not a penny more).
Visit Interfit Photographic at interfitphotographic.com
Photographer and filmmaker Chris X Carroll has been fired upon by Norwegian whalers north of the Arctic Circle, swum naked with REM, taught Viscount Charles Spencer to sail, and turned to ask Elizabeth Taylor if the melon he was holding was ripe at a grocery store before realizing who she was and nearly passing out. Visit Chris at www.chriscarrollphoto.com, and follow him on Instagram @chrisxcarroll and on Facebook at chrisxcarroll