Let’s Go Camping

December 9, 2008 tips & tricks

From: David Dahlquist, Freelance News Photographer San Juan Capistrano, CA

I was covering a three day breast cancer walk last month and we were on location 24/7 for all three days. While shooting interviews with some of the volunteers at night in small dome tents. I needed to light the interviews but did not want that camera light look.

I had packed a fluorescent camp light with my gear.

My camera light is a 5600K LED With a dimmer. So I grabbed the camp light and set it just out of the shot. I used it as my key and used my led light dimmed way down as a fill the combo provided a flattering soft light.
When I pulled wide for a two shot the camp light was in the shot but it did not look out of place.

The camp light worked great and provided a fast set up as it ran on its own battery.


  1. I’v added a few mods to my “camp light tip”

    1. I have found that most of the fluorescent camp lights
    have a green spike in them so I cut a minus green gel (1/2 or 1/4) to fit inside the lamp.
    Double stick tape helps keep it in place.
    2. I cut a ND gel to fit 1/2 way around the lamp and tape it to the outside with clear tape.
    I point the ND side toward camera.
    3. if I’m not going to show the light on camera then I cut a pice of thick silver mylar that will go 1/3 the way around the lens and tape it to the inside or out side of the lens. This depends if I want to remove it but inside works best. You will be surprised on how much light comes out if the fluorescent camp light when you do this one.
    FYI: number 3 is handy when you are in your own vehicle changing a flat tire on some dark country road.

    Dave Dahlquist
    Freelance Photographer KABC

  2. Big Photog says:

    UPDATE: I’ve moved on to LEDs but the same idea.
    Most LEDs are closer to 56K but not exact and will have a green spike so a minus green gel is needed.
    It’s hit and miss and the most expensive LED won’t always be closer to 56K. I have one that I bought at BigLots and its 55k and cost 6.99 and only needs a 1/4 minus green the other was a gift from my sister in law and is 54k and has a. mode that turns off half the LEDs so only the ones facing away from you at on and you can charge your phone with the USB port. It’s a Gole Zero worth a look.

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