Just realized I missed a shot.

Here’s how the Colorsplash Flash Chakras Edition looks paired with an Olympus 35UC and a Rollei 35S.

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After seven years of faithful service, I am retiring my original LSI Colorsplash Flash.  Sure, it still fires, but the capacitor is wonky, the battery lid doesn’t attach properly, and the power switch is temperamental.  It never works when I need it to, but fires when it feels like it. Time for a replacement. (more…)

 

LSIs Colorsplash Flash

LSI's Colorsplash Flash

 

Something I never leave home without, whether I’m shooting film or digital, is my Colorsplash Flash from LSI. I’ve had this flash since my pre-DSLR days, even before I rediscovered film. It’s taken its fair share of bumps and bruises – I’ve dropped this so many times, cracking it open often enough – yet it still prevails.

While the Colorsplash is, hands down, my favorite accessory, I’ve never gotten it to work with my digital cameras (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F717 and Canon 350D). Mount it on the hotshoe and snap away, but the flash refuses to trigger, most likely due to a voltage incompatibility. Why do I insist on keeping it if it doesn’t work?

Two things: color and volume.

The main appeal of the Colorsplash Flash is its color gel dial. Surrounding the bulb is a small plastic barrel that has four slots for color gels. Twisting the barrel 90-degrees changes the color of the gel, say, from amber to blue or magenta to minty green. When you buy the flash, a small packet of assorted gels is included, (I’ve since lost mine. Anyone have a spare?) and you can switch them around depending on your taste. The ability to instantly switch the color of light you want to throw on a subject is, in a word, awesome, and allows you to create your own lighting mood.

The second appeal, brought on by the flash’s inability to work with my digital cameras, is volume. Triggering it by hand, I can position the flash just about anywhere my arm can reach – to the side of someone’s face, under a chin, or pointing straight at the camera. This lets me cast strange shadows across my composition, giving volume to a scene.

Triggering a flash by hand is tricky at best. I often set aperture to something small, say f/8 to f/11, and shutter speed to Bulb. I pre-focus or guesstimate range. Shutter Open – Pop Flash – Shutter Close. Timing is essential.  

The Bitter Pill @Canon 350D and Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

The Bitter Pill @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash + handheld Fisheye filter ©Karlo Samson

Years Before He Climbed Everest ©Karlo Samson

Years Before He Climbed Everest @Sony F717 + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

Gig Tune @Canon 350D ©Karlo Samson

Gig Tune @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

 

Junior Timelord @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson

Junior Timelord @Canon 350D + Colorsplash Flash ©Karlo Samson