It’s been about 6 weeks or so since I’ve had my Golf Cart Light Stand, and I wanted to share my experiences so far.
During an engagement shoot last month, I thought I’d use a 42″ umbrella instead of my usual 28″ octobox, just to get a little softer lighting. There was a wedding shoot at the same location, so I wanted to make sure my couple and I didn’t get in their way, so I had the couple move over to a location on a slightly bumpy area of grass. I needed to park the light stand on a slight incline and put on the brake. It was getting a little gusty but I thought the brake would keep the cart from rolling back. Well, the brake did hold, but the wind caught the umbrella and pushed the cart back enough to tip it backwards. The handle hit the grass, and the force of the fall bent the top part of the stand that was close to where the light was mounted.
Nothing broke and I was still able to continue using the light stand. However, I was unable to contract the stand because of the bend, and I had to wheel the cart with the stand in the most extended state. This of course swayed the light as I was moving the cart around.
Back at home, I was able to take apart the retractable light stand (actually a reflector holder) quite easily by taking out a couple screws, and was able to straighten the bent top post. But this experience led me to think of how I could make this cart a little more stable. I had noticed that just a few lenses and a flash in my bag was not heavy enough to keep the cart stable in a strong wind environment.
Also, I typically carry my tripod with me — a medium-weight Manfrotto which tends to put more weight towards the handle as I velcro-strap it to the shaft, making it a little heavier for the camera bag to counter on the opposite end.
So what I did was re-introduce the sandbag that I’ve been trying to avoid back into the solution. Instead of using the camera bag to act as a ballast, I now hang a 15 lb. sandbag there instead. And my camera bag has been replaced with a Think Tank Lens Changer 3, and I just hang it off where you would strap the top of a golf bag. There’s several advantages to doing this — (1) the heavier sandbag keeps the cart more stable, (2) the lens bag puts downward pressure towards middle of the cart, again keeping the cart more stable, and (3) the lens bag which is now placed higher is easier to access. The addition of a sandbag does add one more step in the setup of the stand, but you still don’t have to lug it around since it’s always on the cart.
Here’s how it looks…
I’ve also added a 2nd Super Clamp to the post where I can mount a video light. This comes in handy in darker environment where focusing may be a problem, or to use in a situation where a flash may be too strong.