Using the Paul C. Buff Einstein with a Light Meter

Using the Paul C. Buff Einstein with a Light Meter

Self Portrait: Duck Hunter

In continuing to learn the ins and outs of my recently acquired Paul C. Buff “Einstein” (model E640) studio strobe, I’m teaching myself to meter flash. My Sekonic L-308S Flashmate exposure meter has 3 measuring modes:

  • Ambient
  • Auto Reset Cordless Flash
  • Cord Flash

For this lighting test, I used the Auto Reset mode, since the subject was too far from the strobe to connect a sync cable. To meter the light, I attached a Yongnuo receiver to the strobe’s trigger port via a short sync cable, then fired it with an inexpensive Yongnuo transmitter. I later installed the transmitter in the camera hot shoe to light the portrait.

To calculate the exposure, I:

  1. Set the meter to match the camera ISO & shutter speed (160 and 1180 second, respectively)
  2. Set the measuring mode to Auto Reset — for the next 90 seconds, the meter will measure only when flash is activated
  3. Ensured that the plastic “Lumidisc” was positioned over the meter’s lens
  4. Moved to where I would be standing for the self portrait
  5. Pointed the meter at the camera & depressed the “measure” button
  6. With my free hand, used the transmitter to trigger the strobe
  7. Adjusted the camera aperture to match the meter reading

Lighting Test 100% Crop

Lighting Test 100% Crop (Click to view full size)

Here’s the setup:

  • Subject distance from strobe ≈ 10′ 6″
  • Strobe is to subject front & right, ~7′ up, with a 43″ silver “bounce” umbrella angled at subject
  • Strobe temperature = 5600K
  • Light level = at ƒ/-4.0
  • Camera distance from subject ≈ 2.5 meters (8′ 2″)
  • Lens = Zeiss 50mm C Sonnar T* ƒ/1.5
  • ISO = 160
  • Shutter speed = 1180 second
  • Aperture = ƒ/4
  • Negligible cloudy late afternoon ambient light from window to subject left

The Portrait

The tableau was inspired by a friend’s remark, made when I shared the previous lighting post on social media. He thought I looked “neo-Joycean”, so I took the idea and ran with it. I dug up some antique eyeglasses similar to a pair I knew James Joyce once wore and added a pork pie hat (the same Dobbs model worn by this famous singer).

The jacket, which has a vintage brass compass pinned to it, suggested hunting, as did the silk-screened duck design in the hat lining, so I added the duck decoys, the antique bourbon bottle, my camera bag (which resembles a hunter’s bag), and also the shotgun. Let me save you the trouble of pointing out that a 12 gauge shotgun is not a bird gun; I know the difference.

The image is an 80% quality JPEG with basic tonal adjustments, then B+W conversion and split toning. Finally, I added some vignetting to complete the “old time” feel of the image.

About the Featured Photograph(s)


M-mount lenses do not provide aperture information to the camera body, either electronically or mechanically. Therefore, f-stop settings are approximate, and are probably wildly inaccurate. For what it’s worth, I usually shoot with my lenses wide open.

  • Self Portrait: Duck Hunter
  • M9 Digital Camera
  • ISO:160
  • 50mm
  • 1/180s
  • ƒ/4
  • 35° 12.3667′ 0″ N 97° 25.5333′ 0″ W


International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.