By Scott Diussa
A lot of my time professionally and personally has been spent with a camera in my hand. From the Olympics to hard rock concerts, to airplanes to travel and more, it seems like I’ve captured photographs almost everywhere. That includes the happiest place on earth where I spent time early in my career when I taught photography at Walt Disney World.
Despite all that experience, it seems like every shoot presents a new challenge and learning opportunity to further sharpen my skills. Having reliable gear that offers both portability and versatility is important when it comes to what’s in my camera bag. Once I learned Imaging Brands was getting ready to relaunch the Frio brand in the market, I was intrigued. The aforementioned concert, aviation and travel photography I capture on a regular basis often puts me in small, seemingly impossible places to light. Greenrooms and cockpits are high on the scale of cool places to hang out, but tight on space and poor on lighting. Light stands aren’t an option, but getting the shot requires I bring in light that lets me get the shot I’ve been asked to create.
The mounting gear in the Frio line promised to address my need to light tight spaces. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to put it to the test. I was looking for a hard to light space and I found one in the travel trailer RV I recently purchased for my travels. If you have ever been in an RV, you know that there’s not a whole lot of room for gear and lighting it a certain way is a challenge. To meet the challenge in this test, I used three different Frio setups. Specifically I used the Frio Grasp Mini, Frio Grasp Bigi and Frio Cling.
The Frio lineup promotes versatility for handling different types of lights including anything with a shoe or 1/4”-20. I wanted to test this and decided to lighten up the RV interior a couple different ways. First, I grabbed some shots using the Westcott FJ 80 and Westcott FJ 200. For this setup, I attached the smaller light to the edge where the couch slides out using the Grasp Mini. The larger, FJ 200 was attached to a cabinet edge using the Grasp Bigi. Using this two-light setup, I was able to get a nice even light throughout the entire RV trailer.
I found both Frio products to be very easy to use. I was able to secure the lights quickly. The grip was strong but without feeling like I was going to break or damage the surface as I’ve experienced with other clamps in the past. Also, while the Westcott lights aren’t heavy, they definitely outsize the Frio gear. Both Frio clamps held-up and the ballhead on the Grasp Mini and Grasp Bigi didn’t budge from the position I set so the lights didn’t drift at all.
I also wanted to test out a continuous lighting setup where I used a video light panel I have in my home studio, along with a compact LED panel. The LED lights also helped add the light I needed to improve my RV interior shots. In this setup, I decided to swap in the Frio Cling which I suction mounted to a glass cabinet door. Just a few pumps created a fast and strong seal for a secure mount that added light while keeping space open for me to move around and take shots from different positions and angles in this small space.
Being part of the team at Frio, I get the opportunity to talk about the merits of these products to a lot of photographers and videographers each day. As a working photographer myself, I’m excited to use these new off camera lighting mounts in my work. And, if I ever decide to sell my RV, I’ve got some great shots for the listing!