Suspect Photography

words and images from david george brommer

Tag: iphone

The Ultimate Light for the iPhone- Profoto C1+

PROFOTO C1+ Review

September 18th Profoto released the next big thing, a flash & continuous light designed for iPhone. I was lucky to be invited along with a hand full of NYC photographers by Clifford Pickett for a hands on demonstration and photowalk around the SoHo neighborhood of NYC testing the C1+.


It’s a very interesting development for mobile photography and has some unique features that I really enjoyed and thought were well thought out. Like any Profoto product, it is very well made and has a great feel in the hands. Profoto is arguably the best lighting system in the world, and I truly believe that. Aside from all the gear always made in black there is a plethora of facts to support my statement. Profoto light modifiers are hands down the best light modifiers and the C1+ accepts all the mods made for the A series. They attach smartly with magnets and as expected, perform very well. The C1+ ships with a light dome to mimic solar light. You can remove the dome and the light becomes slightly more defined. There is a sturdy 1/4 socket for the light to be attached to a light stand (you’d want a swivel umbrella adaptor to make best use). Clifford tested it with an umbrella and the light was quite nice.

You can’t use the native camera app, you have to download the Profoto app to synch the light for flash photography. (edit: compatible with the huawei native camera app for the P30 series)The app is only available for IOS (iPhone 7 and up), no Android support yet (more proof the apple iPhone is better than android). You could use it in continuous mode with the native app, just not for flash. As expected, the Profoto app is very professional and lets you control exposure, white balance (color temp), zoom and adds a timer. Currently, portrait mode is not supported but the engineers are on it (I simply love portrait mode and can’t wait for that to be supported).


So as photographers we want control, and below is a series of portraits made of the fellow photographer Claudia Paul on the photowalk. I took a series of photos at different exposures using the “exposure slider” on the app. I posted images from screen shots of the app so you can see the exposure variance.


This was my favorite, and it has been slightly edited in Snap Seed.


What I really liked was the camera release – shutter release – trigger  on the flash itself, so you can hold your camera in one hand, the flash in the other and shoot very naturally. How many of us have held the camera out, triggered it only to have the camera turn off! Or worse yet, just fumble. I really can’t express how natural it is to use the flash this way, it’s a true evolution of iPhoneography!

The unit comes two ways, the C1 and C1+. C1 is $300 and does not support TTL in the Profoto system. The C1+ is $500, has better battery life and supports the Profoto air remote and can be integrated into the Profoto TTL family of flashes. This is key, any one who has a Profoto system will enjoy being able to put this light where other lights can’t go. Think behind a shelf, a couch, a small corner… the applications are endless. When I was a young photographer I recall an older photographer training me on a wedding and he produced a cheap small flash with a synch on it, and called it a “peep” flash, it was used where we couldn’t fit the big flashes and it provided just a little bit of fill flash where needed in tight areas.


Characters on the streets of NYC! Notice the catch light in his eyes and emphasis on the gold teeth. With out a light this would be a much duller photograph.

Now it’s not really a flash as we know it, there is no manual and no high synch flash. It has limitations because it’s a manual simulation to bias to the automatic limitation of mobile photography. You can’t lock in an exposure. I did find exposure to be slightly erratic. I’m trained in zone system and chrome shooting, so I found that disconcerting, but it’s really ok, because it’s still iPhone and the spirit is wonky to start with. You can’t freeze fast moving subjects like with a traditional flash. Recycle time is about 1 second or so.


Steve Simon’s son came along, after this shot, I warned him to keep his tongue in his mouth when in NYC. #germs #cutekids #scaryphoto

Here are three images to illustrate how it helps with back lit subjects.  The image on the left is adjusted with the slider in the native iPhone app, the middle with no adjustment , and the right image with the C1+ providing fill light.


Overall I think this light is a game changer, and as the app continues development it will be clutch as a tool for the iPhone photographer to keep in their pocket. It takes some getting used to, but once you master the usage and interface, it’s a wonderful tool to enhance your iPhone work.

The truly best part of the photowalk? We got to keep the flashes! Thanks Profoto, I look forward to using this with my iPhone work in the future.



NYC for Beto Phone Bank 3 Days Before the Mid-Terms


I’m lucky to engage in many interests and am part of a community to each one. They are varied, and one of them, paintball, tends to sway to the political right side, the other, table top war-gaming, swings left. I wont get into the nuances of each, suffice to say I am passionate about each activity, and my social media reflects it. I hear from the right views and I hear from the left. Like most of us, I tend to shout on social media because of the polarizing politics of post 911 America. Those who either regurgitate (re-post memes), spew, pulpit (virtue signalling), express, state, and declare tend to do it in an echo chamber of like minded people.  I’m guilty of that, and I’m proud to state that due to interests listed above, I have followers from both sides, so occasionally a good dialog occurs.

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That being said, I am keenly aware that stating your political views on social media may be cathartic, but it really isn’t changing anything. After two years of Trump America, I decided I’d be more involved. Summer of 2018 I discovered a Gen X Texas Congressman who was running for Ted Cruz’s Senate seat, Beto O’Rourke. Ironically I got turned onto Beto by following an article about how Cruz’s campaign sought to demean Beto by posting shots of him when he was playing in a post punk Grunge band and the pics went viral because apparently Beto was hot. I fell down an internet rabbit hole of Beto and learned quite a bit about him. He’s a Texan, I agreed with his platform and the way he expressed himself. I felt a kindred spirit in Beto and shared as much on Social Media. I spread the word, but wanted to do more. My “politik” friend, Justin Heyman and I had long talks. He is a more experienced activist than I, and outlined what could be done; mailing post cards to swing voters in Texas, donating to campaigns, and phone banking.


I committed to all three and am a Beto backer in earnest. I joined a phone bank taking place in a Chelsea design studio, Stonestreet Studios. When I confirmed for the phone bank the option to post on Face Book was offered, my feed motivated two others to attend.

Justin exclaimed, “Democracy is contagious”.



The phone bank experience was euphoric, instead of screaming into a contained cyber space, you are directly connecting with real people whose votes matter to advance an individual you believe in. This particular phone bank was located 5 blocks from my home, and took place from 5 pm to 8 pm. Three hours given to democracy is a meager sacrifice in any estimation, but sometimes actions can snowball into something far larger. On this gambit I set off as instructed, a MacBook air and iPhone in hand. I emerged out of an elevator into a working studio filled with young women, young gay men, and the heady air of hope. We introduced ourselves by stating our names and why we were here. The women where concerned about the right for them to receive healthcare and governance over their bodies. The gay men worried over the homophobic tone of national conversation.  I smelled a little fear on a few, but overall the tone was of warriors out for blood and ready to battle. Ted Cruz was detested unanimously and everyone knew what was at stake,

Beto had narrowed the gap and Texas may very well turn blue.

Victory was in sight, but not in hand. The hosts who lead the phone bank explained as much, backed up by being in Texas the week before canvassing. There was an excitement in the air as the process was laid out for us.


This night would prove to be “throw your jacket down on the ground democracy”. We packed couches, crevices, desks and studio floors to make calls.


A script we were told to follow (it was known that you could deviate wording as your confidence in the message grew) that essentially started off as informing the Texan recipient that there is an election on Nov 6th and could Beto count on them to vote for him. Upon a confirmation you would then go into determining from them a plan to vote. How would you get to the polls? Before work, or after work? you know, “the polls are only open from 7am to 7 pm”. One of my 50 calls that night I connected with a woman who didn’t know her polling location. I took her address, located her polling location on line then asked her to get a pen and paper and write it down. Right down to which door to enter. Then you end with asking for a promise to vote. The word of a Texan is no small thing, it is important that Beto supporters actually do vote and posing this question has a positive impact on participation. Rosie the event organizing explained that.


The calling element was quite interesting from a technology standpoint. Integrating your mobile phone and an online interface you followed a flow chart of canvassing and recording outcomes. One dial in with an id and you stay connected as you follow a registered voter sample. In two hours I “called” about 50 numbers and spoke to about 15 who had pre-voted Beto, 15 answering machines (you just hung up and logged as a call back), 5 times chatting with spouses or relations and securing their support, 5 hang ups (Texans are polite what can I say?) 7 wrong numbers, and 3 voting plans. Those last three were the golden ticket you hoped to find in your effort. That’s where you make a difference. One gentleman named Thomas I spoke with was an 84 year old who said he’d vote “for that Beto, he seemed a good honest guy”. I went over the address of the polling location, he waited to till I finished then declared, “Yea I know where it is, I’m gonna walk on over”. He was sweet and it was an honor to connect with Tom from Texas.


The UX of the system was more or less stable, but had an uncomfortable lag that you have to adjust to. Overall I was impressed with the tech. It could identify if the sample had voted in 2016. It worked best with head phones and embellishing your script with enthusiasm increased by how familiar you became with the process. A lovely Spanish speaking woman shared the couch I was calling on. She was extra valuable to the movement as she spoke fluent Spanish and hearing her canvas in soft fluid Spanish was invigorating. My friend Justin and his wife Nadine were diligent as well. Everyone had a laptop perched on their laps and a phone gripped tight in hand. There were sandwiches, cookies and an engaged atmosphere. Will Beto win big on Tuesday? That I cannot say, but I’ll say thirty people spending a Saturday night before the big election in NYC who were calling Texans and doing something proactive and proven to aid Beto’s victory.

It was a lovely feeling and an honor to state, “Hi, my name is David and I’m a volunteer for Beto O’Rourke’s Senate Campaign”.



If you are a patriot, and passionate about your feelings being an American and want to do more, I suggest visiting the website of your candidate and learning how you can volunteer and make an actual difference.

To learn more about Beto for Texas click here.

All images made with an iPhone Xs Max and processed in Snapseed.

Keep Calm, Carry Cameras. No, Really.

Message Man in Chelsea

After I posted yesterday’s blog on Street Photography as a Genre, I went out for an afternoon walk from Chelsea to Union Sq and back. I got about 2 blocks when I realized as I chose my camera to pack with me for the walk, I forgot my wallet. With a grunt and curse I turned about to return home and then I spied this perfect intersection of light with this well dressed dude in a pose seemingly meant just for me. Thank you sir. As I crossed the street, I drew my Ricoh GR IV, held it up as I slowly walked by and … nailed it.  Best shot I have taken in about a month. Thrilled. No one but the Shutter god and I knew the discreet candid photo was ever taken.

The last post was about Street Photography as genre, so I had this in mind and was playing with the camera in a whimsical “streety” way. Luckily the camera focuses extremely fast and accurately and I can apply some funky contrast B&W styles to the photo. I walked away with a image I can rely on, more confidence that I can shoot street genre, and mostly the reiteration to ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA.

So the shot is made with Ricoh GR IV Digital and I wrote a review of it here. It’s a fine street shooter.

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