Our Golf Cart Photo Light Stand
This is the story behind our custom-built golf cart photo light stand we call Lightning McQueen.
For several years now, we’ve been using as many as three Canon speedlites on a single light stand to help us light our wedding photos and portraits while on location. These regular speedlites are not very powerful, so that’s why we had to use three of them at a time on just one light stand and often times we had three more of them on a second light stand! They really weren’t built to handle all that heavy use that we gave them week in and week out. We’ve literally burned out more than a dozen of them in the last two years!
Scotty, We Need More Power!
Recently, much more powerful battery powered compact strobe units have become available and we’ve just invested in a full new system to take advantage of all that portable power. Just one of these new “super speedlites” is more powerful than four of the Canon Speedlite we were using before! And to make it even more portable, Michael has put some of it on wheels!
Meet “Lightning McQueen”, our custom designed golf cart photo light stand!
We Love Disney/Pixar
One of Michael’s favorite Pixar friends is Lighting McQueen so when it came time to name our lighting contraption it was relatively easy to for Michael to choose Lighting McQueen. Lightning is a combination of a very high powered speedlite (the lightning part), and a carryall on wheels. While not actually nearly as fast as the race car Lightning McQueen, it’s going to help speed up getting around with lots of gear on location! Ka-chow!
We put Lighting McQueen into service for the first time at Kevin & Megan’s pretty May 21st wedding reception at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN. It takes less than 5 minutes to put Lightning McQueen together, and fully load it with photography gear and then we’re on our way.
Above is a behind the scenes wedding showing “Lighting McQueen” in action at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The image we created with it is shown below.
In light wind conditions, it can sport one of our GoMo 36″ or 48″ Octa Softboxes to help us create even more flattering lighting for our wedding photography & portrait clients.
Not Just For Wedding Photography
It’s my plan to use “Lighting McQueen” whenever I can for not only wedding photos but also for creating nice lighting for engagement portraits, kids, seniors, pets and family portrait photography too! Below is a recent Stillwater engagement portrait of Anne & Noah standing up on a hill with Lightning McQueen’s light stand extended all the way to 13 feet.
Lighting McQueen will be used extensively in our Portrait Park as well. Lightning doesn’t do stairs very well, so places like Minnehaha Falls (at the bottom) are probably a no go. Most other photography locations should do quite well. Lightning McQueen has worked like a charm in very hilly Stillwater, MN engagement portrait session.
Here’s the parts list I used to create “Lighting McQueen”:
- (1) TourTrek One Click 360 Golf Cart
- (2) Impact Titling Boom Pivot Clamp
- (2) Impact Super Clamp with Ratchet Handle
- (1) 13’ Impact Air-Cushioned Heavy-Duty Light Stand
- (2) 24” Heavy Duty Bungee Cords
- 36” Aluminum Rod cut into 2 pieces with special “holding groves”
“Lighting McQueen” can also transport a second 13’ Impact Air-Cushioned Heavy-Duty Light Stand, a tripod, a monopod, 2 reflectors, a GoMo 36″ or 48″ Octa Softbox with grid, our Tamrac 614 Camera Bag with one or two Canon 5D Mark III cameras and several lenses, two high powered MoLight AD360II-C Super Flashes, two LightSpikes, a brides bag and Joannie’s purse too!
Our state-of-the-art mobile lighting system will be used exclusively on “Lighting McQueen” and can consist of the following when needed:
- (2) MoLight X1-C transmitters
- (2) MoLight AD360II-C Super Flashes or one AD360II-C with a MoLight V860II-C Speedlight
- One or two FP Flashpoint Blast Pack BR-960 Lithium Batteries
- GoMo 48″ Octa Softbox with grid
- GoMo 36″ Octa Softbox with grid
- Bowens S Adapter
- Two Q Clip Clamps
- Two Power Cords with two “Y” Power Adapters
Watch for more of the wedding & portrait images we’ll be creating with “Lightning McQueen” as the summer wedding & portrait season rolls along. We’re very excited at the possibilities of taking powerful strobe lights to wedding & portrait locations that we couldn’t easily do before.