I’ve become quite adept at adapting to situations. Weddings are no place for those who are not flexible. If you find yourself a wedding photographer one day and get upset when things don’t go your way perhaps you should continue on your journey to find your true calling. I’ve had many problems with my old strobes when used manually off camera. Firstly, I needed to fire them using pocket wizards which meant that I needed some sort of adapters from pocket wizard to Canon flash. The first adapters were $12 and worked 99% of the time, though they did decide to not work at a wedding which caused a little heart flutter for a moment until the adaptive genes kicked in and I found a solution quickly, quietly and without a fuss. After that episode I decided to buy the most expensive adapter made: $35 each. They fired 100% of the time but had a downside. The wire coming out of the adapter was easily torn out. By easily I do mean difficult for a normal person who is not pulling the adapter out of the camera bag full force. I broke one and lost one.
A new solution was forming in my mind when I saw someone on Flickr had done a mod to their Canon 580 flash which inserted a 1/8″ jack inside of the flash housing and soldered stuff inside the flash to achieve this. I was a little skeptical because the 550s I had were different than 580s. But I finally went to Fry’s, found the parts for $.99 each and started tearing apart a flash. After an hour and a half of testing and a hole drilled in the wrong place with the drill press, I figured it all out and had a shiny new adapter on the flash and everything soldered internally. The second flash took 20 minutes. I ran out of jacks at this point because I’d had o actually scrounge on the floor at Fry’s to even find the two I had bought. I’ll get more adapters soon and finish the project. I also was amused to find out that all the pocket wizards to is complete a circuit. $180 for a little radio receiver that just completes a circuit. I might have to invent my own pocket wizards in the future that are better, smaller and cheaper.