That’s Not A Light – THIS Is A Light

That’s A Light from RHED Pixel on Vimeo.

My pal Rich Harrington did some more behind the scenes video of a commercial shoot we worked on using a 50″ LED light bar from Rigid Industries as a main source of light. While Rigid isn’t known for its contributions to the photography industry, more than one photographer has borrowed this idea from me and several have even contacted my installer asking for help building a similar rig.

LED lighting is becoming very popular and as you can see here, it did a great job lighting the Jag. My work truck is making itself pay in the bargain. Enjoy.

NOTE: Cross-posted at

Update on the Project Truck

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

I have to admit I’ve been remiss about keeping everyone informed on the new project truck. Been too busy to take breaks to describe the progress. Suffice it to say this truck has come a very long way since it was just a plain jane 2012 Ford F-150 FX-4 Base Truck with a 5.0 Litre V8 Flex Fuel Engine – Electronic 6-Speed Automatic – 145 Wheel Base – Powerfold Signal Mirrors – Keyless Entry – Ingot Silver Exterior, etc.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

I’ve finished most of the basic mods. I still have a few cosmetic things to work on. Going to try to get a custom decal cut for the truck but I’ve learned this is probably the flakiest part of the automotive aftermarket. Called three places, and visited two in person. No response or call backs. Going to semi-black out the tail lights so they look darker but are still legal. I took off the 4×4 decals. The name Ford F150 FX4 appears in about seven places on the truck so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to remove two of them. I will next go to work on engine mods.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

The biggest change has come with the installation of the LED lightbar. That has made the truck very functional for me in my work as a photographer. This list is pretty complete. It doesn’t cover things like labor and man hours but the basic add-ons are all listed.

Photo Copyright Rich Harrington

• Ford Locking Gas Cap • Pursuit PROPLM Security System
• AMI Bed Extender (Line-X coated) • AMI Black Billet antenna
• Bushwacker Extend-A-Flare (Line-X coated) • De-badging & Blackout Treatment
• Trail FX Nerf Step Up Bars (Line-X coated)
• AFE High Flow Pro 5r Air Intake • ReadyLift 66-2059 2″ Front Leveling Kit
• Line-X (Truck Bed, Fuel Foor, Rocker Panels, Gas Cap, Hood, Bumpers, Rear Ford Logo, Fender Wells, Bed Caps Plus Other Items As Noted)
• Magnaflow Cat-Back Performance Exhaust W/Black Tips
• Better Built Toolbox (Line-X Covered)
• JL Audio DH 900/5 Five Channel Amp & 13″ Stealthbox Subwoofer
• Focal Integration IS 165 Speaker System
• Focal 5×7″ 2-Way Integration Coaxial Series Car Speakers
• Custom Ford F150 Grillcraft STX MX Upper & Lower Grille
• Fuel D531 Hostage Wheels *HID 6K Headlights
• Rigid 50″ SR-Series Hybrid LED Light Bar W/Custom Mounts (Line-X)
• Nitto Terra Grappler Tires •Spine Locking Lug Nuts
• Super Chips Flash Paq •2 Odyssey Batteries
• AMP BedStep (x2 one on each side of truck)
• Kleinn Air Horn w/2.5 pound compressor •Painless 250 Amp Dual Battery Control

The Most Incredible & Expensive Lighting System I’ve Ever Used In Photography – NSFW

NOTE Cross posted at

Copyright Scott Bourne 2012 All Rights Reserved!

(Imagine Jeremy Clarkson’s voice reading these first few paragraphs.) It’s not from Chimera, Alien Bees or Broncolor. It doesn’t come with any soft boxes or stands. In fact, it’s not sold in any camera store – not even at B&H or Adorama. That’s because…

It’s a truck.

To be more precise, it’s a 2012 Ford F-150 FX4 pick-up truck which now sports a 50″ SR-Series Hybrid LED Light Bar W/Custom Mounts. The brackets were custom designed and Line-X was applied. The entire bar is permanently mounted to the truck and provides a mostly daylight balanced LED flood light controlled from a custom switch mounted in the truck cab.

(Okay imagine it’s me now – The Stig.)

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but the design has always been a challenge. I wanted a nice, broad, relatively diffuse light, with daylight balance that would be high enough that it would be able to project with being blocked by any part of the truck. It took me two years to find this particular product and with the help of Four-The-Truck, my customizer, I found a way to mount the bar that was legal, functional and didn’t induce too much additional wind noise in the cab at speed. (Light bars tend to whistle on the highway. My customizer solved this by using an adhesive at three points on the bar covered by a valance.)

Copyright Tom Shue – All Rights Reserved!

I should probably back up and say – those who know me or have followed me for a long time here know I always have what I jokingly refer to as a “work truck.” Translated, I spend WAAAAY too much money customizing a new truck for fun and then use it in my job and end up being able to justify it for work and writing it off as a legitimate expense. Despite my love for exotic and fast cars, I almost always have at least one truck in my stable.

This particular truck is my latest project and has had tens of thousands of dollars worth of upgrades from the suspension to the motor, wheels, nerf bars, military grade security system, tool box, extended flares, tires, compressor, train horns, sound system, etc. But the most exciting mod (photographically speaking) was the light bar.

I’ve been working on customizing this truck for four months now and the final stage was the addition of the SR-Series Hybrid LED Light Bar.

Copyright Tom Shue – All Rights Reserved!

Unfortunately, this model doesn’t come with a dimmer switch, but the manufacturer is working on a backwards compatible dimmer that will eventually work with this light. For now, you control intensity and fall off by properly positioning the truck. Since it’s a constant light source it’s easy to see where the light falls on the subject and it’s perfect for taking on location to provide a big light for almost any job. In this case, big enough to light a car.

The system runs on a combination of specialty batteries. I replaced the standard Motorcraft truck battery under the hood with an Odyssesy battery. I installed a second Odyssey battery in the tool box. This second battery is powerful enough to run the light bar for an hour. After that, the regular truck battery kicks in and is good for another hour – both without turning on the truck’s engine. Both batteries are charged when the truck is running so as long as you have gasoline in the truck the light will run beyond the time offered by the two batteries. So in short, you could use this light overnight and all day in extreme conditions if needed.

Photo Copyright Rich Harrington

The color and quality of light are infallible and the wide beam covers a very large area. In this case, I waited until sunset and used the light as a front main which allowed me to retain the ambient light behind the car from the sunset.

As backup, I had color-matched HID headlights installed that I could use in extreme cases to fill in the light provided by the LED bar. The combination of both can light up about a third of a football field.

I admit this is a bit overkill, but it is one of those fun things I get to do once in a while that I wanted to share. The total price to buy the lights, batteries, create the custom mounts with labor came to $4300. The truck itself? More than $100k. I know – too much. But what can I say other than you can’t take it with you!

Copyright Scott Bourne – All Rights Reserved

Many of you may have access to off-road vehicles with special lighting. If so, think of these vehicles as specialty lighting and go experiment. You may just be surprised at the results.

NOTE: Lately the images I have been posting are Creative Commons. The images above are under license and therefore not available under Creative Commons – All Copyrights as indicated in the photo caption. Thanks to my hard-working and talented assistant Tom Shue who came to this shoot even though he was injured. Thanks also to my teaching partner Rich Harrington and our production coordinator Pam Berry. Thanks also to our brave, talented and lovely model Nancy.

Customizing Your Vehicle

(Introducing the Project Truck)

According to SEMA, last year’s show of everything auto was a record setter when it comes to attendance. Even in bad economies, auto sales tend to do well. As do parts sales.

This last fact is part of a new trend of customizing.

When you’re bored with your old car, but can’t afford to trade it in on a new one, you can simply customize it. Add a new stereo or wheels, maybe new paint or graphics. It’s all available both locally and online.

To explore this trend on my own, I started building a custom version of my new 2012 F150 FX4 Pickup truck using a variety of vendors including the original dealer, Rodeo Ford in Phoenix, at a local Vegas 4×4 shop called “4 The Truck,” a local sound shop called “SS Audio,” and my detailer, “Gloss-it Studio.”

It’s been interesting to say the least. The truck was nice to begin with, but now is taking on its own personality.

At the dealership I had Ford mud flaps put on along with a locking gas cap. I also had a Pursuit PROPLM security system installed. This is a high-quality system that is far superior to anything offered from the manufacturer. Next up, a trip to my detailer Rich Light at Gloss-it Studio in Las Vegas. Rich’s team took out some of the original paint imperfections and waxed the car. It’s important to do this right away so the paint has protection from day one. Rich also installed a 3M clear bra on parts of the front end and mirrors to prevent damage from rock chips.

At “4 the Truck” – the only authorized Line-X dealer in Las Vegas, the first thing I decided to do was pretty radical. While most pickup truck owners are familiar with Line-X and similar products that are designed to protect your truck bed, they traditionally keep it in the truck bed. Not me. I had Line-X applied to the truck hood, the nerf bars that were installed, the tool box that was installed, the lower rocker panels and the fender wells. It cost less than adding a clear bra to those areas and it comes on black. With a silver truck it’s complimentary. The look matches the truck’s tough exterior, is easy to clean (soap and water) and it also accomplishes most customizer’s number one goal – it makes my truck different. That’s hard to do when you’re working on the best-selling vehicle in the world. But in this case it certainly worked.

I already mentioned the nerf (or step-up) bars. I added the Trail FX Nerf Bars. They are affordable and functional. This offers some minimal side-impact protection and makes it easier to get in and out of the truck. With the Line-X coating it also makes sure they’ll never get beat up.

The F-150 comes with the front end slightly lower than the back so I added the highly-regarded ReadyLift 2″ front leveling kit to make the truck sit level. We’re not talking monster truck here folks. I just wanted a level playing field.

For better engine sound and performance, I added the AFE High Flow Air Intake. This offers a small horsepower performance boost as does the Magnaflow Cat-Back exhaust. I added black tips to keep the silver and black theme going. The truck SOUNDS like a monster truck when I accelerate now. Not too much but just enough added sound to the exhaust.

Another small detail – literally – is the custom AMI black billet antenna. The stock antenna is too high to fit in my garage so this smaller version not only looks cool but does a good job and fits anywhere.

The last mod in the first round was the addition of a lockable toolbox. I got a Better Built locking toolbox and had it sprayed in Line-X and installed in the truck bed. I’ve decided not to do a bed cover since I end up removing them later to haul stuff.

This round set me back roughly $6000. In the next round I’ll add sound, wheels and tires, and other performance mods so stay tuned.