Review: Vagabond II from Alien Bees


Everyday Minerals Cosmetics, Spring Campaign

Everyday Minerals Cosmetics, Spring Campaign

For those that read the previous posts, I just shot the Spring 2009 campaign for Everyday Minerals cosmetics. We filmed in beautiful Laguna Beach, almost entirely with natural lighting and reflectors. I know many photographers shiver at the thought of telling people how a photograph was done, but really…. who cares, right? This blog is about helping and sharing, which is really the foundation of any good art.

Anyhow, I wanted to bring portable power with me. We filmed inside a cave, about 30 feet deep and the sun could not reach the inside of the cave, even with our reflectors. Instead I had my assistant hold out my B800 overhead (hand-held) and we powered it up with the new Vagabond II from Alien Bees. 

Because of our extreme limited time to fit the many looks in the schedule, I had only a couple moments to try the flash route. I was convinced we could use the lights and still create a natural light look. I think we did a good job by placing a honeycomb (also from Alien Bees) over the light. It lit the model’s face, only like a nice cloudy day cover. But the star of the shoot was not the model or the photographer, it was the light and easy-t0-carry Vagabond II unit. It comes in an attractive nylon carrying bag, it’s designed beautifully, and really is how they describe it…. portable! Vagabond II, Alien Bees

It was a last minute decision, but my little Vagabond II gave me hope for future shoots. The pack is actually light enough to have it around my assistant’s shoulder, like a woman carries her handbag. He was very mobile by carrying the Vagabond and the B800 at the same time. Once again, Alien Bees scores with a great product and a great price at it. 

I would also like to note that the honeycomb I used from Alien Bees was the 20 degree model. I have to say that most of Alien Bees products are greatly priced, but I found this honeycomb to be over priced for what it really is. They should consider lowering the prices for this, considering that if we buy the honeycomb from them then chances are we’ve already spent a lot of money on their products. Give us a break Alien Bees! But don’t let the overpriced Honeycombs change your mind on the Alien Bees. Their amazing customer service department alone makes up for any short comings, but they don’t have to. Alien Bees makes a great product at a great price (minus a few accessories that are WAY overpriced).

Here is the picture of the model from the Everyday Minerals Cosmetics shoot. The color is part of their new Spring line, the image can be seen here first and later this week on their website. Again, it is a pleasure working for a company that actually has a product that I believe in. Natural, organic, vegan, mineral make-up sounds amazing doesn’t it? Ladies give them a shot.

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11 thoughts on “Review: Vagabond II from Alien Bees

  1. Cassie says:

    Hi Walid,

    Nice shot!
    I’ve seen this collection on EDM. Do you know this girl’s name? I think she’s gorgeous!


  2. N76 says:

    Thank you Cassie. Someone else asked about her name today, maybe you know them?
    Anyhow, I forget the model’s name. She can be found/booked via Brand Model and Talent. Best of luck.

  3. Cassie says:

    No I don’t know them.

    Thanks for the info. I found her on Brand Model and Talent’s website. Her name is Selina White.

  4. Tom says:

    bought myself a Vagabond today based on your suggestion. some say it’s crap…… many say it’s not… hell…. for the price….. i’m not going to complain…. especially since i picked it off craigslist for 200!


  5. N76 says:

    I don’t know how Vagabond 1 is, but I have 2 and I like it. In fact, I did a shoot in Alien Bees and told everyone it was Profoto lights. Everyone said things to me like, “the profotos are amazing.” and “that’s why I ONLY use Pro Photo”… to bad they were Alien Bees and you can use AB lights to make just as good of a photograph. Enjoy your Vagabond and let me know how the first version is.

  6. N76 says:

    by the way Tom, Thank you for reading my pages.

  7. Cord says:

    Hi. I am thinking about getting a vagabond II, how are the recycle times? I like the Profoto trickery, funny stuff.

  8. N76 says:

    IT’s not bad. I think the recycle time is like a second.

  9. Cord says:

    Cool, thanks for the fast response. I will give it a shot. Only difference, I will have 5 heads powered on the Vagabond II. I bet my recycle times will be a little harsh. ;^)

  10. N76 says:

    hmmmmm I think there might be a safety issue with that and the directions warn against that.

  11. Cord says:

    The Alien Bees site says up to 6 I believe via a power strip.

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