did you study
JOHN SOLANO: Art
Center College of
Design in Pasadena, California.
of the GL- 1 Hotlight?
JS: I’d been shooting professionally
for 18 years when I found a need for a
portable hot lighting tool to run on batteries. I wanted a Hollywood-style light
that would be fast and portable.
PDNedu: Tinkering with model cars
as a youth helped you to build a GL- 1
prototype. Are there other skills from
youth that you still use today?
JS: Learning to play chess. It makes you
think five steps ahead of others. When
I’m shooting weddings or events, the
bride and groom are like the king and
queen on the chessboard surrounded
by the other pieces. When I’m shooting, I plan my moves from
location to location. Having
the foresight to know what
to do, what to say and how to
make people feel is key—how
to not let the king and queen
of your live chess game be in
danger of the bad energy of
the people around them.
PDNedu: You partnered with
Brian Marcus to develop this
light. What skills did he bring
to the table?
JS: Brian is an amazing, third-genera-tion photographer from New York City.
He personally knows Steve Tiffin,
the owner of Lowel Lighting, and was
able to get a meeting. Tiffen took one
look at the prototype and wanted to
produce it. Brian adds his speaking
skills to educate photographers at
conventions and handles the
business side of our venture. He also
spearheaded the branding style of
the existing unit.
PDNedu: What are the terms
of your partnership?
JS: Brian and I are 50/50
partners. We made our initial
agreement over a handshake.
PDNedu: What’s the connection between the Lowel GL- 1
Hotlight and the Nikon D4?
JS: This pair is a marriage
made in heaven. The D4’s high
ISO capabilities are amazing.
I mostly try to shoot without
a flash, but in flat light, sometimes the image needs a little
snap. That’s where I bring in a
GL- 1.“What you see is what you
get,” this is what I love about
using a hotlight. To quickly
place light at a specific spot
on your subject is a dream!
I love the GL- 1’s 3000K-color
temperature; it keeps things
very balanced when I’m shooting
indoors. The D4 renders the
PDNedu: Has this lighting tool
altered your vision or approach to photography in any
JS: Lighting a subject with a
Lowel GL- 1 gives me this powerful skill—I can see what the
light is doing before pressing
my shutter. People around me
at an event can see it too. They
ooh and aah, thus giving the
subject more confidence too.
PDNedu: What’s the most important
insight you weren’t taught in school
but should have been?
JS: People don’t remember what you
said, they don’t remember exactly what
you did—all they remember is how you
made them feel The Lowel GL- 1 allows
me to work effortlessly with my subject.
The photo session is smooth and enjoyable. It makes me look more professional when I command my environment
PDNedu: Are you developing
any new product ideas?
JS: I’m working on a remote control
function to turn a GL- 1 on and off and
control the dimming from high up on a
stand. I’ve made a prototype and am now
working on a four-channel version.
PDNedu: Do you have any final,
JS: My advice is to be consistent in what
you do. We are what we repeatedly do.
Also, the most successful people are
great at plan “B.” EDU
Q&A with Nikon legend John Solano,
co-developer of the Lowel GL1 Hotlight
HOLLY WOOD LIGHT: “When we photograph clients in a smooth and fluid
manner the experience is much more enjoyable for them,” says Solano.
THE LOWEL GL;1POWER
LED: Illuminate at the
speed of light
Don’t miss the video of John Solano talking
about the Lowel GL- 1 Hotlight in PDNedu’s
digital edition or view it online at
< bit.ly/173Ga WE>.
For our full interview with Solano, check
out this story on < www.PDNedu.com>.