I want to be crystal clear about something up front. I have assisted for Peter Hurley, once, in Toronto for a workshop put on by Henry's. I have huge respect for the man and think the world of him. With that out of the way, I worked this past weekend with this product and it left me very underwhelmed.
The idea is really interesting. The Creative on the go does not want to shlep filled sandbags around and you definitely do not want to carry them on an aircraft. So Peter's idea was to use generally available water as the source of weight, on the premise that you can find it most anywhere, it's quite inexpensive and it can be used after the shoot to water plants and such.
This past weekend I was doing a portrait photography seminar hosted at Henry's, Canada's largest camera store in Thornhill Ontario. Great folks came out and Henry's agreed to provide all the lights, stands, light shapers and related kit. I arrived early and as is my preference starting placing Cameron CS-100 C stands with booms and one of the Cameron LS-65B boom stands for the background / hair light. The Cameron CS-100 is good value but as it is half the price of an equivalent Avenger or ⅔ the price of a Kupo, it's got a wobble on when the main shaft is extended. I always want sandbags on all stands, because if you don't weigh your stands down, one of them is going to tip and either break your gear or hurt someone. Murphy's Law.
Henry's recently started carrying the H2Pro bags from FJ Westcott and the local team wanted to use them because the store does not stock filled sandbags. Which makes sense considering no one would want to pay more for a sandbag with sand, and you sure as heck would never want to ship one.
The staff filled the bladders of two of the H2Pro units, one for each of the C-Stands, and I used my bag to weigh down the other stand. As I was finalizing placing the lights, I noticed a stain on the carpet. Yup, one of the H2Pro bladders had let go on the carpet like a nervous dog. It was determined that the cap was not sealing properly, so David went off to refill the bladder and reef the locking cap down tight. That stopped the leak.
The H2Pro bags zip together for more weight which was a darn good thing, because one bag, filled to the brim as it was, had barely enough weight to stabilize a simple stand with a speedlight, let alone a C Stand with a strobe on a boom. What would take a single sandbag ended up requiring two full H2Pro bags as well as some creative anchoring with a table leg. This meant no H2Pro on the strip light at all, so I had to figure out another way to anchor it.
Between the leaking, and the filling and the need for lots of these things, I came away unimpressed even before seeing the price. These things retail for about $63 per! At that rate I would need 9 to properly anchor a C Stand with a boom, and that kind of money is nuts. Plus nine of them would take a lot of space when travelling.
If the idea is to support the mobile professional, sorry, this doesn't work for me. I'd rather rent ahead of time, or head out to a fitness shop and just buy some loose plates and a spool of wire wherever i arrived. Yes that's a hassle but it's not over $500 of hassle. The bladders are too small, weigh too little when full and you need lots of them to do the job of a single sandbag.
HurleyPro H2Pro? No. This is a good idea, that simply doesn't work in practice. I wish it did, but the current iteration does not, and is crazy expensive besides.
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I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.