Friday, February 13, 2009

Recent Projects

Anyone who also visits the MySpace page that I reluctantly maintain might have noticed that over the last few weeks I have been "Building Things" and my mood has been "Productive".

Here are the things I've been building:

First--a black straw grid for my second flash:

I'm not really showing-off the device in these photos because it's just a simple and boring box that fits over the flash and holds a grid pattern of black straws in front of the light-emitting part.
This restricts the light, so instead of going all over the place it's forced into a narrow beam.

Beam of light seen here:

I built one for my main flash a year ago, but needed to solve some design problems because this particular optical slave flash has an unusual shape.
It was a success.

Another flash accessory I'll be needing soon (to shoot a couple of weddings) is a flash bracket.
Simple versions can be had for under $20.
Good ones for $50.
Pro ones for $350 and up.

I made mine for $5, plus some parts I had laying around.

The main thing is that it puts the flash above and to one side of your lens, while also being convenient to carry everything around.
It eliminates everything that makes a typical snapshot of people look bad, from the flat light with bad shadows to the dreaded red-eye effect.

A wooden dowel, a 1/4"-20 anchor with extra threaded section to grab more epoxy, a flash mounting shoe donated by a junk camera, some paint, a piece of steel with proper holes that I already had...
Works great, plus it comes apart and the two pieces slip into the front pocket of my camera bag, whereas "real" flash brackets are big and bulky to carry around.

A full article on this build was requested of me, and is being published on a photography website next week.

This is a test of both projects at once.
The main light is coming from the strobe on top of my flash bracket.
No monkey red-eye!

(Yes, I'm kidding. I tested for red-eye on humans and never found any).
The other flash with grid is coming in from behind and to the left of Nanners, used as a hairlight or rimlight which is it's intended purpose.
This technique helps keep a person's hair from blending into the background and adds some spice.

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