Monday, June 16, 2008

Changes in my Gear

Sleeping Solitary series 2-1
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I'm still here (been busy!) and that I've made some changes to the gear that I use. First up is the MT-24EX -I'm no longer using Gary Fong's Puffer diffuser. I contacted a company that makes diffusion plastics and they sent me a sales brochure with a sample of every plastic that they make. I took small strips of one of them and hot glued it directly to my MT-24EX's flash heads. Life size to twice life size is the toughest magnification range for me to shoot in and get good diffusion -past 2x the flash heads are so close to he subject that the apparent size of the flash relative to the subject makes getting good diffusion easy. So I'm including a life size shot with this post as an example of what I've been able to do with the new material. Here's a 3x shot so you can see how good the detail is -and how little glare I'm getting.

Sleeping Solitary series 2-4

Also notice that the shadows are much more pronounced. One of the problems with using the Puffer is it's shape -that curve throws light everywhere. I've been able to get shadows with it simply because of the way I would place the flash heads on the mount, but the shadows were always "thin". With a flat diffuser the light from each flash head is a lot more directional so shadows look better, and are easier to control. As an added bonus the new material only causes me to lose about 2/3 of a stop so the flash duration is extremely low.

Several people have asked me if I use a tripod. The only time I use any kind of camera support is when I'm shooting water drops or abstracts in the house -out in the field I take every shot hand held. I'm not using any kind of brace other than an elbow on a knee. For both of the images in this post (and a lot of my recent shots) I'm holding on to whatever the critter is perching on with my left hand and I'm bracing the lens on that same hand to keep everything steady.

Now that it's "macro season" here I'll try to do more image deconstructions as a way to show you how I'm taking photos and hopefully you can pick up something from it that you can apply to your own style.

Happy shooting!
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