Thursday, August 7, 2008

Snooting an MT-24EX


Snooting an MT-24EX
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Update: After using the snoot for two weeks I've taken it off. It worked well for some images, and didn't work so well for others so I've gone back to a basic piece of diffuser plastic for the MT-24EX's flash heads.

I’ve built, and hot glued, so many different diffusers to my MT-24EX over the last two years that it looks like it has been in a war zone! Every time I come up with a new way to diffuse the flash I learn a little more about flash photography and I get a little closer to the light that I’ve been looking for.

Today I built a snoot for my MT-24EX and it might be the last diffuser I make…

In order to get good diffusion with the flash I really have to get it close to the subject. Granted I could make a bigger diffuser, and I’ve done just that on more than one occasion. But I’ve had a hard time striking a balance between diffuser size and the short working distances above life size –at 5x the flash heads are only about an inch from the subject…

I was going through some camera gear that I had in a box when I stumbled upon a Lumiquest Promax Accessory Kit and it dawned on me that not only would the diffuser plastic work pretty good for the MT-24EX, but maybe I could cut up the reflectors and use the plastic to build a snoot. One of the problems with the MT-24EX on the MPE-65mm is that a lot of the light is wasted –even at life size I’m trying to light a really small scene. I don’t need the light from the flash going everywhere, and as close as I have to get the flash heads to the subject “spill” can be a problem. Yellow flowers make extremely good reflectors –so good that a lot of the light that’s spilling out of the bottom of the flash ends up bouncing back into the subject as an intense yellow light. Sometimes it creates an interesting lighting effect, and sometimes it just blows out all the highlights…

I’ve taken a few test shots and the results are so good that I thought I’d write about it before I go on vacation (I’ll be out at the farm until the end of next week). I’ll end this with one of the images I shot. The recycle time of the MT-24EX is almost instantaneous –even at 5x. So that tells me that I’m getting most of the light right where I need it. I’m also getting really good exposures even when the background is black because most of the E-TTL pre-flash is hitting the subject…

Snoot test
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