Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Diffuser Example Image


My Pet Ladybug
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
We had a break in the rain yesterday so I went hunting for critters with the camera and spotted this ladybug. Initially I tried to photograph it on a flower, but I couldn't keep the foreground from being distracting -too much out of focus junk between me and the bug. While I was holding onto the flower to keep it steady the ladybug crawled onto my hand and I took the shot to the right. Even though I took the frame at close to 3x the specular highlights (the bright spots on the shell) and the level of detail are a pretty good indicator that the light is very well diffused.

I had both flash heads mounted directly to the flash mount that Canon supplies with the MT-24EX, and both pointed directly at the ladybug. To get better shadows, and to eliminate the specular highlight on the left, I could have placed the "A" flash head (the one I use as a key light) on a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe. But I was really looking for a worse case situation with the lights just to show the level of diffusion with the new diffusers.

If you need more proof then click on this image to see a 1600 pixel wide version. Take a close look at all the texture detail that I picked up in the shell, and all of the fine hairs on the legs. In the past it would look like a ladybug had a layer of clear coat on it, and very little of the detail in the shell would come out in the resulting image. Much better diffusion, and the overall quality of the light is a lot better. I'm still experimenting with ways to improve it, but if this is the light quality that I'm taking into next year then I'll be happy with it...

12 comments:

Staffan said...

Good work John. It's very nice that you want to share your trials with macro equipments and finally come up with a good ready solution. Then we laymen don't have to struggle so hard.

Dalantech said...

Thanks Staffan, but I'm still struggling too :)

laxative said...

Is this from the diffusers you built earlier and took on video? Truly remarkable result. I just wonder how it would look cross-polarized. Seems to be the way i'm heading to cut the glare.

Dalantech said...

Yes laxative, that shot was taken with the new diffusers. IMHO polarized (or cross polarized) light makes an image look flat. The brain needs to see some specular highlights -it's one of the visual clues that makes a two dimensional construct like a photo seem three dimensional.

laxative said...

Yeah. That's true, but with some shots it works quite well. I've got quite some time until the next macro season, about 5 months.

Sucking all the info in i can. I'll definitely steal your diffuser idea. Too bad i lost one of my sto-fens. :(

Dalantech said...

Sorry about the loss. One of the reasons why I hot glue my diffusers to the MT-24EX's flash heads -they fall off all too easy :(

Kurt said...

Excellent light, John. Now i am really tempted to copy your idea:D. Wondering if those cheaper version on ebay would work the same: http://cgi.ebay.com/2-x-Wide-Angle-Flash-diffuser-for-CANON-MT-24EX_W0QQitemZ260506074926QQcmdZViewItemQQptZCamera_Flash_Accessories?hash=item3ca75f3f2e

About 20USD and shipping is free. I can then get 2 sets of Puffers locally for about 10USD.

Dalantech said...

I think they would work, since I cut the front out of the Sto-Fens just so I can have a frame to attach the Puffers to. You might have to use Gaffers tape to keep the finished diffuser on the MT-24EX (I use hot glue to keep them on).

It's up to you: If you can wait about another 10 days or so I should have the SW-11s tested. I'd hate to see you spend money on what I have now only to see me change to the SW-11s...

Kurt said...

Thanks again John. I think i'll wait :D

Dalantech said...

Happy to crash like a dummy Kurt :D

Dave A said...

I've thought that many of your photos were amazing, but the amount of surface detail that you caught in the shiny flash reflection areas is something that I would not have thought possible. I've taken specimen photos using a microscope and gotten that much surface detail, but only using reflected light rather than just diffusion. Thank you so much for posting this and the explanation of how you made the diffusers.

Dalantech said...

Thanks for the feedback Dave!

The diffuser that I built uses a combination of direct light from the flash, and reflected light off of the Lumiquest Big Bounce material. The mix gives me a lot of texture detail even under the specular highlights.