The Roller Aerial Monopod

DIYRoller Aerial Monopod - photography_aerial_monopod_18.jpgThe following tutorial on building an Ariel Monopod is a guest post by Adam Hajnos.

Recently I was carrying around my camera and tripod at a music festival when I got the idea to do an aerial shot. I extended the tripod out all the way and put the camera on a timer. Only problem is, my tripod weighs upwards of 50lbs. So here is a simple solution to make a lightweight, portable monopod for “aerial” photography.

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Studio DIY: Gel Holder for Flash

Flash Gel Holder Craig Colvin (Flickr) came up with a great design for a gel holder on a flash. The design includes an L shaped plexiglass.

Now, if you ever followed the strobist way of mounting gels on your flash, you know the great value those little pieces of colored tape can provide.

You probably also know that it can very annoying to apply the gel strips on the flash or to remove them. Not to mention stacking them together – this becomes a Velcro hell.

The nice design by Craig solves this problem by providing a Velcro free gel chassis. Sometimes you need nothing more than some bended plexiglass. See Craig’s full design and instructions here.

If you can not bend plexiglass yourself you may want to consider using an Acrylic stand. I could only find big ones but I know that there is a smaller version from my local coffee bar.

This got me thinking on alternatives to gel holders and the thing that popped to mind was name tag pockets. Those are pretty cheap and once you place on over your flash, you can freely insert and remove colorful gels.

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More Gels:
Homemade Gridspot
Painting With Light
The Optimizer
The DIY Speed Strap – Accessories And Samples [Read more…]

Even Better Softbox Part Two – The Test Results

Softbox Article Part One - The Build ProcessNick rocks again with a follow up on the Better Softbox – a comparison of softbox lining materials.

One of the questions asked in the comments when I built my first large softbox was “would a matte white finish on the interior give a more efficient output?” I had to admit, it had never crossed my mind to use anything other than aluminium foil as the lining material as I had just assumed this would be very efficient. After doing a bit of research on the internet I found a table with the following values listed for the reflective efficiency of various materials and finishes: [Read more…]

Even Better Softbox Part One – The Build Process

Softbox Article Part One - The Build ProcessAnybody who’s read this blog for a while knows that I am a big fan of Nick Wheeler. Not only he creates great imagery and photographs, but he also shares his setups, and creative process. If you did not visit his stream so far, you are in for a treat.

Last time Nick guest posted on DIYP, he showed how with a little time, two good hands and ingenuity you can create a professional grade softbox. But Nick was not happy and promised to return with a better design. And Nick is the kind of guy that keeps his word. Read on to see how Nick created an even better softbox (who would have thought this is possible) with interchanging lining and a truly genius flash holder.

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PRESSlite – The Two Way SpeedLite

presslite_00.jpgOk, this is something I have not seen before. With the big war on who has the bigger better accessorizeable speedlite diffuser there has been a ruling paradigm – bounce your flash to get softer results.

This has been the case with Stofen line of products (see the DIY versions: 1, 2) as well as with the Gary Fong diffusers family (DIYed this as well, though results are just OK with the DIY version).

If you are a Strobist fan, you are going to love this. Presslite just came up are about to release a new concept for flash modifications – Vertex.

They do not try to diffuse the flash, nor bounce it from the ceiling. Instead they try to break the flash power into two halves. This is done using two mirrors, each to control half of the flash output.

Now think of the options – you can bounce half of the flash from the ceiling or from the wall while you direct the other half to your subject. You can control the spread of light. And you can direct your flash anywhere you want to. Nice.

I guess that one question that has to be asked is how sturdy is the Vertex. By aiming it towards a press audience I would think that it needs to be strong to take the abuse pros give their speedlites.

Check out the 3D demo – it is hypnotizing.

Vertex home
Early orders

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Shooting the Team – Surf’s Up

the-little-professor.jpg After sharing two posts of the Shooting the Team project, I believe you get the idea: Do an assignment like photograph, using journeyman flash accessories.

By telling the story of how I shot Omer, I’ll almost wrap up half of the team.

What I wanted to show in this portrait is Omer’s light and fun approach towards life (and work). “Surf’s up – Lets jump in” is just what you’ll hear him say at the beach or facing a challenging task at work. (Of course it was easier to convey the mood using a beach accessory).

So this is what Omer and I thought of – making a light feeling portrait while showing off Omer’s abs.

Shooting the Team - Surf's Up

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The Photo Book Made @ Home

America at Home Photo Album Custom CoverWhat if someone told you the following thing? "Your home, your family are so special, that if you took their photo, I’ll put the photo in a fine photography best selling photo album".

This is exactly what happened to tens of thousands of amateur photographers (and about a 100 top class photo journalists) when Rick Smolan decided to take on the (my) America at Home Photo Book Project.

Rick has dome several successful photography projects before (among them the America 24/7 photo album). All had a thing in common – Mix some pros and amateurs, throw in some directions and let the party start.

This is why I was not surprised when Rick decided to make America at Home a community project as well.

So why do I think this book deserves a DIYP post? Mainly because is shows that amateur photographers are good enough to compete with pros. Although the rate of images that entered the book is way higher on the pro side. Quite a few amateurs have made their signature on this book.

The second reason to feature this photo book is the book’s subject. OK, how many times each and every one of us was lacking inspiration? With over 250 photos taken at home, this book definitely shows that home can provide ample inspiration. Of course if it is not enough, you can always get some more inspiration here.

To see what I am talking about, jump here and see the actual pages of the book. (Well not the whole book, but enough to get you hungry).

Another bonus to this book are the articles written by Amy Tan, Dominique Browning, Terry Teachout and Matt Groening (Yap, this is the Simpsons dude)

As anything else in the world, you can get America At Home from Amazon, but if you order the book here, you can make a cover with your family in it. (See my family and custom cover in the pic above – trust me, it looks better on the real cover)

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Readers Projects – The DIY Magic Arm

diy magic armJake O’Connell has come up with a great Idea to create a Magic Arm. What is a magic arm you ask? (You can have a look at the Bogen Magic Arm or read on). – Yes it is time for another Reader Project.

A magic arm is a photography magical instrument much like a tripod, but with two major differences:

The first difference is that (unlike a tripod) the non camera side of the Magic Arm is equipped with a stud (or a stud socket) which allows you to mount it on virtually anything. (Well the spiderpod also does this, but I wouldn’t place my Nikon D2x on a spiderpod).

Alternatively, you can use the magic arm to mount a lighting device like a flash or a flag.

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