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.

[Read more…]

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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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.

[Read more…]

The DIY Speed Strap – Accessories And Samples

photography_speed_strap_2465826296.jpgIn the previous post I demonstrated my lack of patience by constructing a Honl Speed Strap, while waiting for my Amazon Honl speed strap to arrive.

In this post, I’ll show the accessories I built, and explain their various effects on a picture taken.

All my DIY accessories have real commercial products made by David Honl. While the lighting result is usually similar, I must say that Honl products look way more professional. (In fact they look professional enough that I bought some of them, even when I knew I can make them myself).

But, just before I go into the details of constructing and demonstrating the different accessories, I would like to highlight some of the comments on the original post, dealing with different materials that can be used to construct a better model of the speed strap. [Read more…]

Speed Links for 05-09-2008

speedlinksToday’s speedlinks comes a little bit before the usual monthly time for the speed links. The reasons for this is that there are several links that I wanted to share and that will have less relevance if they were not published today. Specifically, I am talking about the monthly TimeShoot project which will expire today.

I tried to get a little bit of everything on today’s post and cover studio, digital workflow, photography fun and heavier articles discussing copyright issues. Enjoy the mix.

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Related Links:
Speed Links for 4-20-2008
Speed Links for 2-23-2008
Speed Links for 12-20-2007
Speed Links for 12-11-2007
Speed Links for 11-20-2007

[Read more…]

DIY Photography Lighting – The DIY Speed Strap

photography_speed_strap_2465826296.jpgI really wanted a speed strap. Ever since the restrictive light post over at Strobist, I wished for one of those magical straps. If you are not familiar with them look at David Honl’s site, it is filled with goodies.

“Why do you need one”, you ask? Because they are A – Really good at blocking light. B – Small and can get in my small bag when I go out for a shoot and C – They are just too cool that I could not effort not having one.

I even designed a new one. (Not so good, more on that in a few lines).

Then I decided that I am going to get one from Amazon. Since I (like my eight months son) can not delay satisfaction, must take photos to live, I made a new one that really works (and inspired by the Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit). [Read more…]

Readers Projects – DIY Spider Light by Alex Campagna

spiderlight_2435827940.jpgThe Readers Project column is one of my favorite columns in the DIYP. It is a column that brings you DIYP readers to front page and let you share your experience with the rest of DIYP community. (See the bottom of this post for more projects).

There are actually a few ways to get featured in the Readers Projects column: you can post the setup and explanation to the Flickr Image Pool or Discussion threads; you can drop me a note, or you can give me a call (ok, no one has actually done this yet, but I am open…)

Spiderlights are a great source of light. Basically a Spiderlight is a mount with five sockets with which you can do whatever lighting you want: fluorescent or PL bulbs, hot lights or bulb-strobes (Jim from ProPhotoLife has a great comparison of your options here). The only rebuke is the price: if you want to get your hand on one of those, be prepared to bye-bye a few hundreds of dollars. [Read more…]