DIY – Using Clamps As Flash Light Stands

Using Clamps As Flash Light StandsAs part of the light stand frenzy that’s been going on here, I thought I’d introduce you to another way of placing a flash on location in a cheap and fast way. I learned this hack from David hobby at strobist and been grateful ever since. The idea is quite simple. It is similar to the one displayed in the Spatula article (gotta love this word – spatula…), only instead of using a spatula, I am using clamps. And hey! It was from the same trip to the hardware store. [Read more...]

DIY – hacking the sync outled for an ebay remote

Nikon sb800I finally got my slave flash from eBay. This is extra cool, because unlit now I had to choose between two alternatives – none was giving me the flexibility that I needed for my studio shots. (If you are in to optical, here is a cool slave that you can build @ home)

Studio Slave Flash Option #1 was to use my Nikon SB-800 speedlight set on Slave mode, utilizing Nikon’s CLS (Creative Light System). The benefits of this mode were exact flash output (Those guys at Nikon really knows what they are doing). The down side here was that I could only use one flash at a time and that I had an annoying “shutter lag” until the camera and the flash did their negotiation thingy. Now that was sad, because I often needed more then one speedlight, and did not enjoy the lag at all.

So Studio Slave Flash Option #2 came into play, which was setting all my flashes with sync cord. That was nice – I could hook up 2 or flashes and had no lag at all. The trouble here was that sync cord is A – expensive and B tends to get in your way. For awhile I use option #2.5 – One speedlight with sync cord and the other on optical flash (I set the Nikon SB-28 on sync cord, and used the built in “stupid slave” capabilities of the SB800).

I was not satisfied. So I got on eBay and got me a radio slave flash. The model I got is called RF604 and has 4 channels. Shipping was fast and I was satisfied. I also ordered an extra receiver, to attach to my second flash. [Read more...]

Very Cool Optical Slave Unit

optical flash slave
This guest post was made by Rolf Randby, the same person who wrote the Hot Shoe Adapter article. In fact, This slave trigger was the “trigger” (pan intended) for building the hot shoe adapter in the first place.

There are some Gazillion optical slaves out there. We even one optical slave unit published on this site. So what is so special about this circuitry? Rolf used a PIC (Programmable Interrupt Controller) to give this unit some very nice features: 1. No setup 2. It will work with a red eye setting in your camera. Yep, those annoying red-eye pre-flashes will not trigger the flash, it will “magically know” when the main slash if fired and activate the unit. 3. It will work with all point and shoot cameras.

Those three nice features accomplished with PIC hex code written by Evan Dudzik, from a algorithm by Rolf, make this unit an optimal optical slave unit for P&S cameras. It is the reason I call it the “Very Cool Optical Slave Unit”. Rolf, for some reason, insists on the boring name “STF 1″. I’ll stick with my name – “Very Cool Optical Slave Unit” or VeCOSU :). [Read more...]

DIY – Hot Shoe Adapter

diy hot shoe adaptor
The following guest post was made by Rolf Randby, a fellow DIY-er, who has two right hands (this is yet another manifestation of Darwin’s Evolution – The survivor of the guys who make stuff instead of buying them). The problem which Rolf was facing, is how to build a hot shoe mount for a flash trigger he made. Instead of running to the nearest photo store, he came up with a pretty cheap nice solution, that involves taking a part an old camera. This is also a good solution if your flash does not have a pc-sync outlet, as many of the commercial radio triggers use a phone jack to send the signal to the flash.

So to start this project of you will need an old camera that has a hot-shoe mount. Those are available at a lot of junk stores for a dollar or so. This camera is going to be disassembled – faint of heart – beware! [Read more...]

DIY – The Panorama Head El Cheapo!

panoramic headHow to take good panoramas? Sounds simple, right? Take some shots with some overlapping landscape, go to your favorite stitching software, and stitch them up (I like panorama tools AKA PT, and autostich AKA autostich). Right? Not exactly…

If you’ve done a panorama or two, you must have noticed those annoying vertical stitching lines. Some are caused by wide angle distortion, some due to Polarizer filter that stayed on, and some are the “software’s fault”. Allot of those annoying stitching lines are caused due to something called parallax. In layman’s terms Parallax means that your camera’s focal plan does not “sit” (or as Neo would say – is “not in one”) with rotations axis of your camera. confused? Here is a great article to explain this. So if you want to get professional panoramas you need to do something about it; This something is called Using the Nodal Point (is it me, or does this term sounds a bit weird). Curious? here is how you find your Nodal Point. Of course is not the first to find this Nodal thing. you can always get some cheap accessories for panorama at Manfrotto. Or you can try and build one yourself, just like Stefan Lindgren – DIY-er extraordiner. [Read more...]

Flash photography – ACE of bounce

ace of bounceStep right up, young man, my lady. Come photographers – You are about to see some card magic that will leave you amazed. This very special card magic was thought to me by the Harry Potter himself ancient wizards of Tibet, passed on from generation to generation (from when flash photography was invented). You may say it is a slight of hands, an illusions of the eye, distraction of the mind. But I tell you NO, my friends this is true magic. It is called “The ACE of Bounce”.

Now, does anyone in the audience has a card deck, any card deck will do. Yes sir, step right up. Please tell me where did you by this deck? At your usual K-mart, I see. is there anything special about this very regular Bicycle deck of card? No you say, well let us see. [Read more...]

Two wacky ideas for DIY project

wacky - PEZSo, it turns out that there are some great DIY going on and that people will stop at nothing to get their perfect shot. Be it making a kid laugh or getting the perfect light for your street shot, you guys show me again and again that there is nothing that beats some good ‘ol imagination and handymanism (handy-man-ism).

The following two project diverse in almost everything – amount of technical knowledge, attitude and purpose. They are both the same in the sense that nothing is impossible when you want to get something the right way and willing/wanting to think out of the box. [Read more...]

Super easy hardware store light-backdrop stand

diy_hardware_store_light_stand Tim Boesenkool has sent this awesome idea on how you can make a DIY backdrop stand that reaches all the way to the ceiling, without getting in a fight with your wife.

I have two sturdy light stands but with the work I’m doing it isn’t really enough, and I’m tired of propping reflectors on wobbly chairs etc. Because I don’t have excess room I needed something with a small footprint as well.

So cruising around the hardware store I discovered a great cheap, no assembly required solution and I have two stands for under 50 bucks. [Read more...]

DIY – Reverse Macro Ring

reverse macro ringAs everybody knows, macro lens are expensive. Daniel Kyaw has a great way of creating a macro reverse ring for practically nothing.

Reverse rings can be used to shoot macro shot using non-macro lens like 50mm. We can buy original reverse ring from dealer, the price is ranging from 30~40 US$. And normally they do not have stock in hand since this is slow moving stock item.

Well, so I want to share my idea with you to make your own reverse ring from your old/unused accessories which will cost you about 3-4 US$. [Read more...]

DIY – Make a Free Light Stand Out of an Old Tripod

diy studio light stand
If you need a better way to hold the light you use while taking pictures with the DIY backdrop you just made, or you need a better way to control where light goes for keying out backgrounds in Photoshop, read through this tutorial on how to make a quick and durable (and highly configurable) lightstand out of one of those old, sort-of broken cheap tripods you have sitting in your closet. Even if it’s your main tripod, you should be able to modify it so you can swap it for a lightstand or standard tripod pretty easily. [Read more...]