Monday, March 29, 2010

Post-shoot post

Recently I did my first real test of the off-camera flash. I had gotten Aino to agree to helping me out, so she stood model for me as I snapped away, playing around with light settings and homemade modifiers.

It was really exciting to see the results from it, and choosing ten for postprocessing proved to be very hard since I had many favourites...

Looking through them my eyes really stopped on the ones with the apple. The little piece of red in the image really gives a counter-balance to the gray clothing and blond hair.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Camera bag

Having gotten the flash cord and light modifier made, there was one more DIY I wanted to do: a camera bag.

The bag I had been using so far felt a bit too big to just carry around the camera in, and the extra space inside made it bump around a bit too much (which caused the lenscap for the 50mm to come off on many occasions, even though that was a really bad lenscap).

So scouting the fleamarkets once again (actually I got it at the same time as the flowerpot), I found a good candidate for 50 cents.

First, a plan! The original plan included making foam tubes for the lenses to slide into, but that proved to be too bothersome.
Then to connect the pieces, using cable ties.
Main structure completed.

Then after adding a couple of separating walls, we are magically transported to a finished state! (Took no more pictures from building process...) The bag, in all its glory. Perhaps not so pretty, but it works.
Opening it up, we see the flash on the left side. On the right under the camera is a space where the 50mm fits nicely.
All this in one little bag.
Now I just want a little pouch for the flash cables and hot-shoe adapter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


After the last project I was quite worked up and wanted to try making some sort of light-modifier. Scouting the fleamarkets, I found an old plastic flower-pot for 1€. Coupled with some aluminium foil and adhesive, see-through book plastic (found around my parents house), what would become of it..?

Just before I got to a stage where I couldn't easily take pictures anymore.
I had decided that the easiest way to do it was to use several smaller pieces of foil, that I then put on top of the adhesive side of the plastic, with enough adhesive around it to fit nicely into the pot.

Unfortunately I hadn't really taken into account the curving nature of the pot, so I ended up with a real headache of uneven surfaces and bare patches where the dark plastic reared it's ugly green head.

After a couple hours of caffeine-fueled cutting, pasting and many botched pieces of foil, I finally had some sort of result...

At least it shines up to the point-and-shoot flash.
Then eagerly on to the test shots even though it was way past midnight.

It's far more isolated than the umbrella, which is what I was going for, so at least it sort of hit the goal.

Friday, March 19, 2010

PC sync 3.5mm mod

Having gotten my flash and PC sync cord, I decided to modify it to use 3.5mm audio cords, of which I already had a couple of meters extension.

First of all cutting open the PC sync, finding two separate cords.

Then peeling those and fitting into the 3.5mm stereo females. Didn't know the "official" way to connect, but I knew that as long as connect the same cables to the same connectors I'd be good to go.

No pics from the soldering process since it's hard to hold a camera in your mouth.

Then the cover screwed on. The little pieces of white seen are pieces of adhesive tape I put to cover the sleeve connector (tip, ring, sleeve); I had accidentally left too much cable uncovered and was afraid it could short out if it touched the sleeve.


Now to test it out...

It works! Holding the cable.

Long reach!

Mirror shot!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waiting for the light

Wherein the lead character once again narrowly escapes a great set-back to his plans and ends up spending more than expected.

So as a follow-up to my previous indecision on which way to follow, I ordered a flash. Of course this was not without complications.

From the start my mind was set on an off-camera flash setup, so I was primarily looking at those I could use as either as a dumb optical slave or with an E-TTL cord of the longer variant. Knowing that the Canon Speedlites usually don't function as slaves other than in Canon's own wireless system I started looking quite quickly at third-party flash units, and my eyes stopped on the Metz 48 AF-1.

Looking at it longingly, I browsed to the website of the online store I was going to order it from. Then, a couple of weeks before I figured I would have enough funds to buy it the price was raised by about 40€. Bummer.

But I went ahead with it anyway, seeing as this was the flash my mind was set on. To accompany it I also ordered a 48" silver reflective umbrella. After a few days of waiting I then got an e-mail from the store saying that the estimated time for the umbrella to become in stock had been changed from 1-2 weeks to 3-6 weeks... This was not satisfying, as I had the money and wanted the stuff as soon as possible to start playing around with it, so I looked around at the other umbrellas they had.

Now, I'm usually the kind of person to let my mind rest once I have something, but with lighting I want to know as much as possible so I kept reading up on flash units, and while wondering what to do with the umbrella, I found out that the Metz flash unit did not work as a dumb slave. While it said it would function as slave on the Metz product page, they intended for it to be used as a slave in a wireless setup, one with either the Metz 58 or the Speedlite 580EX II as master to trigger it. This was upsetting for my plans, but somewhat of a stroke of luck seeing as I had not paid the order yet and could easily cancel it.

So I quickly regrouped. I needed a flash with dumb-slave capability, as the E-TTL cord was not something I could get immediately after the flash and I wanted to get going off-camera. Looking around at flashes in the same price-range as the Metz 48 I came across the Nissin Di866. A very capable unit, it would seem, with a feature-set out-classing the Metz 48 and the Canon Speedlite 430EX II, placing it somewhere between the 430 and the 580. Somewhat inflated guide numbers, which can be expected from most flashes to some degree, but still cheaper than the Speedlite 430 while still having the dumb-slave option, and as a bonus having a PC sync port...

I was familiar with the PC sync port from having read many of the articles on the Strobist, so I knew what it was and what I could do with it. It would take more work than a E-TTL cord, but it would be much cheaper and easier to replace and/or extend if I needed to.

So with that decided I made an order for the Di866. But I still had the umbrella conundrum, so I looked at what they had in stock ready for shipping, and came across the 60" version of the silver reflective umbrella. Measuring up 60" on my measuring tape I came to the conclusion that it was really fucking huge, then I ordered it anyway.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010