I want to do more time-lapse photography without having to trigger the camera manually. I also didn’t want to spent over $100 for a professional model, so I built this one for about $20 (not including the empty Altoids tin). It’s a snug fit between the electronics, switches, 9V battery and wires, so the rubber bands keep it securely shut.
The switch on the bottom is on/off, other switch is for long or short periods between pictures. The potentiometer varies the time from 3 to 30 seconds (short setting) and 30 seconds to 4:30 minutes (long setting). At the other end is a 3.5mm phone jack that I plug the camera into.
Hopefully I’ll get out and use it tomorrow.
Strobist info: Canon 430EXII into umbrella to left of camera. Tin is resting on ‘custom Lego stand’ on top of white foam core. Exposure bumped up in Lightroom.
Update: First test shot of a sunset posted on Vimeo. Be sure to watch the HD version.
As most of you are now aware, the new Pocketwizard Flex tt5 has comms problems due to the RF noise coming from the Canon 580ex and MK II flashes. To solve the problem, PW started to give away (Free of charge) the new AC5 Soft Shield, however this is only valid for US residentes only. Well, since I dont live in the USA, I started to do my homework and realised that copper actually blocks a big porcentage of the RF noise coming from the flash. So I headed to the local Art Shop (Riot art shop located at Westfieds in Burwood) and got a copper/aluminum sheet for $30 dollars. cut a few pieces and taped it to the flash and BINGO! problem solved. Without this DIY soft shield, I was lucky to get 15 meters distance from the flash, with the soft shield, I stopped testing at around 150mts away (I guess that is plenty of distance for what I want)
This is not a pretty solution, but at least makes me happy, Im now planning to make a sock for it. (will post photos once done) You can see the test Here
I recently had the good fortune to watch a friends copy of the Zack Arias One Light Workshop DVD. An excellent lighting resource, brilliantly presented, that I would thoroughly recommend watching and that is currently at the top of my ‘to buy’ list.
I was particularly taken with the results Zack was getting with a monster Westcott 50 inch soft box. This particular soft box was based on a design I had not come across before and worked like a giant umbrella. The shaft of the umbrella mounted in the umbrella holder of the light stand and the softbox surrounded the flash. The bottom panel had a zip arrangement to allow the flash stand to pass through it and you accessed the flash controls by pulling away a section of the Velcroed in front diffuser.
The fine details of the design were not immediately apparent from the DVD, but a quick search on the internet turned up a blog post that showed the internal working of the soft box in all its glory. The same search also turned up a price from B&H Photo of (a not inconsiderable) US$252.50 along with a shipping fee to Australia of US$54.75. Converted to Australian dollars that came to a grand total of roughly AU$380.00. Someone may sell these directly from Oz, but I had no luck finding them.
So, I figured as long as I could DIY one of these for less than AU$380 I would come out ahead. After a few false starts and a couple of wrong turns I managed to create what I am tentatively calling the ‘Death Star’.
For anyone interested in how I put this together, I have included the build instructions in the comments. Please bare in mind that I was
making this up as I went along prototyping this design so you may want to read all the way to the end before diving in! :)
Please check my stream for some examples of the soft box in use.
A plastic food container with the centre cutout and inserted with a cardboard cylinder.
After having built my own lens hood and mini-softbox (before buying anything) I decided to put a broken umbrella to good use today. I simply taped plain printer paper to the inside, sawed off part of the handle and stuck it in the grip of my tripod.
Working table with all the gear needed to assemble the Black Straws Snoot Grid.
- Black duct tape
- Cereal Box (Any type or any kind)
- Hand full of Black Straws
- Portable flash to try it out later
Here are the direct links to the articles DIY: Black Straws Snoot Grid (Part 1), DIY: Black Straws Snoot Grid (Part 2) and you can also make a colored one DIY: Black Straws Snoot Grid (Colored) of the Lighting Mods articles.
My version of the black straw grid snoot.
Materials used :
- some thick black paper or cardboard
- about 24 black straws (1 straw gets you 3 x 4cm parts)
- super glue
- some tape (black would have been better but hey , these won’t win you a beauty contest)
How its done :
- measure the black cardboard so it wraps around your flash unit
- prefold the paper (don’t glue it yet)
- start cutting the straws
- glue the straws, putting glue on the paper works wonders, work row per row.
- wrap-it and put some tape around for extra strength
- shoot !
Based on the article found at Lighting Mods
I need to buy the second 2x4 translucent panel. I put grooves along the sides of the table so I can create a tunnel for shadowless shooting.
Here is an example where I used the curved panel to create beautiful rim of light.
Light Through Rock - Translucent Granite
OK, my ring flash is finished (apart from the cover) and it works! It cost £1.50 to make here in England, $3 to you guys in the states.
1x Plastic frosted plate (20p)
1x Recycled Cardboard Hanging Basket liner (80p)
1x Black Graphite/Plastic Plant Pot(50p)
1x Sheet of Tin Foil
1x Bit of Cereal Box Card
1). I used a jigsaw to roughly cup the centre out of the plate, then used a circle cutter to drill the perfect circle out of my plant pot.
2). I then cut the bottom out of the cardboard hanging basket liner with a stanley knive and some sandpaper to even to circle out.
3). I used silicone sealant to fix the plate around the lip of the plant pot, this fit nice and snug, you could use some superglue or similar adhesive, because once all the parts are together the plate is pressed up against the lip by pressure anyway, so this is just to make the design more rugged.
4). I then lined the basket and plant pot with tin foil, stuck down with PVA glue I found in the shed.
5). Once dry I pressed the plant pot/plate into the card hanging basket and adjusted the size of the hanging basket hole into the hole thing fit together snug. I then glued the all in place with some extremely heavy duty glue called ‘Mitre Bond’ it is a glue and a fixing spray which hardens the glue in seconds. I used it to glue the black pot to the back of the card basket, and then once that was set (in about 3 seconds!) I sealed the frosted plate to the front of the card basket, all the way around.
6). after the glue had set I silicon sealed the front of the ringflash that I had just glued, in order to protect the inner edge and to tidy up on top of the glue.
7). While this dried I made an adapter the slot into the back of the ring flash and over the on board flash of my Nikon D200. I made this out of cereal box card, lined the inside with tin foil to reflect the light and wrapped it in black electrical tape. I cut a small letterbox shape into the back of the ring flash and secured the adapter in place with the crazy powerful ‘Mitre Bond’ glue. (Note: I added a flap of foil on the end of the adapter that went inside the flash so that it directed the flash light around the ring rather than straight out of the diffusing plate)
8). That’s it! The final weight of the ring flash i approximately 230 grams. In England thats the same weight as a £1.39 bar of Cadburys dairy milk!!
It’s extremely light and extremely well fitting, it hugs around you lenses Nikon mount, especially a Tamron 17-50mm as seen above. It wedges in so well that it doesn’t move at all and it’s so close to the camera’s centre that you can’t feel any weight from the ring flash at all.
The final item is super solid and ridiculously light!
This works well at close range, fantastic for macro and close up work, and turns your on board flash into a usable light when coupled with your expensive SB’s rather than just being a wireless trigger as mine had previously become.
I hope you like it and maybe this design will help some of you create your own cheap ring flashes. All these parts were bought from ASDA in England, they sell these bits in ALL the ASDA’s across the country.
Hope you like it, please check out the final result here: