Home made bounce flash adaptor for Vivitar 285

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Steve Smith, May 7, 2008.

  1. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    As I wanted to experiment with bounce flash (and I have some formal wedding portraits to take this weekend) I decided to make a bounce flash adaptor to use on a fill flash. This is based on the Lumiquest products.

    I have used a sheet of heavy weight gloss inkjet 'photo' paper as the reflector. Laminated to the rear of that is a stiffener made from 0.25mm thick polyester and double sided adhesive. This is all laminated to a dark grey self adhesive 1mm foam similar to that used to replace camera light seals (I have a few acres of this spare if anyone wants any).

    Some strips of the same foam are used as locators to hold the adaptor in the right place and some self adhesive Velcro on the tabs to hold it in place complete the package.

    Oh yes, it helped that I have the use of a laser cutter at work! It could easily be made with a straight edge, a scalpel and a steady hand though.

    I have instructions and CAD files for anyone interested. Send your request to: steve.smith.stuff at gmail dot com (just turn that into a proper e-mail address).

    My thanks to Arigram for giving me the idea of trying out bounce flash.


    Steve.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2008
  2. arigram

    arigram Member

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    It looks very well made, good job!
    I've made some experiments with my LumiQuest Promax system.
    It includes every possible kind of flash light diffuser:
    The base is the 80-20. A bounce like the above, but with holes cut into, as to allow most of the light to pass through to a ceiling and reflect a small amount of it to the subject (80%-20%).
    It has velcro on it so you can attach further accessories:
    With a white "card" it turns to a regular bounce, like your own Steve. It also has gold and silver.
    Plus, you can also cover the front with a soft plastic material to turn it into some kind of softbox.

    My experiments showed that the direct to ceiling and 80-20 are the softest and give out the nicest light. Plus it can give you some soft catchlights.
    Coupled with a strong flashgun and TTL, you don't need to worry much about power loss if you are not pushing your subject matter and have a ceiling above your head.
    If you don't, the white card is good enough, but it sure makes the light stronger and definitely more direct. I don't think I'll need the silver and gold unless I am going for some effect with color film, which would be a rare circumstance.
    The "softbox" doesn't seem to make much difference.
    So, you have three main choices:
    - Direct the whole gun towards the ceiling
    - Direct part of it with a bouncer and part with the ceiling
    - Direct most of it with a bouncer

    Apart from the actual use of the bouncer, it should have a compact and folding
    design so you can carry it always with you.
     
  3. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Steve, nice work!

    I use the white ceiling for bouncing the flash, like arigram said, the illumination is soft and catchlights are better, but not all ceilings are white or low enough. Direct (or indirect) lighting from the camera position will give those starry-eyed catchlights, even when using a light modifier. For everything but faces you made a great tool. For formal wedding portraits I would position the flash unit w/modifier on a separate tripod angled at 45 deg, raised higher than the camera, and use the ceiling bounce (2nd flash unit) at the camera position for fill light.

    Paul
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    In this case I don't have a ceiling as I will be outside (weather permitting). I don't have a flash powerful enough to bounce off of the sky!

    I am hoping for some nice slightly hazy light as we have had here today and to use the flash just to fill in any shadows.

    Would I be right in thinking that I should try to arrange people with the sun to one side at about 45 degrees and have the fill over the other side or possibly just keep it on the hand grip?

    I am not doing a full traditional wedding service - this isn't going to be anything like a traditional wedding!


    Steve.
     
  5. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Use your new gizmo for the fill light straight on from the camera position if your using the sun as the key light from one side. Positioning is all important, sun at a 45 degree angle sounds right - a basic key light position for portraits - then fill in some of the shadows. Practice with the new unit first. Weddings can be stressful at times, I don't do them anymore. You sound like you know what you're doing, good luck!

    Paul
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2008
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Thanks again for the advice. That's more or less what I was planning to do but it's good to have my ideas confirmed.

    When my friend asked me to do this I told him that I decided a long time ago to never do a wedding. My father was a part time wedding photographer and I know how stressful it can be from his stories.

    Anyway, I told my friend that in his case I would make an exception to my 'rule' as he only wanted a few shots after the service and a few more at the reception.

    The ceremony is in a public building rather than a church and the reception is at a local park with a marquee set up.

    To give you an idea of what the day will be like - he is one of this lot: http://www.prom-prom.com/pierotters.html (the one in the middle with a ukulele).

    It's going to be a very theatrical and musical affair. After the 'proper' ceremony which is for close family only there is going to be a mock staged ceremony for everyone else.


    Steve.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Steve:

    If you have a choice, try to find a place where the background is simple, and the people are in the shade.

    "Open Shade" light is soft, but directional, and people are more relaxed (no squinting).

    Open Shade light can be a bit blue, but fill flash will help with that.

    Matt
     
  8. Terry Again

    Terry Again Member

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    Steve,
    Have you had the shoot yet? How did it turn out? Just curious?
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    The wedding I made this for was in May last year. Here are a few pictures:
     

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  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    And a few more:
     

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  11. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I use a 283 and a press photographers bounce card. I use a file card ( does anyone use these for filing anymore?) and bend it at a 45. I then rubber band it on the end of the 283 right at the 45 degree crease.

    If there is a ceiling some bounces off the ceiling, but a big chunk bounces off the white card. Pretty small and cheap.

    Mike
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I found with mine that if I point the flash head straight up, some light bounces off the card and some goes straight up and bounces of the ceiling.

    For outside use where there are no convenient ceilings, I angle the flash head forward a bit and that sends a little bit more light towards the subject.

    The scans I posted earlier are not great as they were quickly done to give the couple an idea of what they were going to get. I am pleased with the actual prints to the point where I didn't mind showing them to my father - a wedding photographer from the early 1960s to the mid 1990s!!

    For anyone who wants to know the technical details:

    Camera: Mamiya RB67 Pro-SD
    Lens: 90mm K/L
    Film: Fuji NPS 160 rated at EI 125
    Flash: Vivitar 285 with flash bounce adaptor as is the subject of this thread
    Exposure: Manual, mainly f11 1/125 with fill flash set to whatever colour automatic setting gave a two stop under-exposure (obviously not for indoor shots).


    Steve.