13 July 2011

Macro Flash: a Homemade Diffuser

I just bought a new macro lens (Nikon 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor). Stephanie and I have been having a blast using it to take spider photos. We've been getting some nice ones, like this photo of a Pelegrina aeneola jumping spider taken last weekend at Wood Camp, up Logan Canyon.

As happy as I am with this shot, I don't really like the sharp shadows under the spider. I think it looks too obvious that a flash was used (which it was, of course). So yesterday I bought some cardboard and some vellum from the USU bookstore, and tonight I made my own flash diffuser. Sure, you can buy a pre-made flash diffuser. They're not too expensive - starting around $5. But I didn't see any that were as large as I would like them to be, so I made my own.

I should have taken some pictures of the process of making the diffuser, but I just didn't think of it. So, here's a photo of the finished product:

And here's a photo of the finished product mounted on my flash.

Now, instead of having harsh shadows, I get a soft, even light - almost like shooting under an overcast sky. Compare these two shots of a key. Can you tell which shot used the diffuser and which one didn't? All the other shooting conditions were the same.

Finally, here's a photo of a Platycryptus jumping spider on the wall of our house taken with the new diffuser. Check out that natural-looking light!

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