Friday Night Lighting…(and a funny)

Normally Frida posts are filled with humor, funny and generally stuff that is trivia to help keep us all grounded in reality and realize that there is more to life with photography. I am starting to get a little of a backlog with the projects I’ve been working on though, so I am goig to lighten the load by one project here today – and that is a DIY lighting project.

Before I continue, the DIY lighting concept is not something that comes easily to me, as I fully admit that I am no lighting pro. If you want pro advice, the best place to go is to Strobist where David Hobby hosts an excellent lighting blog that has become pretty much the place to go for lighting tutorials. What I have learned from that site would take days to rattle off here. So, rather than regale you with all of that, I’ll just say that Strobist has given me new insight into uses for everyday objects.

Here’s the lighting project – a while back David talked on his blog about using household items to create lighting peripherals such as reflectors, bounce lights, light stands, and has been a common theme for quite a while. So, the inspiration for this came from what to use to make your own DIY snoot. A snoot is a device that focuses the light from your flash (which you know of course to take off the camera if you want really good light).

Well, at work I noticed one day that a commercial industrial sized roll of TP had been used and the cardboard roller that it was on was just sitting on top of the paper towel dispenser. I picked it up, looked it over and it seemed to be close to the size of my 550EX flash. I took it home and tried it out – bingo! The only problem was, it really wasn’t long enough. Well, no biggie, I just waited another few weeks and sure enough, another TP roller appeared on top of the towel dispenser. I snaked that one away, and brought them home. A few pieces of scotch tape to attach the two devices together and I was ready for my test shot:


Notice the light leaking through the side though? Well, I decided good old duct tape might be able to fix that. So, a few tears and strips later, and I got this shot:


Looking a lot better now, but now I am noticing a little light seeping through the back end still – any ideas how to eliminate that, or is that there in most snoots? Not sure, but this cost me a grand total of probably 05 ยข of tape. So, I played around with the distance, as David suggests over at the Strobist site, and I finally am happy to announce that this snoot works best at a distance of about 4′ from the subject, and (surprise surprise) at about a 45 degree angle to the subject. I was hamming it up for the camera just to give a little variety while I figured this out, and actually came out of the lighting test with a self-portrait I am not too ashamed of. It’s end-of-week scruff, so that will be gone come Monday, but I thought the lighting effect of a snoot (concentrated light) is pretty useful.


So, there it is – the Friday Night Light experiment. I know it’s late, but better late than never right? Anyone else have any DIY lighting experiments they want to share? If so, all are welcome to join in the comments area. Otherwise, have a great weekend, happy shooting, and watch those apertures! (mine was a little soft – but I think that may have been oof, not dof softness)…

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Fridays always feature a WTD cartoon, so here’s my fave of the week:

What The Duck, Monday April 14th

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