No-Tech lighting augmentation for small subjects

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Answering a request by another “strobist”-type to answer a cryptic tag left on one of my latest flickr images, I may as well include you in the audience, eh?

soft pinks, crisp light:

Dam Amble - Hibiscus

And here’s the rig:

water panel
cut from a gallon water jug, you can get two of them, at least



I use this rig hand-held, tethered on a coiled cord, iTTL, or manual, and can hold it to put the light wherever I want it within arm’s reach. If I’m using it on a small subject, I can get pretty soft wrap around light by using it close to the subject. If I want it a little more contrasty/harder, I can back it off so the diffusion panel is smaller in relation to the subject size. Using can be a tad tricky when augmenting available light at slow shutterspeeds, since it’s more difficult to handhold the Camera steady with one hand, while positioning the flash, too, but the trade off in spontaneity is worth it, sometimes.

How it works is pretty self explanatory, but two things about these appeal to me;

a) fits into a pocket.. either hip pocket, or camera bag pocket

b)no-tech.. the small “tab” is cut to slide into the stow-away slot for the built-in diffusion panel of the Nikon SB-x00 flash.. so nothing needed to attach it.

oh.. and

c) can be used as reflector or as diffuser, depending on which way you want to turn the flash.

I’ve not ever taken readings to see which way gets the most light to the subject, when shooting in the outdoors where there are no walls, etc, to add bounced roomlight. I’ll let you worry about details such as that.

Here’s a bonus image, also made with the above:

Dam Amble - Mimosa and Ant


Published by

Wayne Upchurch

For years, as a “professional ogler” (a newspaper staff photographer), I simultaneously explored photography as craft/process/medium in its own right. The photojournalism work –credentials and mindset– got me into (and out of) places I would certainly never have had access to on my own. I was also practicing the discipline of getting a picture where there didn’t appear to be one and getting it Finished in a timely manner, to professional standards. I also learned to create imminently readable images despite poor reproduction in a small size. Though it took me several years to get this, the value of making photos that illustrated something already laid out in the story was suddenly Not Enough, and I began to make assignment pictures that added dimensions not already in the writing, or better Yet, raised questions so that the reader would go to the story for more answers. Having gained more than dreamt of, when starting out, I left to pursue my own personal photography, mounting exhibits along the way. I also worked with commercial photographer friends doing studio product photography, and making headshots for actors. Later, I also helmed a Public Radio “spacemusic” program, and acted in a Wilmington, NC drama company. I put the cameras away for a few years, to finish shedding the habit of self-limiting my identity as just “Photographer”, and can now pursue personal pleasure and expression through the freedom that digital imaging offers. Sharing photos on Flickr and participating locally in meetups and outings has renewed a passion for making new images and for sharing the process with others. For some time, I’ve found myself writing detailed comments on other people’s photos, as well as thoughts and pet ideas about photography, in general.

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