Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DIY Cardboard Snoot

I had an opportunity to really exploit my DIY cardboard snoot for my flash over the weekend. I have used it a couple of times, mostly in the fairly controlled studio. I had it in my bag when I went to the Majestic theater to watch (and shoot) Pagee Go Go do their upbeat samba music. While the stage is pretty nice with lots of lighting, the band was poorly lit. There was a lot of light on them from behind but not enough on their front. I'm not sure if it was because they were close to the front of the stage, or what, but it was ineffective for photography.

After taking a few shots using my 18-200 optically stabilized Sigma lens, I realized that I was having to be at ISO 800 with a minimum f-stop of 4.5 and a more likely 5.6. That was not going to get me good images without a flash. I have shot them on stage with the flash before, and with good results, but I wanted something different. I thought I would try the snoot and see how it performed in the real world. The answer is that it did pretty well.

In this shot of Reena, I was still at ISO 800 and f/4.5 at 1/20th of a second shutter speeds, but I was not underexposed too much. (OK, let me say right now that a Nikon D3 would solve all my problems!) Still, I love how the flash spot lights her and makes her *pop* out of the gloomy background.

Reena on Stage - Cardboard snoot
Reena on Stage

There is more, so follow the link for the rest of the post.

This shot was one of several of Barry taken in rapid succession. I liked the action in the shot, and the indication of how much the musicians keep an eye one each other for cues. I was fairly close on this shot using a focal length of 29 MM (just a bit wide angle). The tight flash is maybe a bit high for maximum effectiveness.


This one of Kristin gives you a pretty good idea of how far the flash will throw light even with the snoot in place. Note also that it is a pretty tight spot of light even at this distance. I estimate I was at least 20 feet away and perhaps 25.


This next one could have been better without the snoot. I was close enough that the flash would have illuminated all of him rather than just his head.


So, my DIY snoot made of scavenged cardboard and tape really did the trick. It has earned a permanent place in my kit.

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