Our Italian reader Ale (who recently commented on DPTnT on this post) has been working on an interesting DIY project (Italian) for more than a year. From what I could read with the help of Google Translation, it started as prototype transmitter/receiver built using Microchip PIC16F690 demo boards that had functions similar to the RadioPopper PX system. Basically, the transmitter picks up the light pulses from popup flash of a Nikon camera in commander mode then sends the signal over radio frequency waves. The receiver then duplicates the signal at the infrared sensor window of the remote flashe. The benefits of such CLS-via-radio system over the original infrared-based Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWL) communication are no line-of-sight limitation, longer range, and more reliable operation. Read More…

Posted in DIY Photography, Photography DIY on April 15th, 2010. 1 Comment.

If you haven’t seen it, here is the original post about the Smart Optical Slave Flash Trigger (SOSFT) prototype built on an Arduino platform. Since I need to free up the Arduino Duemilanove board for other purposes and want to test the trigger in more practical situations, I decided to build it on a small perfboard I found in RadioShack. Read More…

Posted in DIY Photography, Photography DIY on March 5th, 2010. 3 Comments.

The built-in flash on your DSLR camera has many limitations such as short effective flash range, fixed coverage, etc. It may also be limited by the lens you use and the type of photography you want to do. One problem is that the light coming out of the flash may be blocked by the lens (or lens hood) when shooting subject at close range. That’s exactly what happened to a flickr user:

I’m having this problem of having shadows on my pictures whenever I take shots which is close-up and having less light. So I go with my built-in flash on my Nikon D90. I always use my hood lens for protection but I’m having these shadows bellow my pictures. What should I do? Should I change my hood lens or just remove it when there is less light? I’m using a 18-200mm lens and the hood lens that comes with it is pretty big. Please help. I need some tips.

Many others responded with suggestions to take off the lens hood (will help to a certain extend) or get an external flash. Indeed, an external flash such as Nikon SpeedLight SB-400, SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and the macro photography centric R1C1, are great light sources for creative photography especially when used off-camera. It would be very easy to avoid the lens or lens hood shadow. Read More…

Posted in Photography DIY on April 21st, 2009. 1 Comment.

President Obama’s speech last week was excellent but it wouldn’t fix the global economy overnight. So for all the photographers who suffer from gear lust but still wise enough to refrain from spending the limited cash from who-knows-when-it-stops paychecks, DIY photography gear is a good option, especially when 1) it saves money, 2) it is as good as you can buy, 3) the details have all been prepared for you.

Karl Zemlin has created a very detailed instruction for building a mini softbox for your speedlight flash units. PDF templates for both large and small versions of the mini softbox are available for Nikon SB-600, Nikon SB-800, and Vivitar 285

What are needed on your part? Not much:

  • Materials (a shopping list is provided)
  • 3 hours to kill
  • Access to a printer (print the templates)
  • The ability to follow instructions

For American readers:  When printing the PDF templates, use appropriate paper sizes. Based on the dimensions, Letter for A4 and Ledger/Tabloid for A3 should be good replacements. Make sure you don’t re-size it when printing.

Want to show off yours or need some help? Here is the flickr discussion thread …

Posted in Photography DIY on March 1st, 2009. No Comments.

Plastic milk jug for the shell, a piece of packaging material for the reflection liner, some gaffers tape, rubber bands, and some tissue paper – these are all you need to make this DIY diffuser. See more pictures of this setup and a test shot. The result is not bad at all for for this easy do-it-yourself (DIY) portable softbox.

Posted in Photography DIY, Photography Lighting on October 2nd, 2007. No Comments.

Cannot afford a real ring flash? Check out this DIY ultra-cheap diffuser.

Posted in Photography DIY on September 25th, 2007. No Comments.

If you are not happy with the available digital photo frames on the market, or simply enjoy DIY stuff, how about build your own? Here is a great looking DIY photo frame. Hint: not for faint-hearted. 😉

Posted in Miscellaneous, Photography DIY on August 4th, 2007. No Comments.

Previously I had a post titled Cheap and simple diffuser for macro photography. Here are a couple of cheap and easy DIY projects for softbox I found on Flickr.

  • Project #1. Just a box covered with tracing paper. Check out the example photos using this setup.
  • Project #2. Similar to the first one but with silver metalized tape (better than aluminum foil) to improve light reflection.
Posted in Photography DIY on July 27th, 2007. No Comments.
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