Gary Fong clear Photojournalist Lightsphere II
clear PJ Lightsphere II
translucent Ghettosphere I
This weekend I futzed around with light modifiers for battery operated speedlites for an upcoming impromptu shoot at a live concert. Normally I’m an available light shooter, but I know that the light at the venue, or the lack thereof won’t help me tonight, so I’ll need some artificial light…
The good old small softbox isn’t cutting it, as it really cuts off too much light and doesn’t diffuse properly either, so I remembered the good old photojournalist’s trick of bouncing the light off of a business card, which is attached with a rubber band to the head of the flash, light bounced off the ceiling, or points slightly upwards and towards the subject. This normally works like a charm, but I heard good things about the Gary Fong Lightsphere, so I gave it a whirl.
The Lightsphere cuts about one stop of light and bounces all over the place, since it’s nothing much than a round rubber cup, covered by a plastic dome. with that being said, the sphere also throws light behind me, as you can see in pic. 1 – note the shadow of the fan.
The PJ-bounce-trick biz cards are a bit small for a proper soft-ish bounce, so I made a bounce card off a 4″x6″ postcard, which looked somewhat unprofessional – which led me to cutting a sheet of 8.5″x11″ cardboard stock in half and cut off some corners, just like so:
Ghettosphere I diagram – half a sheet of 8.5″x11″ cardboard
wrap the whole thing around and fix with a rubber band or a piece of tape… Ghettosphere I on Speedlite 430EX
With the Ghettosphere I was able to turn the flash down from 1/16th to 1/32, which a) allows for more
natural available light and b) will save on batteries and recycle time. Or in turn, I could leave the flash’s setting where it is and increase the shutter speed by one stop to lessen motion blur.
My comparison is not 100% fair, as the Lightsphere is the clear PJ version with an inverted dome and my ghettosphere is semi-translucent cardboard and the bare head bounced off a low ceiling – and that’s probably why the light is somewhat softer, but see for yourselves if it’s worth saving a few bucks… or if you need a bounce card on a whim… or if you just want to play around… or…
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