Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I started to really enjoy photography while "working" for the Dordt College Diamond (student newspaper) lo these many years ago. They had (perhaps foolishly) given me a 35mm SLR and a key to the dark room. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had taken some photos on black & white film, and I was determined to develop them myself. A yellowed and moisture-warped page of directions, no doubt typed (on a real typewriter) sometime during the Nixon administration, was taped up on the dark room wall. Looked easy enough. Thus, after a little of this and a little of that and a little stirring and waiting and rinsing, I had some film with recognizable images on it. In reverse of course. Then I moved next door to make prints under the eerie red lights. Magic.

They turned out pretty badly--poor focus, and some inexplicable (to me) white spots here and there--but what fun. And I had figured it out myself, which made me feel pretty swell. I never did anything in a darkroom again, but I suddenly found myself fascinated with photography, and I bought my own Canon SLR later that year. I still have it. But now, I have this digital SLR on loan from my dear Uncle Brad. (Thankyouthankyouthankyou!) And I'm trying to learn how to be a better digital photographer. It's very freeing not to have to worry about how much film I'm using up, and I love being able to edit things myself on the computer. So I'm still having fun.

I tell you all this to give you some background to why I made this contraption:

It is made out of a sheet of card stock, an old cosmetics mirror, and some Scotch tape. (I feel like MacGyver.) You see, I couldn't justify spending the cash on an external flash, since this is just a hobby, but one day I saw this thing called a Light Scoop advertised, which creates the effect of a bounce flash by reflecting the light up and off the ceiling. But I couldn't even justify spending the cash on that either--especially when I thought I could make something like it myself. So here's a before and after:

Before: Notice the harsh shadows behind the heads and the direct angle of the light that screams, "Cheap on-camera flash!"

After: Much softer light and absence of annoying background shadows.

Thank you. That is all.


Paula said...

That's really cool! I have been so disappointed in my camera lately, I should try this fancy trick!

Erika said...

That is hilarious. I think Adam will love to try and make that. He has also made photo display boxes so that when photographing "still life" or something it looks all fancy and perfect. It's made out of a cardboard box and tissue paper.

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