Homemade diffuser

In the hunt for better lighting for macro photography I’ve made a homemade flash diffuser. A flash diffuser is a “device” (in lack of a better word) that spreads the light from the camera’s flash. A problem when working with macro is that you’re usually having the camera’s lens very close to the subject, blocking the light from the flash. When the light from the flash hits the diffuser (which is often mounted just around the lens opening) it spreads so it doesn’t only go straight ahead but also spreading down towards the subject in front of the lens.

Anyway, after this brief intro, here’s my diffuser:

It’s made from two pieces of paper (could’ve done it with one, really, in retrospect), a screw used to fasten a reserve button on my pants, and some spaghetti. I used the screw before I figured I could use spaghetti.. anyway. The spaghetti is there only to stiffen up the paper so it won’t just bend as paper usually do. Then I’ve cut a hole for the lens. And here it is mounted:

So here’s the big question: Does it work?

The answer: Hell yeah, it does.

Consider this image of a grain of rice:

This was taken with the diffuser mounted.

Now, when I took it off, this was the result:

As you can see, the lens blocks the majority of light. There is only a very small amount of light bouncing off other surfaces that makes the rice grain in the last picture visible at all.

Both pictures were taken at the exact same camera settings, same lighting, same object and same background (one of my lens caps).

Also, these two pictures were taken at a magnification FAR from the maximum I can get… which means the mounted lens was quite short. To increase magnification I’d have to mount an extension tube or  a second lens, and a longer lens blocks even more light, at the same time as the sensor gets less light overall. This would result in a even greater difference between using only flash, and using a flash + diffuser.

Anyway, I hope this may interest anyone at all. Getting usable macro photos for no money at all (assuming you’ve already got a camera) is very satisfying :)

Macro smackro

For some  time I’ve been experimenting a bit with macro photography as you might have seen on my flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hallgeirl). A technique I’ve read about earlier is about actually reversing the lens of the camera – that is, put the lens’ front end towards the camera with its butt pointing at the subject. Today I tried it out a bit, and I’m amazed how huge magnifications I get.

Here’s a couple of samples. The blurring is due to me not being able to hold the front lens steady, and the redicilous narrow depth of field – it’s hard when working on this scale. The items may also be slightly out of focus because, again, it’s hard to hold things steady at this scale.

This is actually one of the millimeter marks of a ruler. The whole picture spans about 2 millimeters. Given that the sensor size is about 21mm in width gives a magnification of over 10:1.

And let me present to you a grain of salt. The picture is not cropped (just scaled down). You can also see the reflection from the surface.

I realize the sharpness isn’t all good. This is due to the fact that I manually had to hold the lens in front of the camera while taking the picture… and, because I had to do that, I couldn’t use a smaller aparture (and thus I get a ridicilous narrow depth of field). However, I’ve now ordered reverse lens adapters from ebay (for 35 NOK each, around 5-6 USD). I’ll be sure to get back with some more goodies when I get those parts. ;)

PS: Just in case you’re interested, the equipment used is:

  • Canon EOS 450D DSLR
  • Canon 55-250mm lens attached to the camera (Fully extended to 250mm of course)
  • Canon 18-55mm kit lens at 18mm reversed and handheld in front of the 55-250mm.

This should give a theoretical magnification of 250/18 = approx. 13.9X. That is, something 1 millimeter in size in real life should be imaged as about 13.9mm on the image sensor (which is a little over half the sensor width of my camera).

Soon vacation!

Ah, only 3 days left before my last exam for the summer. I can’t wait. I have about a week of vacation before I start working at Software Innovation for a few weeks. I figure I’ll take my REAL vacation in the US, the month before I start school.

And I have to recommend a flash game: http://www.kongregate.com/games/inXile_Ent/fantastic-contraption Brilliant stuff.

Also, I had the weirdest dream tonight. So I was on a train, right… but suddenly, it ran off a waterfall. Thankfully I brought my parachute. As did all the others (although some of them didn’t open, sorry, really nothing I could do)… It all ended well.

Japan Part II

It seems I can’t sleep at the moment. So what better time to write part II of my Japan blog entry. (Yeah, it seems the jet lag has been reversed :P ). I’m sorry it took me so long to continue this, the last couple of weeks I’ve either had crazy jet lag and went to bed at 9, or been sick and not up to writing much because of that.


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Home sweet home

To Japan and back

Yesterday I got back from Japan after a 20 hour trip. And since I got up around 6:30 Japan time, and got home around 22:00 norwegian time (which is like… 29:00 (or 5:00 as we call it) Japan time) I didn’t care much for transferring pictures and blogging much. Today I woke up around 7 because of jetlag, but at least I got 7 hours. ;)

Anyway, this will probably be a long, long post, with a few pictures here and there. I won’t of course publish ALL the pictures, there’s about 1250 of them, but they who ask may receive.

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Tokyo, here I come!

In about 24 hours I’m in a plane which will take me to Oslo, where I leave for København, then for the 11 hour trip to Tokyo, Japan! I’m very excited, it’s going to be so incredibly fun.

Anyway, I probably won’t be posting much when I’m there, but I’ll try to bring picures back :P

Have a nice easter, everyone!

Busy busy

There’s quite a lot to do these days. Tomorrow I’ve got a midterm exam in compilers. I can’t say I feel very ready but hey… who does. :P Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, I get a weekend at home in about a week when I go off to my visa interview at the american embassy. Why they require people to show up in person for a 3 minute interview I don’t know but I guess rules are rules.

THEN… the 19th (in just over 2 weeks) we’re off to Japan! I can’t wait, it’s going to be awsome^1000! Plus a little more.

Exciting days. Little time. And that’s the way the cookie crumbles. ;)