Shot with the Gary Fong Cloud flash diffuser

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Gabriel, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Gabriel

    Gabriel TPF Noob!

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    For some of the projects I have in mind, I will need a diffuser for my 580EX. After some research, I settled on Gary Fong's famous diffuser attachments. I wanted to test this and my "new" film camera, so I arranged a brief shoot with a local model. Here are a couple of shots from the shoot, no editing of any kind save for a resize. These are digital images shot with my Canon 40D.

    I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with it. I can do a lot with this, just have to fine tune the exposures now and then (we were really just flying through outfits, trying to shoot before the sun climbed up too high).

    [​IMG]
    1/60th, f/4, ISO 160.

    [​IMG]
    1/100th, f/9, ISO 100.
     
  2. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    NIce!
     
  3. ssnxp

    ssnxp TPF Noob!

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    Nice, do you have more of this set outdoors? I want to get the Fong collapsible, but I'm not convinced of it's use outdoors yet..
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    VERY NICE.
    Just wondering why you'd use Fong's outdoors (especially second shot) where you're loosing a LOT of light?
     
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I would get the model away from the wall, there's a nasty shadow you can see around her outline, and it's really noticeable between her legs. With a single light source, it's kind of hard to kill such shadows. About your only option is to move the subject away from the wall, or use multiple lights that are more defused.

    In shot #2 I don't see where the flash did much of anything for you except to put a catch light in her eyes. :)
     
  6. Gabriel

    Gabriel TPF Noob!

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    Thanks.

    Most of the shots are more of the same, but here's another one from a different angle:

    [​IMG]

    What instance do you think the diffuser might disappoint you in? Dappled lighting, shade, etc.? Mine came with an inverted dome for direct, fill-in flash. It has its limitations but I consider it a grand improvement over no diffusion.

    Are you referring to shooting in the shade, instead of in direct sunlight? Sort of as a test, and also because the model showed up late (though she called on the way) and we lost an hour of the really good light. The sun was getting too high already so I turned her away from it. Normally, I'd fill it in with a reflector, but then how would I test the Fong? :D

    I will actually be using it mostly indoors, but I already tested it on myself for that - and I'm not posting those shots, lol. The least amount of photos of me floating around, the better... But if you've ever put some gift-box tissue over your flash when shooting indoors, the results are similar, but much better.

    I've no idea why you're calling that shadow "nasty," it's not objectionable at all. It gives depth to the image, without it the picture would look one-dimensional, and it adds definition to her body without being intrusive. I'd understand if there was a black outline around her head or every contour of her body, but there isn't. Either it's a matter of taste, or you're nitpicking :confused: And it's hard to lean against a wall when you're a couple of feet away from it... I'm not happy with the bend of her legs (maybe that's what looks odd to you too?), and I can probably find a better image in the set, but I wanted to throw these up here just to share my findings.

    Shot #2 uses flash as fill, to make the skin tone pop, and give the other colors a little more saturation.. and to add those little catchlights that make the viewer have to look at those powerful eyes. I use flash outdoors as a habit, it gives an image more vibrant colors. Try it sometime. I used to hate flash when I first started shooting, now I would hate to be without it.
     
  7. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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    I have to agree with inTempus: the shadow detracts from the image and makes it look poorly lit.

    Move the model away from the wall. She doesn't even look as if she's leaning against it anyway.
     
  8. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    very nice - not nasty!
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Actually, the shadow to the discerning eye is objectionable in most cases. It's heavy and it's generally not a good thing.

    The whole reason people buy devices like the Fong is to get rid of such shadows.

    I know a little something about flash photography. I use a flash for almost every shot. Follow one of my links in my signature line to see some examples.

    Your shot in #2 likely would have "popped" more if you had used a simple white reflector vs. the Fong. The Fong in direct sunlight does very little to illuminate your subject as it's blasting the majority of it's light everywhere but at the subject. It's designed for indoor use where you have walls and ceilings around the subject that bounce light at it from all different directions to kill shadows like you see in the first picture.

    If you get right up on top of your subject and point the flash head directly at the subject with the Fong attached it can behave something like a softbox by defusing the light bit, but it's not exactly ideal as you still have a lot of wasted light going all over the place. There are better tools for shots of this type.
     
  10. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Hehe. Telling Tharm to try using flashes. That's a funny one! :lol: (No offence intended, but it is kinda funny.)

    Anyway, I agree. Harsh shadows aren't so cool. What's going on in these shots is glamour/fashion, and generally (ish) hard shadows really don't look good. Sometimes hard shadows are definitely sought though; take a look at McNally's work. He uses hard shadows to really add definition to an image.

    And I maintain that Fong outdoors = silly. Most of your light gets wasted. Direct flash would be preferable, even. Just pull out the wide-angle diffuser to spread it out more. Or an umbrella. Umbrellas can work quite nicely outdoors...as long as they don't turn into a bloody sail. :lmao:
     
  11. ssnxp

    ssnxp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again! I'd like something for an all purpose use, and I figured the Fong wouldn't be great outdoors. I was thinking about using the Chrome Dome inside of it to 'kick' the light forwards, though.

    But the more I think about it, the less likely I would be to use ON camera flash outdoors. I'd probably use the Fong indoors (not a studio), where I can't lug around an umbrella or something.

    Thanks again!
     
  12. Gabriel

    Gabriel TPF Noob!

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    Some of you are missing the point, I think - of course, a reflector would be better, but I took this girl out to the beach to test the Fong diffuser, along with a film camera. These pictures aren't meant to blow your mind, they're just meant to show me - and now, you - what the Fong will do in "outdoor" mode, i.e., in daylight, with the flash pointing straight at the subject. In a better lighting situation - around sunrise or sunset, when I normally shoot, and not at 9AM - and some fine-tuning, I think it will be an interesting tool to use for some shots.

    The best fill flash is the 580EX at low power, no diffusion, on a cord (usually have it on a Flip bracket, or handheld), for just a little pop. But compared to an E-TTL burst, in the shade, the Fong wins.

    Its primary purpose, though, is for indoor use, with some bounce. I'll be shooting some environmental portraits around a specific theme, and I think many of the people will want to be photographed inside their homes.

    As for the shadow, I now have three or more people telling me it's there, so in that case, I'll have to play with the monitor settings to see if the problem is on my end. Because I still don't see anything save for a medium shadow, mostly down by her lower body. I don't see anything I'd even think of calling "harsh." Hey, maybe it's me and not inTempus (and the others) :confused:

    InTempus, I've seen your work before and figured you might have figured out how to use a flash by now. But you remarked that all I got out of the flash on #2 were some catchlights. Consider that the shot was done with the sun behind her right shoulder, no reflector, in E-TTL. It's more than just catchlights. Obviously, as stated above, a reflector would do wonders for this shot, but it's not exactly a conceptualized image that I'd include in my book - I think any photographer that has shot swimwear has a shot just like this.

    Hell, I'm not even adding any images to the fashion and beauty portfolio anymore, I love shooting pretty girls but it's lost its meaning for me (if it ever had any). I'm going into something very different now.
     

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