So I finally received a new diffuser system for my macro work which I'm really excited to start to use in the field. I ordered this from the land down under and it has taken a good 6 weeks to get here through all the barriers that coronavirus is putting up at the moment as well as customs etc.
For those of you who don't know about the benefits of diffusing light, taking a single point of light such as that from a flash and firing it into a diffusing material spreads the light better, removing harsh shadows and giving a much more pleasant image. A good example of a diffusing material that we all know are clouds.
On a sunny day with no clouds, the sun is harsh and casts shadows, causing high levels of contrast that are not desirable in photographs. If the clouds cover the sun, they bounce the rays of light around and turn into a sky-filling source of light as opposed to a single point. This causes the light to come from all angles, filling all the shadows in and producing a flatter, all-encompassing kind of light.
In macro you can go one step further due to the small size of the subject and completely wrap the subject in light. This is where the first part of this kit comes in
The bonnet is a small piece of semi-transparent white material that you can wrap around the end of your lens. Firing light into this will cause it to come from all around the subject as they are so close to the lens.
You can see that I've wrapped it around the lens hood for my macro lens. I had to do this as the focus ring on the Sigma 105 is right at the end of the lens and I couldnt put it directly on the lens body itself. It turned out to be quite a good move anyway, as this makes it dead easy to remove and replace when needed.
Here you can see how the bonnet wraps around the subject which would be just 5-10cm from the end of the lens.
The second item in the kit is the reflector. This comes with a velcro strap to wrap it around your flashgun. It also has 2 bendy rods inside it which allow you to direct all of the light down towards the subject.
The diffusion sheet.
This final diffusion sheet is mounted between the reflector and the bonnet to give another layer of light diffusion and remove any hotspots that come down from the reflected flashlight. It straps around the hotshoe and velcros onto the end of the reflector This is actually a lot more opaque that it looks in this image but the final set up shows that it's pretty white.
Here is an image of the completed setup on the 90D with the Sigma 105 and a Yongnuo speedlite.
And I found this dead honey bee on a window sill so this was my first test shot with the diffuser attached. You can tell that the light is wrapping around nicely as there are few shadows, even underneath the bee where my previous setup would definitely cast shadows.
I think the only potential problem with so many layers of diffusion and reflection is the loss of light getting to the subject. This might mean powering up the flashgun a bit more and draining the batteries quicker, but it is a sacrifice that is easily justifiable with the improvements in results.
The kit is available on the below link for about 60$ AUS or $40 US plus delivery and customs charges. Well worth it in my opinion though.
Looking forward to getting some images in the field with it soon