As long as we're on the subject of flash photography, my friend Quest Couch who owns a company called Lumiquest has come up with a really interesting flash-softening accessory called the Quick Bounce that will be of interest to anyone who shoots portraits with an accessory flash, but especially to those who shoot events or weddings. I'm trying very hard to keep this blog how-to oriented and not product oriented, but this product seems like such a useful idea I thought I would include it. Not to mention that there is a good video to watch!
Lumiquest really transformed the quality of on-camera flash years ago when they introduced a handy little diffuser called the Pocket Bouncer. That device (still a big seller) attaches to your accessory flash and provides a bounce surface that lets you soften the light falling on your subject. Most professionals prefer to bounce off of a white ceiling since the larger the bounce surface the softer the light, but there's rarely a nice low white celing around when you need one. The Pocket Bouncer works great and I wouldn't think of not carrying one, but if you're a wedding or event shooter and you're in one room that does have a ceiling you have to pull the diffuser off, then re-mount it if you go into a darker room without a good reflective ceiling. No big deal, but one more thing to do.
This new invention, the Quick Bounce, from Lumiquest solves that problem because it has little barn doors in the top of the reflector so that if you don't have a good ceiling, you just leave the doors closed and have all the light you need and a nice soft flash. But if you enter a room with a celing, you just pop the doors open and you can bounce about 80% of the light off the ceiling and use about 20% of the surface of the reflector to bounce the rest. It's really a pretty cool invention. Also, the unit mounts to your accessory flash along the narrow axis (you'll see this in the vide0) so that you can switch from a horizontal camera position to a vertical one without having to change the position of the Quick Bounce. Watch the video (just scroll down on that page), you'll see Quest demonstrate it.
By the way, if you don't own an accessory flash but use built-in flash, LumiQuest has another produce called the Soft Screen that mounts right over your built-in flash--kind of a cool and useful (and inexpensive--under $15) accessory.
Speaking of interesting products, I'm going to add a posting on the new Nikon Coolpix P90 camera in the next few days--it has an amazing 24X (equivalent of 26 to 624mm!) time zoom lens. It's not shipping yet, but I'm wondering if I can resist ordering one.
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