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Fong Shui

dudler

Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Fong Shui

18 Feb 2021 6:36AM   Views : 376 Unique : 245

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eBay is my downfall: all it takes is coming across something in the course of (usually) writing a blog, and Iím off. If thereís a cheap one on offer, Iíll get it Ė the plus side is that it often provides a new blog a week or two later.

In this case, it was the mention somewhere of Gary Fong. Who? An American entrepreneur and former photographer, who found that on-camera flash gives rather ugly shadows (who knew?) and made himself a modifier to stick on his flashgun to soften the light. It attracted interest, and he started to sell it: a business was born, and he appears not to have looked back since.

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I have to say that my reaction to the hoo-ha in the professional press when the Gary Fong Lightsphere appeared was that this was an overpriced accessory, and irrelevant to my needs, because I wasnít shooting professional social pictures. But times have changed, and I found a ĎJournalistí model for a tenner. Why not give it a go?

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So I paid, and it arrived today. Pretty robust: a soft clear plastic funnel, almost big enough to fit over the front of my Godox flashgun, with a white hemisphere that clips into the top. The light goes up, hits the white plastic, and goes in all directions. The results are remarkably soft, and reliable Ė a dark ceiling doesnít suddenly make bounce flash impossible.

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Iíve met similar things before: the metal holder for a piece of white card that clips round a Vivitar 285 gun does a similar job, but with less subtlety. Itís relatively easy to work out what the light will do Ė no chance with Mr Fongís device! But the proof of any pudding is in the eating, and the results look fine. The light still isnít ultimately subtle, but itís not bad at all Ė especially from a simple device.

The current iteration is lighter, attaches so firmly that you can lift the camera, lens and a tripod by the diffuser Ė and as Gary F points out, itís all made in the USA. If you do that sort of shooting, itís a simple way to make your results (and yourself) look great.

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Comments

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Feb 2021 6:42AM
Sincere apologies for three pictures of me in the blog today: I took comparison shots of Mrs D, but she seemed reluctant to have them put on the internet. And she's asked me for help with cutting her hair.

Thanks to Paige Antonia for the last two images, before and after shots showing what the Gary Fong difference is in a portrait, shot as part of a remote session: after I'd taken pictures of her, we reversed the connection, so that she could find out about the pros and cons of using a camera across the ether. We'd tweaked the arrangements from the first time we shot (look HERE if you want more about the first session).

The mirror shot shows just how silly you look holding a camera with flashgun and Fong diffuser on it. Or, at least, how silly I look.
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
27 Feb 2021 3:53PM
I was doing a piece for a local paper a decade back, Canon 40D, with 550 EX on top, with a Stofen cube to help kick some light forward.

One of the family I was photographing told me he was embarrassed by his diffuser. It was a 1 litre milk bottle cut to fit. He said he wished he had a proper one like mine. Wouldn't mind he was using a 5D and L lens.

I asked him to do a comparison with my official one, and his milk bottle. Obviously the larger bottle gave softer light.

Sometimes simple, cheap answers work.
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