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Putting the fluence on it


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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Putting the fluence on it

24 Dec 2021 10:27AM   Views : 390 Unique : 256


I remember magnetic soap holders from when I was a child. I canít remember what a child was when I first saw one, but they always fascinated me. I love them. Thereís an neatness about them, about the idea of not having soap thatís soft and messy, and keeping the area round the taps clear. The fact that it uses some primary school science makes a magnetic soap holder even more wonderful.

Thereís only one problem, and that is the way that itís really easy to throw away that special little metal washer (howís that for nominative determinism) with the ridge on the underside to dig into the soap. I was probably in my teens when I saw the repair shop and fix for this Ė using the metal cap from a beer bottle to replace the washer.

Now if youíve ever tried this, youíll realise that itís not quite as simple as it seems. You need a flat bottle top, and if itís going to go far into the soap you need a hole in the middle to let the air out. You also need the serrations round the edge to be more or less at right angles to the top surface, rather than flaring out. This means that you need to remove the cap from the bottle very carefully so that itís not folded in the middle, and so that the serrations are not flared out too much.

Thatís quite a big ask. It means that you have to remember what you're going to do with the cap, and opened a beer bottle slowly. This, as Robert the robot used to say, does not compute. (Remember Fireball XL-5?)


But if you do that, and then use pliers to flatten the top of the cap, and gently pull the serrated flange inwards a bit, then drill a small hole through the middle of the cap, you have a perfectly usable replacement magnetic soap holder washer. It only took me 15 years to go from the idea to the execution: and thatís where the link to photography comes inÖ


There are little things that go wrong or get lost, and somehow you never get round to replacing them. Or there are the accessories that you never buy: like the Olympus lens hood for the 60mm macro lens. I found I had a very old and fragile plastic lens hood that fitted the filter thread. As soon as I fitted it, the plastic fractured, and for once I did a repair quickly and itís still on there, wrapped in black and electrical tape. Itís a combination I use a lot to shoot pictures for this blog.

So, itís over to you. Please, if youíve jury-rigged something to fix a photographic problem, write something about it below and include a picture. And if so problem that youíve known about for a while, and have thought about fixing with a glue gun, black sticky-backed plastic and aluminium foil Ė nowís the time to go and do it once the presents are under the Christmas tree.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Dec 2021 10:30AM
'Putting the fluence on it' is a phrase that a former colleague used to use when working with hope and confidence on something that might not work. Far more often than not, he DID put the fluence on it, and made something work that a lesser man would have consigned to the bin.

Necessary in this case, along with patience, because as you push the serrated flange in across one diameter of the cap, it bulges across another. Repeated gentle pressing is required.
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
24 Dec 2021 11:07AM
I had an issue on a recent studio shoot where the velcro on my grid attachment for the flashgun came off in my hand, the elastic band I had on my spare battery box broke as I tried to use that, which resulted in commandeering one of the models hair bands which worked perfectly !!

I'm always making things that makes the photo job easier, I've recently manufactured a purpose built table top studio for supporting white or black card / tiles for a good amount of product photography I've done for work and my own projects plus an 150mm dia lathe face plate ( sprayed white ) resin bonded to a cheap table top tripod so I can shoot silicane / resin tubes and lose the shadow easily.


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Dec 2021 1:23PM
That's minimalist, Chris!

I remember selling on a Manfrotto 'tabletop' for a friend who used to do product images professionally - it's a lot bigger than this setup, and needs no table. It came with a few backgrounds, as well - sheets of flexible plastic that would allow seamless backgrounds of various colours and even patterns (my friend had bought it in the Eighties/early Nineties, when that was de rigueur for product shots).
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2021 1:27PM
I think we are both old enoungh to remember when people collected bottle top. Also when they were used to be nialed to your home made cart, made out of a plank and old pram wheels.
My tip has to do with a tripod on a windy day. Most tripods have a hook in the middle and when that's moving about in the wind. Grab the wife's handbag and hang it off the hook. One thing for sure it will heavy enough to keep it still. You do wonder what women carry around with them...

Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
24 Dec 2021 1:46PM
Thanks John

The setup allows a sheet of A3 white card, not to thick to curve from the back as a seamless bg, also a 600mm sq black tile on the base with A3 black card on the back and rh side for natural light reflections, all in a portsble and fairly light package, the breakfast bar in the kitchen is an ideal height and allows natural lught from the window as well.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
24 Dec 2021 2:16PM
Robert - one extra suggestion: make sure the bag can't swing in the wind, or it will make things worse, not better! Just touching hte ground is good. You don't even need a hook - there's always some way to rig up a bag strap round the tripod head.

Chris - a proper 'Transformers' job, then!
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
25 Dec 2021 9:40PM
I remember ours fondly... Just as the Tramontina bread knife... Simply purposeful and very effective!

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