Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DIY Light Diffuser

I recently discovered Steve Berardi's PhotoNaturalist web site and blog. Steve put together an eBook containing 13 tips for better wildflower photography.

Tip #3 - What to do if you can’t wait for perfect light shows you how to make a diffuser from a shower curtain and clothes hanger. This is a great idea but I thought that carrying around a clothes hanger may be a bit of a pain so I starting thinking of ways to create a portable diffuser. I've been reading about many of the DIY photography projects so I thought I'd give this a try as it seemed like a pretty simple thing to create.

My first approach was to create a holder that looked very much like a football (United States variety) goal post. In the upright posts I'd cut a slot and then slide the curtain down through the slot and secure it in place with a cap on the end of the upright. After making the first cut in one of the upright pieces I knew this approach woudldn't work because once I cut the PVC pipe it was long longer the same diameter as it was before the cut. It was smaller which meant the caps would not stay in place like I wanted. So I scapped that idea.

My next idea was to create a big square to hold the shower curtain along with some sort of handle to hold it. The completed version is shown at the top of this blog post.

Materials used
3 - 1 inch X 5 feet long PVC pipe pieces ($1.77 ea, 5.31 total)
1 - 5 pack of 1 inch elbows ($2.16)
1 - 5 pack of 1 inch caps (2.39) not really needed for this project so you can skip those if you want.
1 - 5 pack of 1 inch "T" fittings. ($2.66) I only need one but figured I'd use the rest for other projects.
1 - Vinyl Shower Curtain (99 cents, I think)

Cutting - PVC
You'll want to measure your PVC pipes. Mine were a bit longer than 5 feet long so I had to make two cuts on one.
Cut 3 30 inch pieces of pipe. This forms the side and top of the frame.
Cut 2 14 inch pieces of pipe. This forms the bottom half of the frame and leaves room for the "T" fitting.

Cutting - Shower Curtain
Unpack the shower curtain and then fold it in half and cut on the fold line.
Take one half of the curtain and fold it in half again, cut it.
This will give you a big enough piece of curtain to fit over the frame.

Put the two 14 inch pieced of PVC pipe into the T
Attach elbows, pointing up at the other end of the 14 inch pipes.
Insert a 30 inch piece of PVC into the top of each elbow.

On the 3rd piece of 30 inch PVC pipe insert both elbows.
Slide the 3rd piece of pipe onto the other two pieces to complete the frame.
Make sure all connections are good and snug.
Attach the curtain using tape or clamps.

Presto, you're done. Now you don't have any excuses for not getting great flower shots :). Thanks to Steve for giving me the idea!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! This one definitely covers a larger area than the one I built, which is great for larger flowers or if you want to capture one of those "flower mini landscapes" ..

    thanks for the PN shout out!

    Steve Berardi