Monday, November 1, 2010

I've Got My Eye on You!

Canon 30D
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Shutter Speed 1
Aperture f/16
ISO 400

Hello everyone! Tonight you get me, Scott, because life happens and Jay'me will be unable to post. It happens to the best of us and I'm always happy to flaunt my latest experiments! We'll catch ya next time Jay'me! Sorry it's not working out for you tonight.

Here you see the experimentation of a frustrated budget. You see, I can't buy everything I want. Otherwise, I would have a real ring flash of my own and wouldn't have to buy an angel food cake for the sole purpose of making my own ring flash. That's right, I made my own using an angel food cake pan (of the plastic sort - still looking for a metal one to make a more permanent ring flash).

For those who may not know what a ring flash is check this out. Its necessary when you get so close your lens would throw a shadow over the subject using a normal speed light or built-in flash. The results can be fantastic. As for me, I needed to make mine. I plan on posting a photo of it on our flickr page when I get a chance. In the meantime, here's the how-to.

My problems didn't stop once I built the flash. You see, my camera is old. Furthermore, because of my said budgetary woes, I don't own a remote cable for my flash. I just can't buy it knowing whatever camera I buy next will be able to wirelessly trigger my flash head. So what's a guy to do?

I had my subject stand in a dark room, focused manually, set the shutter to 1 second, and fired the strobe manually. It was very reminiscent of my self-portrait, except I wasn't likely to run into a parked car. It also means there is a little blur that just pisses me off. Wait till I get everything I want! It'll be amazing.

My connection with Sere's beautiful wolves is simple: they have fantastic eyes. I wonder what they would look like really close? I'll leave that to braver souls. For me, I'll stick to angel food cake and humans.

As it turns out, I got to play with a real ring flash. My brother-in-law has one for use with his dental practice and he was kind enough to lend it to me for a week (Thanks Scottcee!). I actually really like the results but I thought since I went through the effort of making my own I really should post a photo using the homemade rig. Here's one with a real ring flash. There is some ghosting and I'm not entirely sure why. But the detail is great.

Okay, I'm off for now y'all. Peace out!



  1. Um, eyeballs are kind of weird up close. I guess that means I have no future as an ophthalmologist. Thanks for helping me scratch one more potential career.
    I like this photo more than the one with the true ring flash. The entire image of the flash filling the pupil suits my tastes better.
    Can I ask why you went dark room, sharp light, slow shutter? I'm left wondering what type of effect the homemade ring flash would have in a more ambient light situation.
    The detail in the iris is amazing. Once again, I really, REALLY want a macro.
    Now I must go contemplate what to do for a living when I grow up. Oh and I get to come up with a way to build on an eyeball. hmmmm....

  2. Actually, I didn't want to use a slow shutter but because I had no way of syncing my flash I was forced to manually fire the speed light while the shutter was open. And because I was so close to the subject (think 8-9 inches) I don't think ambient light would have done much. The dark room was just intended to minimize motion blur as much as possible. It's an example of using the length of time of the flash as the determinant for exposure rather than the shutter speed. It can be a great way to expose shots. Most cameras top out at 1/4000 sec and some go as high as 1/8000. A good strobe can beat that with the settings right.

  3. Okay, this is just a little creepy but I can't help but study it.
    Thank you so very much for taking up the slack and giving us a great shot and some techniques to ponder.
    Did having the dark room and just a moment of light through the strobe allow for a more open pupil? Also, somehow you made the light look as if there are clouds in his eye. I thought this was taken outside until I read it.
    EYE love it! (as always)

  4. You should see the computer this eye looks at all day. He's got this picture as his wallpaper...on dual screens! It's REALLY creepy.

    The dark room did keep his pupil open but it was incidental. I really needed the dark room just for exposure. The cloud looking reflection is just the wax paper over my homemade ring flash. I couldn't get one contiguous piece to work.