Lets just start with Snoot.
You can smile - its a funny word.
A snoot is essentially a cone that concentrates light from a large strobe or flash or hot light into a small beam - so you can aim it with precision at your subject, and achieve your artistic objectives. Think about the model shots you've seen with the perfect hair halo, or the rippling bicep on an athlete that is lit just so. Chances are these were lit by a discrete Snoot - precision aimed and tuned to the artist's taste.
Underwater, you can imagine the uses - mostly for macro and super macro. You've all seen my love of injecting negative space into my images - I do this mostly with composition (essentially making sure there is unlimited water behind my subject.)
With a snoot I can pinpoint the light to very specific places - say the head if a fishy or the rhinophores of a nudi - and because the only light is the light from the tiny cones (not a huge wash of lights from the strobes) I can draw the viewer in, portray intimacy, and highlight specific parts of the organism - regardless of where its currently residing.
This is exciting stuff... the issue is simply this: commercially available snoots are both expensive, not not nearly rugged enough for my diving and won't generally achieve what I want to, artistically.
After a couple of weeks of research and prototype development, I've built a flexible, robust, effective and thrifty fiber optic snoot out of parts that are readily available.
My total cost for this was about $40 - $45.
Below I'll detail how I built it, provide the BOM and the specifications, and a couple of test shots.
Some early observations:
- It really works. Who knew??!!
- There is no real way to operate this effectively on-camera. This has to be leveraged with the remote set up I described here: Linkola When in the viewfinder, there is simply no way of efficiently getting the snoot arms to position correctly on the tiny subject. The margin of error with this is too small.
- This is design 1a. For design #2 I'm adding a jubilee clip and will be using some type of washer on the bottom of the 1/2" fitting. I will also silicone the F/O cable into the arm somehow.
- This will work best with a 105mm and above lens - as all this snoot hardware really gets in the way and I need to shoot 'between' the arms, kinda putting the subject in the bulls eye. A 60mm won't let me get far enough away, and I'll be literally sitting on the remote strobe and hardware.
I cant wait to get this into the water. The land shots with 'Daisy' (the mini cow) are very promising.