In a previous article, I revealed the secret to getting perfect light for your wildflower photos–shoot on an overcast day. The thick clouds act as a natural diffuser, helping to balance the light.
But, what if you can’t wait for an overcast day? Or worse, what if overcast days rarely occur in your area?
In the article, I briefly mentioned how you can build a box, covered with a shower curtain, and use this as a sort of artificial light diffuser.
I never liked the idea of building a box, because it would just add too much more for me to carry. So, this past weekend when I saw a bright sunny day in the desert forecast (surprise surprise), I decided to try and build a more lightweight solution. All I used was a small cutout from a shower curtain, and an old wire clothes hanger. Total cost: $5 and 5 minutes.
Here’s how you can build your own lightweight diffuser (in two easy steps):
Things you’ll need:
- wire clothes hanger
- shower curtain (make sure you get a semi-clear, and non-tinted one)
Bend the wire hanger into a square or circular shape. You can do this just by pulling on the bottom of the hanger and bending it until you get a nice square shape.
Place the shower curtain over your bent hanger, and cutout a piece that is a little bigger than the wire frame. Then, just tape this onto the frame, and you’re done!
You should have something that looks like this (please forgive my poor product photography skills):
How to use your new lightweight diffuser
Using your new diffuser is easy–just hold it between the sunlight and the wildflower you’re photographing. Make sure you’re holding it in such a way to diffuse ALL light that’s coming into the frame (not just the light that’s shining on the flower).
Since it’s difficult to handhold the camera and hold this diffuser at the same time, you’ll definitely need a tripod and a remote shutter release.
How well does it work?
Here’s a photo of a desert five-spot that I took using this lightweight diffuser:
Only use this as a last resort!
Although using an artificial light diffuser like this can produce some pretty good results, they don’t come anywhere near the effect of the natural diffuser–clouds. So, only use this when you can’t wait for an overcast day, or you live in an area that rarely gets overcast days (like the desert).