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12-31-2010, 09:26 AM   #1
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Small reflector ideas?

I frequently find myself out on the bike with my DA 35 Macro, spotting field of wildflowers or some unique foliage and wanting to modify the light. I never have a flash with me but could usually get by with a small reflector leaned up against a bag or something for some impromptu macro flower shots.

Any good ideas for a collapsing reflector in the 2'x2' range? I don't even know where to start.

12-31-2010, 09:58 AM   #2
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You want something flat, right?
12-31-2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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there are lots of them out there from cheap to pricey. I'd just get one of the cheap ones that has gold one side silver the other that is collapsible. they all essentially do the same thing and at the higher price your paying for marketing. (in reality a piece of white foam core works but is not very portable)
12-31-2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
You want something flat, right?
something that folds flat and springs to a greater expanse of flatness, if that makes sense.

No larger than 1'x1' folded so it will fit in my motorcycle's sidecases.

Could be round or square, but I think square may work better. I don't really know.

Looking here there are a ton of options, curious what others have used successfully.

Collapsible Reflectors


Oh, and, silly question, what is the purpose of gold vs. silver vs. white?

12-31-2010, 11:43 AM   #5
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Gold is going to affect image color. Often used for portraits for warmth.

Silver reflects harsh light onto the subject.

White is the softest, most natural, and why it's the most often used.

And don't forget BLACK:

Black reflectors incredibly increase contrast on the subject's edges. A glass, for example:

Black absorbs light, and would provide a strong contrast to that glass's profile, giving you a darker edge all around the glass edges. I think that in theory, black is also the way to go for fine detail in the macro work you mentioned, but it doesn't perform any function as fill or bounce.

Know what I mean? It can do remarkable things when you're swimming in light, but doesn't help you if you're not.

It's been years since I did work with black cards as reflectors, but I remember that the effect is really dramatic.
12-31-2010, 11:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Gold is going to affect image color. Often used for portraits for warmth.

Silver reflects harsh light onto the subject.

White is the softest, most natural, and why it's the most often used.

And don't forget BLACK:

Black reflectors incredibly increase contrast on the subject's edges. A glass, for example:

Black absorbs light, and would provide a strong contrast to that glass's profile, giving you a darker edge all around the glass edges. I think that in theory, black is also the way to go for fine detail in the macro work you mentioned, but it doesn't perform any function as fill or bounce.

Know what I mean? It can do remarkable things when you're swimming in light, but doesn't help you if you're not.

It's been years since I did work with black cards as reflectors, but I remember that the effect is really dramatic.
Thanks! That is excellent to know and certainly worth playing with.

The more I shoot, the more I notice (and struggle with) available light. It seems silly to haul a camera around and not have a simple way to modify the light.
12-31-2010, 11:55 AM   #7
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I give you a lot of credit for realizing the importance of this.

I realize the importance, but I'm too damn lazy.
12-31-2010, 11:59 AM   #8
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I keep one of THESE in my backpack, collapses down to about 6" or so.

12-31-2010, 12:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
I keep one of THESE in my backpack, collapses down to about 6" or so.
Is the bag black? because if it is, that could be just the ticket.
12-31-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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if you want cheap, head to your auto accessories store and pick up some solar reflectors intended for the windshield. There are smaller pop-out ones for side windows, albeit usually adorned with suction cups in the center. I wouldn't hazard a guess at how many stops a silicone suction cup will cost you.

Silver or white seem to be the only options there, so the warming effect of the gold is not possible
12-31-2010, 12:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by grainbelt Quote
Is the bag black? because if it is, that could be just the ticket.
Yes, my bag is black. I should say I am not 100% certain I linked the same brand that I have. I'll try to get back to you on that....apparently the reflector that I ALWAYS keep in my backpack has been misplaced, and I'm trying to find it now.

EDIT: Well, for the time being, my small round reflector is lost. Guess that's what I get for not using it much, LOL. I normally carry a large Wescott one for sessions, because I need something bigger. Westcott makes a great reflector, and they are more square, with rounded edges, so might be better for propping up against stuff. The bag is gray, though, not black, if that's important. HERE is a smaller version of what I use at outdoor sessions.

Last edited by Todd Adamson; 12-31-2010 at 01:51 PM.
12-31-2010, 05:57 PM   #12
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made small reflector

I made small reflector out of some old gray cards that were black on the other side. Just taped them together to get the size I wanted. On the gray side I took aluminum foil and rolled into a ball and then flatten it out and glued to the board. Works great to add a bit of light when needed and the other side can be use as a black background also.
01-01-2011, 09:15 AM   #13
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After looking at the reflector in Todd's link, it appears that silver is used for high contrast.

I never worked with silver, so maybe that's the way to go first instead of black, and just play around with some black cards to see the difference.
01-01-2011, 10:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
After looking at the reflector in Todd's link, it appears that silver is used for high contrast.

I never worked with silver, so maybe that's the way to go first instead of black, and just play around with some black cards to see the difference.
Try a chunk of heavy duty cooking foil. Just crumple it up, fold it and stick it in with your gear. Light, cheap and it will give ideas for when you want to spend some money.
01-01-2011, 11:04 AM   #15
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these things are like twenty bucks

if I use my aluminum foil, I'm screwed when the pie crust starts to burn.
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