Lighting

Good light is an essential factor for successful macro shots. In high magnification wildlife photography, natural light is only sufficient with an open aperture or long exposure, and direct sunlight also creates unsightly highlights and hard shadows. Flash light with a diffuser in front of it provides a remedy here. In order to achieve a lighting scene that is as balanced and natural as possible, a number of basic principles should be observed. The main light should come from above, like a slightly overcast sky. Pincer or ring flashes usually produce unnatural-looking reflections and are very difficult to diffuse. The light source (flash) should be as far away from the diffuser as possible, and the diffuser should be dense enough not to create a hotspot, but also transparent enough not to swallow too much light. Most widespread is a setup consisting of a flashgun, reflector and conical diffuser that surrounds the subject and ensures uniform illumination with slightly overhead direction. As diffuser material PP-sheet or packaging foam has proved to be very useful and weather proof as well.

Since the beginning of 2021 I have been using the AK-Diffuser, which is manufactured by Zamir Pena in Florida and shipped worldwide. It can be dismantled into four individual parts in a few simple steps and is therefore also suitable for travel and gets my warmest recommendation. The robust and light material also withstands tropical conditions without complaint. I am in no way affiliated with Zamir and there are several other manufacturers of very similar systems that are sure to deliver good results as well. Who is supposed to have copied from whom is not up for debate here.
I modified the AK-Diffuser for my purposes by shortening the base plate of the reflector and adding a semicircular cutout in the diameter of my lens so that it lies deeper. I also provided the diffuser with a semicircular cutout and equipped it with press studs to be able to fix it to the lens hood.

The lowered reflector made of sturdy plastic is attached to the flash head with a Velcro strip.

The AK-Diffuser comes with an LED focusing light with a toggle switch. The power bank is not included.

The LED focusing light is perfect for tours in the dark and also provides valuable services during the day in the thicket.


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