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How to Make a DIY Dappled Natural Light Background for Portraits

Behind the scenes photos of shooting a portrait with a dappled background

Behind the scenes photos of shooting a portrait with a dappled background

Creating a do-it-yourself lighting setup for dappled natural light backgrounds isn’t as tricky or as involved to achieve as some setups and techniques, but it is a nice little idea to play with if the occasion arises.

The good news is, you barely need any kit to make this work, and truth be told, I was actually packing away my lighting gear when I saw this natural light pattern form on my scrim after a shoot. I quickly asked the model back and decided to grab a few frames as the naturally formed dappled light background looked amazing. Here’s how to get the same look yourself…

A woman posing against a do-it-yourself dappled light backdrop
The natural light background created in-camera here, looks an awful lot like a cloudy day, when in fact it’s not created by clouds at all…

What Do You Need?

1. A white sheet or bounce board

2. Another thin white sheet or scrim

Yes, that’s honestly all you need, so to all the people who complain about tutorials written for people with a full studio’s worth of kit, this little setup is for you.

What You’ll Also Need

1. Bright, sunny day

Sorry, there was one more item I forgot to mention and that’s the Sun. Sadly this last item will prevent most of us Brits from pulling this setup off for 51 weeks of the year, but if you get lucky and the Sun does indeed come out, this is a very quick and easy look to achieve.

The Setup

The setup itself involves you placing one white sheet or bounce-board behind you and then you place the other thin sheet or scrim behind the model. To be clear, yes I am using a purpose-built scrim here, but a single cotton sheet will do just as well for the look we’re after. When positioning the two sheets, be sure to also position your model with the Sun behind them.

Lastly, try to set the whole thing up in front of some bushes or trees to get the desired dappled light effect on the scrim behind your subject. Take a look at the diagram below to see what I mean.

A computer generated diagram of a lighting setup for dappled natural light

A do-it-yourself backdrop for dappled natural light

A woman posing against a do-it-yourself backdrop for dappled natural light

The setup works as the hard sunlight shines through the trees behind the subject and essentially projects the dappled light and shadows onto the white sheet behind them, resulting in this beautiful pattern on the background.

The same sunlight is also so strong that it hits the white sheet behind you and bounces back onto the model which in turn bathes them in this beautifully soft light as well. Effectively you’re getting two lights in one here as the same light is illuminating the background as well as the model too.

The Final Look

A woman posing against a do-it-yourself dappled light backdrop

A woman posing against a do-it-yourself dappled light backdrop

There are some clear benefits to this look and firstly, of course, is its ease of implementation. Sure, you need the Sun to be out, but if you live in a region where the Sun isn’t revered like a mythical creature like it is here in England, this isn’t too much to ask for.

Secondly, the look this light gives to the model is extremely flattering as the bounced sunlight hitting the sheet behind you and illuminating the model is extremely soft. Plus, when the model is stood close to the scrim sheet behind her, a little light bleeds through and delicately lights the edges of her face and body to further add dimension to the body too. Look again at the images here if you missed them at first glance. See how the edges of her body and jacket are highlighted?

Lastly, I was particularly impressed by how the dappled light effect on the background actually looked like clouds on a sunny day behind her. This is of course just an illusion thanks to the dappled light from the trees behind, but it’s an interesting way to achieve this effect if that’s what you’re after.

Closing Comments

Ultimately this is a very easy setup to achieve as long as the Sun is out. There are a couple of things I want to mention though that are worth bearing in mind when setting this up.

Color contamination

Be mindful of your surroundings when doing this and by that I mean be aware of what the Sun is actually bouncing off around you. Sure it will bounce off the white sheet behind you and light the subject beautifully, but the Sun is also bouncing off of everything too. In these shots, I had a red-brick building to my right and as a result, I was getting a red cast on the right of the model (her left). I reduced it in post so it’s not too visible here now, but it’s certainly worth being aware of.

Adjusting the amount of dappling

One other thing to play with is adjusting the amount of dappling you get on the background behind your subject. I liked the blurred and out-of-focus dappling I was getting on my background, but you can choose to make it sharper or more blurred depending on how close you position your setup to the trees and foliage behind you. Placing your setup quite close to the trees will result in very blurred mottling and puling the setup further away will get you sharper dappling effects. Just something to play or at the very least be aware of if you’re not getting the desired effect when you try it yourself.

Good luck and have fun playing with this one. Be patient though, as the scriptures have foretold the return of the Sun in due course, let’s just hope we can remember where this article was when that great day does indeed come to pass.


About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. If you’d like to learn more about his incredibly popular gelled lighting and post-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.


Credits: Photographs by Jake Hicks. Featured model is Annabelle Strutt.

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How to Make a DIY Photo Enlarger from an Afghan Box Camera

How to Make a DIY Photo Enlarger from an Afghan Box Camera

I previously shared how I converted my Afghan Box Camera into a slide projector. The principle of the slide projector involves putting a light source at the back whose light passes through some condenser lens. The light then goes through the slide, passes through the projector lens, and is projected at a larger size on the projector screen.

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A typical enlarger design. Illustration by きたし and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.

I began thinking that a darkroom photo enlarger would be based on about the same principle. In an enlarger, we also have the light pass through some condenser lens (depending on the design) and it will pass through the negative, go through the lens, and be projected big on the photo paper.

I thought I would maybe try to convert my Afghan Box Camera into a photo enlarger. In this case, it was to be a horizontal enlarger with which I would project the image horizontally onto the wall surface.

Negative Carrier

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Negative carrier.

I decided to use my photo paper holder inside the Afghan Box Camera for this conversion. I taped up a 6x7cm window using some black PVC tape. If this were to be a more permanent setup, I would make a proper negative carrier. For now, this will do and I used some small pieces of masking tape to secure the 6×7 negative flat against the glass.

To focus, I would move the focusing rods per the usual way when using the Afghan Box Camera, which moves the negative towards or away from the lens.

Light Source

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Unlike a light source for a slide projector, the enlargement is smaller so the light source for this enlarger can be relatively less powerful. So I use a simple 11W warm color LED bulb. As I do not have a timer, I simply use the on/off switch for the bulb during printing to control the exposure time.

Lens

I do not have a dedicated enlarger lens so I used my trusty Fujinon 210mm lens as the enlarging lens. For a safe filter, I dug out an old Cokin red filter and a Cokin filter holder. I would just slip the filter and holder over the lens if I need to block the light from reaching the photo paper.

Paper

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Arista Edu 5×7 inches Resin Coated paper

I use Arista Edu 5×7-inch Resin Coated paper. As it is a variable contrast paper, I could use the Ilford Multigrade Contrast filters to control the contrast of the print. Again, this is done simply by taping the filter on the rear element of the lens during printing.

Results

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The results show that the box camera can be easily turned into a photo enlarger by making a few changes to it.

1. Add in a light source.
2. Replace/convert the photo paper holder with/into a negative holder.
3. Add in safelight filter and contrast filter.

Nevertheless, a few improvements could be made.

1. A better way of holding the paper on the wall instead of just using masking tape.
2. Some method to confirm the squareness of the enlarger to the photo paper.
3. A better way to hold the safe filter and contrast filters.

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A vintage solar-based horizontal enlarger.

Horizontal enlargers have been around for a long while and box camera users can consider turning their box camera into a photo enlarger if they need a quick print from a negative.


About the author: Cheng Qwee Low is a (mainly) film photographer based in Singapore. In addition to using cameras ranging from 35mm to ultra-large-format 8×20, Low also enjoys alternative processes such as kallitype and albumen printing. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Low’s work on his website and YouTube. This article was also published here.

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How To Create a DIY Mosaic ‘Camera’ Using 1000 Drinking Straws

How To Create a DIY Mosaic 'Camera' Using 1000 Drinking Straws

In this six and a half minute video from Fotodiox, photographer Sean Anderson shows how he used over a thousand mini drinking straws to create a “straw camera” that can capture mosaic type images.

Anderson says the idea was originally inspired by a PetaPixel article from 2017 where a DIY camera made of straws and a film back was used to capture images. After seeing that project, Sean was left with two looming questions: 1) Could the camera be made smaller? and 2) Can the straw camera be converted to digital and not use film?

While Anderson says this camera build was one of the most simple DIY designs he has ever done, it also ended up almost taking the most time to complete. He had to precisely measure 1,000 coffee stirring straws and then cut them into three pieces each (for a total of 3,000 straw pieces) in order for them to fit precisely into the container. This whole process alone took several days to complete.

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Once all the straws were placed snuggly in the container, Anderson discovered a small problem with how the images would “render” when shot using a digital camera. In order to see the full image, he had to move the system a great distance away from the “straw camera.” To fix this, he added some frosted plastic over the straws to focus each point of light onto the “element” allowing him to move the camera much closer. Then he added a cardboard box “bellows” to the rig in order to further control and eliminate any reflections and glare.

While testing the system, Anderson discovered that the subjects being photographed had to be incredibly close to the straws, or else the image would be a muddy mess. This means the images will also require a lot of additional lighting, so those who are planning to try the build for themselves should be sure to keep that in mind. He says, unless you make it much larger, the system works best for photography smaller objects in a still-life format. Even so, the results are a fun and unique take on photography.

Below are some sample images created with the straw camera:

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Anderson says the camera works best in a studio environment, but it still has use outside using natural light as a backlight to create some intriguing silhouettes against the sun. While the “camera” isn’t without its flaws, it is still a fun and low-cost creative project to do at home.

To see more of Sean’s DIY Camera builds, visit the Fotodiox YouTube channel.

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Making a DIY Film Wigglegram Lens from 3 Disposable Cameras

Making a DIY Film Wigglegram Lens from 3 Disposable Cameras

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I’ve got to admit that half of the reason I bought a film camera was to post cool-looking pictures on Instagram, so when I saw these things called “wigglegrams” on Instagram, I immediately wanted to make my own.

I found out that they are typically made with a Nishika camera which has 4 lenses to capture 4 separate images, which can be animated into a 3D-looking video.

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Unfortunately, these cameras have skyrocketed in price over the last few years (due to film normies like me), and are also notorious for their terrible build quality. I wasn’t ready to spend a couple hundred dollars just to make my Instagram feed look a bit less boring, so I instead started to design my own Canon FD mount wigglegram lens to use with my Canon A-1.

Squeezing 3 Photos into 1 Frame

The Nishika camera that I was trying to emulate took 4 photos across 2 frames of film (thus creating 4 half-frame images). However, since I wanted to use this lens on a normal unmodified film camera, I instead decided to squeeze three images into one frame. This, unfortunately, creates a pretty thin wigglegram so framing is a bit hard – especially since there is no viewfinder (more on this later).

It also means that the lenses are closer together: the distance from the rightmost to the leftmost lens is 24mm on my wigglegram camera compared to the 54mm of the Nishika. So to get a good wigglegram, you have to get pretty close to the subject.

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Here is a wigglegram straight from the lab. You can see the three separate images on one negative.

Camera Lenses

The only parts of this lens that aren’t 3D printed are the 3 plastic lenses and a few screws. The lenses came from expired disposable cameras I got for dirt cheap on the Hong Kong version of eBay. After passing out the disposable cameras at a party, I was left with 3 rolls of pretty terrible photos and 3 plastic 30mm lenses. It’s pretty easy to get the lenses out of the camera, you just need to rip it apart until you reach the lens (and while you’re at it, salvage the flash module and build a small camera flash!).

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Disassembled disposable camera with its lens

The Design

I modeled up the lens in Fusion 360. It’s a pretty simple design, but it was a bit of a pain to figure out how far away the lens should be from the film plane to get the image in focus. I wanted things from about 0.2–1.5m to be in focus since I would be primarily shooting things close to the lens.

At first, I tried to calculate the distance to use, but eventually I just decided to make a ton of designs to slowly hone in on the right distance. The lens has a relatively small aperture of f/10, so it doesn’t have to be super precise. The final distance from the lens to the film plane was somewhere around 30mm (obviously, since the lens has a focal distance of 30mm), which meant that the lenses are recessed into the camera body by about 10mm.

To keep the three images separated, there has to be a divider between each lens that extends into the camera all the way to the film plane. This was a bit of a problem for my Canon A1 since it is an SLR camera – meaning that the mirror for the viewfinder is in the way.

Some SLR cameras have a “mirror lockup” feature that allows you to flip this mirror up and out of the way (normally used to prevent camera shake when taking a photo), but my camera doesn’t have this. I instead just kinda push the mirror up when putting on the lens, being careful not to smudge the mirror in the process. Unfortunately, this also means that you don’t have a viewfinder to preview the image, but that’s a luxury I can live without.

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You can see the two dividers which will extend into the camera’s body.
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Pushing the viewfinder lens out of the way.

Stitching the Images Together

A common complaint of wigglegrams is that it is a pain to animate the frames together in Photoshop, but thankfully there is actually another method that no one really seems to talk about.

Recently, a company called Reto Project released the Reto 3D, a wigglegram camera that takes 3 half-frame images. Alongside this product, they also published an app that allows you to easily create wigglegrams. It costs a few dollars but it’s definitely worth it.

Some Examples

I’ve put about a roll of film through this lens and I’ve been really impressed with the results. It turned out far better than I expected, and the plastic disposable camera lenses are surprisingly sharp. A few of the photos didn’t turn out, mainly due to bad framing (there has to be a very well defined foreground, midground, and background)

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A long exposure light painting of the rainbow led cube I made (go check out my blog post about it!)
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Here’s a good example of a distinct foreground, midground and background.

Film Boomerang?

This is a completely unexpected (but very welcomed) feature. The shutter of my camera moves from right to left, meaning that the rightmost frame is exposed slightly before the leftmost frame (probably by only 10ms or so). This means that there is a slight “Instagram boomerang” effect. This really is the perfect lens for Instagram! This boomerang effect only happens when not using flash, however, since the camera flash exposes the whole frame at the same time.

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Look how cool that is

Conclusion

I am extremely impressed with how well this project worked out – even if I was given the option I would still choose to use this lens over a Nishika. I was inspired by this similar creation by George Moua, but his version is for digital cameras and you have to pay for the 3D files (you can get the files for this project for free on my GitHub repo!)


About the author: Joshua Bird is a photographer and computer science undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Bird’s work on his website. This article was also published here.

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How to Make a DIY Overhead Light for Dramatic and Cinematic Scenes

How to Make a DIY Overhead Light for Dramatic and Cinematic Scenes

You don’t have to spend a fortune to have great-looking lighting in your images and videos, you just need to know what sort of light you want and how to create it. In this video, learn how to put together a DIY overhead light, perfect for dramatic scenes.

Light is light. That tautology is an oddly helpful reminder at times when you gaze lovingly at some gargantuan lighting rig that costs the same as a car. While those lights will be effective and useful, if you’re on a tighter budget, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re priced out of the sort of cinematic light you have seen on screen. 

This video is by a fantastic videographer, Rob Ellis, whose YouTube channel is a criminally underrated resource for those interested in filmmaking, especially on a budget. Ellis has created some stunning work with seemingly minimal equipment, time and time again. This particular video shows you how to make an overhead light by combining canvas frames to create a large cube, black cloth to control light bouncing around, and then white muslin to act as a reflector. The result is akin to a modifier and Ellis bounces a focused beam of light off of the muslin inside the cube which is placed directly over the subject.

While this is aimed at videographers, photographers can really benefit from this sort of modifier. The light that results in using this setup is both dramatic and cinematic, opening up a lot of potential for darker shoots.

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Convert Any Analog Camera to Digital With This DIY Hack

Convert Any Analog Camera to Digital With This DIY Hack

The additional steps and costs involved with shooting on film often put many photographers off. What if you could have the best of both worlds and use digital in your older film cameras?

Digital and analog cameras have for the most part stayed on opposite sides of the track. There have been several attempts in the past to merge these two worlds but nothing concrete has ever taken off. Enter stage left Befinitiv who recently took it upon himself to build a custom film cartridge for his analog camera so it could act as a digital one.

At the heart of this creation is a Raspberry PI Zero W with a camera module and battery. What I love about this particular incarnation of “digital film” is that all of the electronics fit neatly inside the camera body itself. This crucially means that you don’t have to modify your beloved antique cameras in any destructive way which would be a major deal-breaker for many of us.

The video goes on to show the camera in action and we see a few different scenarios of it being used to great effect. Befinitiv talks about the ability to also record video and well as live stream thanks to the particular version of Raspberry PI being utilized. While this creation is not going to replace your regular camera, I can see such a thing being a great addition to your camera bag when you want a certain look to your images or you just want to shoot with one of your older cameras without worrying about buying or developing film. Also worthy of note is that this DIY “digital film” is modeled around the standard 35mm film cartridge which means if you built one of these for yourself it could technically fit in any camera that also accommodates the same size film. If you have some basic electronic skills or know someone who does, you could easily breathe new life into many cameras that haven’t seen action for decades.

What do you think of this hack? Are you tempted to give this one a try? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

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Making a DIY Camera Flash by Reusing a Disposable Camera’s

Making a DIY Camera Flash by Reusing a Disposable Camera's

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Recently I bought a film camera from the 1970s, the Canon A-1. Considering that the camera is almost three times older than me, it was no surprise that there are a few issues with it.

The first camera I got jammed before I even loaded in my first roll, and the replacement camera had a battery drainage issue (which took an almost complete disassembly to fix).

But anyway, that isn’t the point of this article. Electrical problems aside, my main issue with this camera is its lack of a flash. Unbeknownst to me when I bought this camera, film cameras can’t really operate without a ridiculous amount of light (at least by modern camera standards). Even in a reasonably lit room, the camera struggles to take photos without the help of a tripod. This led to me trying some creative solutions, with limited success.

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Trying to take a photo in a dimly lit McDonald’s. The setup.
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The result.

I tried to find a camera flash online, but all of them were huge — like almost bigger than the actual camera.

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Why doesn’t anyone make a small camera flash?

I didn’t exactly want to show up to parties looking like the paparazzi, so I decided to make my own small flash module.

Making the Flash

The camera flash I built uses the flash circuit from a cheap Fuji QuickSnap disposable camera which I got for only about $7.

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A Fuji QuickSnap disposable camera with a built-in flash.

Make sure to discharge the capacitor before handling the circuit! It’s charged up to 300V, so you really don’t want it to touch it while it’s still charged.

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Flash PCB from disposable camera. Don’t forget to discharge the capacitor!

There are two switches in the circuit: one to charge the cap and one to trigger the flash. For the charging switch, I simply attached a toggle switch up to it.

The trigger switch was a bit more complicated, however. It should be wired up to the camera’s hotshoe so that the flash will trigger exactly when the photo is taken. However, wiring the trigger directly to the hotshoe would cause a couple of hundred volts to pass through the camera, frying it.

Note: Some older cameras would be fine with this voltage because they have physical trigger contacts, but a newer camera would definitely get damaged.

I instead designed and ordered a PCB based on this schematic (the webpage has a really good explanation of how the circuit works). You can find the PCB and 3D files on my GitHub. This circuit takes in the ~300V trigger voltage and turns it into a 5V for the camera’s hotshoe.

I then modeled up an enclosure for the circuits, along with a hotshoe with contacts. The contacts used in the 3D-printed hotshoe are taken from the copper contacts on the disposable camera’s PCB. And that’s it! I now have a small camera flash.

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Inside the flash. Please ignore that I soldered directly to a battery.
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The final product. Note the charging toggle switch on the left.

How to Use the Flash

You may have noticed that there are no settings on the flash at all. The big bulky flashes allow you to select the distance of your subject and tell you what aperture to use, but my flash has nothing like that at all.

I simply just use the disposable camera’s fixed settings of f/10 @ 400 ISO (adjust aperture depending on your film’s ISO). You should also keep the subject within ~3m/10ft. This gives the flash a theoretical guide number of 50, but who knows how accurate that is considering it’s a cheap disposable camera.

Conclusion

I ended up meeting all of my initial goals for this project. I now have a “discreet” flash for my film camera that works perfectly for my purposes. The hotshoe contacts are a little bit finicky, so I might buy a PC sync cord so I can use the PC socket in my camera which will have a much more reliable connection.


About the author: Joshua Bird is a photographer and computer science undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Bird’s work on his website. This article was also published here.

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Photographer Makes DIY Lenses with Cake Molds and Epoxy

Photographer Makes DIY Lenses with Cake Molds and Epoxy

In an effort to challenge herself, Italian photographer Ursula Ferrara has made her own lenses for her large-format film camera using plastic epoxy and silicone cake molds.

Ferrara is a photographer, painter, and animation film director from Italy who first became interested in photography at age 13 when she started shooting with her father’s Leica. She is the author of several short animated films that have been recognized in film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, and Locarno. She regularly experiments with different photographic techniques, which includes converting an old camper van into a giant camera as well as previously converting a Lomography Lomo’Instant Wide into a camera that can take tiny wet plate collodion photos.

For her most recent project, Ferrara decided to make her own lenses for her mid-1900s-era 8×10 Eastman Commercial large-format camera. She tells PetaPixel that the idea to do so came from her past where she has built many cameras including a 16×20-inch with scrap Ikea parts, so she wanted to push herself to different challenges and attempt to make her own lenses.

“I tried a design that used ice, but it wasn’t very good,” she says. “But working with water got me thinking about using resin.”

Ferarra says that she first found the epoxy she wanted to use, which ended up being a clear casting resin, and then purchased a set of silicone cake molds that she would use to form the curves of the optics.

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She says she ended up making dozens of different lenses at different sizes with different curves and thicknesses in an attempt to mimic what she saw in commercial glass lenses.

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“I made many mistakes,” she tells Petapixel. “Basically, I kept repeating the same mistake involving the curvature until I understood that there was a nearly imperceptible flattening on the base of each mold. So I finally corrected that by tilting the mold at an angle and was able to get the perfect shape. I changed the position of the mold as it dried so the curvature was perfect.”

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She says the process of trial and error took her about three months before she created a set of optics that actually worked. The lenses that “failed” would result in images that were far too blurry to be considered usable. But once she had a set she was happy with a set of lenses, she mounted them to her large-format camera.

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She chose to use a plano-convex lens design that would focus through a small diaphragm. Plano-convex lenses combine one spherical surface and one flat surface and are simple, all-purpose focusing elements. The image above shows her diaphragm, which she positioned about three centimeters behind the main curved optic before pointing it at a subject.

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He design worked, and below are a few sample photos that she captured using her custom, hand-made, epoxy lens:

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Though she has made cameras before, Ferarra says she has never made optics and has no history with optical design. The fact that she was able to make a working plastic lens she says was “lucky.” More likely, it was a combination of past experiences with building her own cameras and understanding the principles of photography. Whatever the case, her finished product is no less impressive.

For more from Ursula Ferrara, make sure to check out her website.

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Engineer Modernizes the 1998 Game Boy Camera with a DIY Adapter

Engineer Modernizes the 1998 Game Boy Camera with a DIY Adapter

An engineer has figured out a way to bring the Game Boy Camera into the twenty-first century with a DIY wireless adapter that allows him to easily transfer all the images taken with the aged handheld gaming console camera to his smartphone.

Released back in 1998, the Game Boy Camera was an optional accessory for the Nintendo Game Boy game console. It was discontinued in 2002.

In that short time, it not only managed to garner a cult following, it still appeals to users today. Fans enjoy the nostalgia this device brings, which is capable of producing grayscale photos with 2-bit resolution and four color palette options.

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One such user and fan is Matt Grey, a managing broadcast engineer and YouTube content creator. As spotted by Hack a Day, Grey has owned the Game Boy Camera for years but was always frustrated by the device’s limitations when it came to exporting the images. The only way Nintendo allowed the camera to export photos was through the Game Boy Printer. Not just that, the device can only hold at most 30 images at a time.

A decade ago, Grey made his first attempt at putting together an interface for the Game Boy Camera that would expand its functionality but was not happy with the outcome. He recently returned to the project and redesigned it, and the latest attempt resulted in a wireless carrier for the camera that allows easy transfer through WiFi to his mobile phone.

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The portable solution relies on a 3D-printed enclosure with a GBxCat RW Game Boy cartridge reader inside and a USB port that is wired to a Raspberry Pi Zero, a small single-board computer, and a portable battery. A set of scripts read the camera and make it possible for Grey to download images via a web browser on his smartphone.

This solution makes it easy for him to transfer the images on the go and he now no longer needs to rely on the Game Boy printer or other devices that emulate one.

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Grey has also shared the code and setup information for anyone else who wants to replicate this device, with a full breakdown of each component listed in the above video’s description.

For those who are curious as to why the Game Boy Camera community and its users still enjoy a dated tool with such limitations during a time where cameras have rapidly advanced can read excerpts from interviews on the on Input.

More of Grey’s videos and projects can be found on his YouTube channel and his website.

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This DIY Portable Power Station Can Keep Tons of Photo Gear Charged

This DIY Portable Power Station Can Keep Tons of Photo Gear Charged

Ensuring there is enough power for every piece of gear while on set is easy, but what if a shoot’s location is moved to someplace away from the convenience of outlets? A battery is needed of course, but they can be expensive and have limitations. So can one be built?

While most modern lighting and production gear is battery-powered and very mobile, some shoots still can extend well beyond the lifespan of those included packs. Matt from the YouTube channel DIY Perks has shared a video that details how to build a 1200 watt portable power bank that will provide enough juice to power pretty much anything while on location — even a microwave.

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The PC case-sized battery backup is built using 21,800 type lithium-ion cells developed by Tesla and Panasonic since they have the highest energy density per cell currently available. These batteries can be charged and recharged hundreds — if not thousands — of times, which ensures an incredibly long lifespan.

According to the video, the case and power capacity of the build can be scaled up or down depending on the project or desired use case that the power supply will be needed for. It is worth noting that these battery types can be dangerous since if they happen short, the cells can get incredibly hot or even catch fire. Therefore, anything built with these types of batteries needs to be done with a high level of care and with extra safety measures employed.

As Matt says in the video, regardless of how many safety measures one takes, anything done DIY is a “build this at your own risk” type of project.

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For the project shown in this video, Matt uses 84 lithium-ion cells connected together to create seven sets of twelve cells. This arrangement creates a 50v direct current (DC) with an impressive amount of charge capacity and output ability. That current can then be converted to 120v or 240v alternating current (AC) through an inverter to power whatever devices are on hand or need to be run off the pack. In this particular build, Matt includes connections for normal wall socket power plugs and a USB-C type connection to power USB devices like a new laptop or smartphone.

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With this particular build, the DIY Perks team even powered a Playstation 5 and display while simultaneously charging a laptop, smartphone, and running several lights. Perhaps a tad overkill, but to be fair, if a photographer or videographer had a power pack like this on a remote set, they’d find a way to use every drop of juice it could offer

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