Getting Drunk And Using A Gary Fong Lightsphere

on December 24, 2015

Okay. You're reading this. That headline got you. I knew it would. Read on and see what the connection is.

Note: if you are going to be all awkward about the drunk bit, substitute barley water and improving tracts if you wish - the Gary Fong advice still applies.

The Gary Fong Lightsphere is a device that has undergone a number of development changes. Early versions were made in two grades; clear and cloudy - and you had to pick the exact model to fit your speed light. Our shop had to stock about eight of them to service all customers. It was a beeping night- mare to get the right diffuser to the right customer.

Things have changed. Gary saw the light ( ! ) and got his factory mates to make a universal diffuser that not only fit all comers but was made in flexible plastic to fold down upon itself. It could be used for a whole new range of speed lights.

The basic idea of the Lightsphere is to fire the blast of flash light vertically into a roughly spherical translucent ball and let it spill out and make optical friends from there. If the flash was connected to a camera via some sort of TTL coupling, the light that spilled out of the front of the accessory illuminated the subject while the stuff that went out in an annular pattern and up to the ceiling was weakened but still contributed to the look of the image. You got a softened effect on the main subject and adequate illumination of their surroundings. All in one shot with one flash on or near the camera. A real boon to event photographers who did not have the luxury of complex light set-ups.

Weddings. Dances. Concerts. Environmental portraits that have to be done with minimal preparation. Not perfect but better than straight blast-flash. Absolutely better than no-flash and f:1.4 and hope that it looks like art...

It is the equivalent of being drunk and still competent. You might not be able to operate a nuclear power station or do brain surgery but you can still turn on the lights or put on a band-aid.

And sometimes that is exactly what the situation requires. Gary Fong. Making people look good the easy way.