I was conscious of the anomaly of what I was doing but it was all for a good cause; I was trying to determine which of the new Mag Mod light shapers would be the best for event coverage. I had inveigled Chelsea Bunz - the Steampunk Absinthe Fairy - to come in and pose for head and shoulders shots with the IceLight 2 and Promaster LED 120 portable lights and I thought to take advantage of the chance for some Mag Mod experienmts. They were duly conducted but I am still in a quandary.
For those who came in late, the Mag Mod light shapers are designed to attach firms to portable speed lights and to give either colour, diffusion, or concentration for the flash. I want something that will let me front up to Steampunk patrons of Rigby's Bar in St. Geo. Tce when they have one of their Steampunk Balls and take well-lit portraits in a flash. I need to do full-length, half torso, and head and shoulders.
I most definitely don't want to do it with a tripod light stand or strange umbrella rig. I know this because I have tried it before and found out that in a crowded venue of people having fun, that kind of gear makes me a social menace. I need to be light, bright, and no tripod legs to trip up the dancers.
The Mag Mod Dome is the translucent mushroom. It attaches magnetically to any speed light and provides what can best be described as a bare-bulb effect. Gorgeous in a small room - the light goes everywhere and nothing gets too much of a hot spot. I would choose it unquestioningly for areal estate coverage. The pros in that game know their own lighting better than I do l but I still think the bare-bulb is the way to go.
The other choice - the Poop Scoop - has a more dignified name; Mag Bounce. I know my readers, and I am willing to bet a number of you will ask for this product by the name Poop Scoop. The manufacturers can gnash their teeth...Australians are Australians and this sort of thing happens... It does not detract from the useful nature of the device.
I find it delightful. Bigger than the translucent mushroom, and slightly more daunting in appearance, it casts a harder front of light out to the subject - witness the slightly harder shadow behind Chelsea - but there is still a some illumination that escapes upwards and backwards through the white silicone shroud, and this bounces off walls and ceilings. If the Stay-Puft man was a photographer, it would bounce off him. The fact that it projects more may be the deciding factor for open events.
The joyous thing about the Poop Scoop is the fact that Mag Mod have put two sets of samarium magnets in it at 90º to each other. You can run the speed light sideways and still project out the front of the camera. This means you can alternate between portrait and landscape orientation with a twist of your left wrist. If you're shooting a prime lens with auto focus you never need shift hands to fumble for anything. Just run and gun.
The other joyful thing is that if the event you are covering - Steampunk Ball, family dinner, or wedding - turns violent, and you have to make a run for it...The Mag Mod accessories are mostly made of soft flexible silicone rubber. You can squash them up and stuff them into your pocket as you scuttle for the door.