Taking Control of a Cheap Macro Ring Flash

Warning: this project requires opening the body of a strobe/flash unit containing a capacitor that holds enough charge at a high enough voltage to stop your heart if you discharge it through yourself. Therefore don’t try to follow this modification unless you have enough knowledge of electrical engineering to do it safely. There’s no doubt that a ring flash is a useful bit of kit for getting reasonably even illumination for close up work when …

Flexible Strobe Trigger

Where can you get hold of a flexible trigger unit for a portable strobe? I’ve got a few of these type of units, but the trouble with them is that if the key strobe unit is set to low power and the sensor isn’t in direct line of sight the firing of the receiver unit can range from fairly ‘hit and miss’ to entirely ‘miss’. This can get very frustrating. Separating the sensor from the …

Safe Sync Unit

You may have heard that old flash guns and heads shouldn’t be used with modern DSLRs, because their sync voltage (i.e. the voltage across the hot shoe or sync connector) can be very high. Tens of volts on the sync connections were common, but in some cases the voltages were in the hundreds. To find out the voltage level of an old flash unit a good place to start is here: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html, preferably followed by …

Photogate Camera/Flash Trigger

If you’ve ever tried to capture splash shots of objects dropping into a glass tank of water you’ll know that catching the action at the right moment is very hit or miss (mostly miss in my case). While it’s something that you probably get better at with practice the hit ratio is still likely to be pretty low, meaning lots of mopping up and tank glass cleaning between shots with nothing useful captured. To increase …

Arduino Drop Controller

I did a 365 photo project a few years ago in a bid to improve my photography by actually taking more pictures. As the first and last quarters of the project covered the times of year when the hours of daylight are limited at these latitudes and the weather (even in the summer) is often not conducive to trying to shoot outside, I spent a lot of time doing indoor shots. One of the recurring …