And it is not usually a good thing to admit to love for a floppy rubber object – at least not in polite company. But I will go so far as to say I have fallen in love with the Mag Mod Scoop light reflector.
It started out with a visit to the camera store and the sight of a new toy on the rack – a weird -looking white rubber wind scoop. Kind of like a urinal fixture on a small-scale. It was stuck onto the end of a speedlight – much as you see in the heading image*. It fastened to the flash with a pair of powerful magnets and had the unique ability to do so in two positions – 90º from each other. It meant that a flash head could be turned at right angles to the axis of the lens but still fire forward.
It turned out to be made of white silicone rubber and could fold down into a small ball to be thrust into a pocket or camera bag…and then clapped onto the speedlight whenever you needed soft forward light.
In the old days ( Elvis, dinosaurs…) I used Graflex and Heiland flashes with 5″ or 7″ reflectors and got a strong beam of light out of the front for press work. The blast of the press 25 bulb was still softened by that large reflector and I came to appreciate the modelling that could be achieved. This was spoiled when the electronic flash tubes in small 1″ or 2″ reflectors took over. Light from these was bright but hard and eyes and chins were shadowing out. And most schemes for softening it turned out to be ergonomically impossible in the heat of quick shooting.
But now we’ve got a fast-response reflector that even allows a little spill back into the rest of the environment to increase surround light. It is like having an old optical friend back. I’ll be using it more and more in the future.
There is a second cousin to this from the same company that is shaped like a translucent rubber mushroom. It will also soften things but will be more of a bare-bulb effect. This will probably be perfect for interiors and really big groups. I hope I can find a flash with increased power to use it.
- The flashes are on the set of The Little Theatre during summer break.