Can light from bounce card be softened more?!

Started Oct 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
OP denny2020 Contributing Member • Posts: 805
Re: Diffusion vs. softness

Thanks for the explanation Barrie. Makes total sense. Thanks again.

Barrie Davis wrote:

tyoung wrote:

denny2020 wrote:

I was just looking at the Demb Diffuser design with the clear mount
diffuser and was wondering if the clear mount actually does anything
to the light after it comes off the bounce card. Thanks in advance.

Yes, it spreads the light coming off of the reflector at a somewhat
wider angle, providing some additional diffusion, particularly in
cases where there aren't any larger surfaces to provide bounce

Yes. Diffusion will spread the bounced light over a wider area, as
well as reduce its strength to perhaps 50% of the original bounce

However, spreading light around does not, of itself, soften the edges
of shadows cast by that light. Only making the lightsource larger can
do that.

That said, it happens that diffusing sometimes appears to soften
shadows by just lightening them. In fact...

(pay attention, now...)

.... it is light that has bounced into the subject shadows... from
being spread by the diffuser on to surrounding surfaces... that
happen to be light enough toned to... reflect useful amounts of light
back to the subject.

(phew! Sorry that was such a long sentence. I hope breaking it up a
bit was helpful.)

This "spreading around and hoping for bounce-back from surroundings"
is how the popular Omnibounce devices work -- and the reason they
don't work out of doors where there are no ceilings or walls.
However, even when used where they are effective, you will see the
important "shadow transitions" are as sharp edged as if the
Omnibounce was not used at all....

This is because the Omnibounce is no larger than the original flash

Conclusion: If you want to make shadows "softer edged" (which is what
people usually mean when they say 'softer').. then making the
lightsource physically larger, or moving the lightsource closer so
that it is effectively larger ... are the only ways that work to do

Diffusion by itself, whilst often useful, is different in its
effects..... unless it ALSO makes the light source larger by some

I hope this helps, and that I have not made a simple principle
difficult by over-explaining it.

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