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Flashgun technologies have come a long way since Vivitar first rattled the world with thyristor circuits on their venerable 285 speedlite. Today, advanced circuitry can slice and dice your flash exposure into exacting portions to light your subject regardless of its level of reflectivity.
Basically, if you can focus on your subject, the flash can do the math and expose it properly. Which leaves us with the final frontier, namely, how can we tame and tweak the light source?
ExpoImaging (of ExpoDisc fame) has introduced a line of light-shaping tools that enable you to break away from the "shotgun blast" look of shoe-mounted flashguns. While most flashguns feature flash heads that tilt and/or swivel for bouncing the flash from ceilings or adjacent walls, there are times when the ceilings and walls are too high or out of reach for effective bounced light. And even if they are within reach, if they're not white, they're pretty much useless. Enter the ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBenders. Available in three configurations, the Rogue Bendable Bounce Card/Flag, Large Positional Reflector and Small Positional Reflector, each of these light-shaping tools should prove to be invaluable for squeezing the max out of your flashgun.
ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBenders are manufactured from tough, neutrally-colored Codura nylon and are fastened to your flashgun with hook and loop fastener. Highly flexible, they can be molded to fit any flashgun into any number of shapes to "mold"' the light to fit your needs. And unlike other flash-mounted light modifiers, ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBenders can be flattened out for easy storage and transport.
Another company offering portable solutions for modifying the output of flashguns is Aurora, which offers a selection of Mini/Max light-shaping tools individually as well as in kit form. For those seeking softbox effects, Aurora offers the Mini/Max 6x8" BHB Soft Box and Mini/Max 3.5x4.75 QLB Soft Box. Both of the mini lightboxes strap onto your flashgun to a create soft, diffused light source that softens shadows and highlights on your subject. Along with a neutral color temperture, both lightboxes fold up flat for easy storage and transport.
Another set of flashgun diffusing tools from Aurora are the Aurora Mini/Max 5x6" QBC Bounce Card and Mini/Max 10.5x7.5" FBC Bounce Card, both of which feature neutral white bounce surfaces for creating soft, diffused lighting effects.
If you want to narrow the spread of your light source, the Aurora Mini/Max 8x3" SS Snoot allows you to taper the angle of your flashgun to more of a "spot-like" angle of illumination. As with the Mini/Max Softboxes and Bounce Cards, the SS Snoot attaches to any flashgun with flexible straps and folds flat for safe storage. The above items are also available in kit form from Aurora. The Aurora Mini/Max Accessory Kit #1 contains a Mini/Max 6x8" BHB Soft Box, a Mini/Max 10.5x7.5" FBC Bopunce Card, and a Mini/Max 8x3" SS Snoot Bounce, and the Aurora Accessory Kit #2 contains a Mini/Max 3.5x4.75" QLB Soft Box, a Mini/Max 10.5x7.5" FBC Bounce Card, and a Mini/Max 8x3" SS Snoot Bounce.
Lastly, for those who already own small softboxes from other manufacturers, Aurora has the Mini/Max Z-Bracket, which allows you to attach your flashgun, softbox and battery pack to a 5/8"-tipped light stand.