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                   Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 6:07PM

Photo reflector panel: be prepared when opening!

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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The reflector/stand kit arrived today, and while I ordered the large version, I didn't pay that much attention to the actual dimensions. I just knew I wanted the larger size. Anyway, I opened the box to find the reflector was packed inside a small circular pouch about the size of a small pizza pan. That looks awfully small to be the large size reflector, I was thinking.

I figured it was probably folded a time or two to fit in there, though since I had never handled one of these I didn't know what to expect. When I pulled the small disc out of the pouch, in a split second it exploded into this beast!

Notice the size of the pouch on the floor compared to the reflector. Remember the spring-loaded "snakes in a can" prank, same type of thing. It turns out the frame is a high-tension spring-loaded tube that opens the reflector to full size (instantly!) when it is removed from the case. I was not quite ready for that.

For what I paid for this, it definitely exceeded my expectations, mainly for being about twice the size as I envisioned. The reflector itself is nearly 5 feet tall, lightweight and has five interchangeable surfaces: gold, white, silver, translucent white (for use as a diffusion scrim) and black (for flagging or negative fill). Some of the stand hardware feels a little cheap, though admittedly it doesn't really have to hold much weight. This thing is essentially an entire second light fixture, assuming the role of fill light by using reflected light from the key. If you're wondering, the wrinkles in the reflector surface are supposed to be there - you don't want a mirror-smooth surface on one of these.

I may be able to give this a test run this weekend if I can find some willing subjects. The problem with lighting is that it's hard to practice by yourself - it's much easier if you have an assistant that can act as the subject, sitting still while you make adjustments.

We have similar, a bit smaller, try the gold on a portrait subject, nice effect, deff a good lighting tool. By the way you didn't mention in your post, how did you get on putting it back in the bag ?
- Posted by Mick from UK
It didn't come with instructions, so I had to Google how to put it back in the pouch! You have to grab both ends and turn your hands 180 degrees in opposite directions. It goes right back into the small circular shape! Here is a nice YouTube demonstration. It was easy but I never would have figured it out on my own.
- Posted by Dan R. from Charleston, WV

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