Exposure – Diffusion Disk for Light Control

Often the sun doesn’t cooperate with us. The problem is typically one of contrast extremes – dark shadows contrasted with bright overblown highlights, a situation that our eyes can deal with but a camera’s sensor (or film) can not. What do we do?

  • Come back when the light is better, or
  • Control the contrast range, or
  • Try HDR as discussed previously.

Controlling the contrast range over a small area is easy. If you’re in the forest, forget about it – come back another time. To control the contrast in a small area, you can use a diffusion disk. Shown below is a 5 in one collapsible disk. The diffusion part is the semi-transparent whitish portion. The outer portion is a reversible cover that serves as a reflector (black, white, gold, silver) when installed over the diffuser portion. The entire kit & caboodle folds up into the carrying case at lower left. One could improvise this.

To use it, you simply position it between the light source and the subject. Farther away from the subject causes a deeper shade; closer provides a more natural light but diffused (evenly distributed). An example of with/without is shown below in a pair of bluebell photos I made last spring to demo why one should have such a disk in their bag of tricks.

This post is inspired by comments I made on two posts today by Phillis whose images could have benefited from one of these.

These two images were made seconds apart. The sole difference is that the diffusion disk was used for the top image.