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The Gary Fong WhaleTail Flash Diffuser
by J. Ramon Palacios

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Nikonian in Mexico

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» The Tale of the Tail
  Summary and Conclusions
Related articles
  GaryFong Lightsphere II System

The Tale of the Tail

Complex lighting situations requiring light balancing were already largely solved with the Gary Fong Lightsphere System II. CLOUD for warm close-ups; CLEAR for wide spaces, groups and cooler portraits; CLOUD with CHROME dome for higher ceilings and further reach; CLOUD with AMBER dome for tungsten light balancing. No more dark areas, shadows under the eyes, or red-eye, with pleasing natural look - no "deer-under-the-headlights" effect or hot spots. So it was quite a surprise when Gary told us he was launching a newer product. What for? was our first question.

Gary Fong Light Diffusion Systems
GaryFong Lightsphere II Clear, WhaleTail Reporter and Lightsphere II Cloud

The series below was made from a Nikon D2X set at P program mode (sorry, it was too early in the morning) and matrix metering. The lens is a 28-70mm f/2.8D ED AF-S Nikkor. The speedlight, a single SB-800 hotshoe mounted on camera with five fresh Energizer batteries, set at i-TTL. ISO 100, resulting in 1/60 sec f/4 exposures. White Balance on AUTO. Color space sRGB (I). No levels nor curves adjustments were made except for D-Lightening on Nikon Capture 4.4.2. The model, my elder grandson landing with a tan from a week at the beach.

test shot 1
Test shot 2
Test shot 3
Front and back flaps down
Front flap down back flap up
The two flaps down in front
Position 1
Position 2
Position 3
This flaps combination diffuses direct light into the subject and the light bouncing from the ceiling
While diffusing direct harsh light into the subject, increases the light bouncing from the ceiling
Diffuses, softens and warms up the light into the subject while still bouncing light from the ceiling
test shot 4
test shot 5
test shot 6
GF LightSphere II CLOUD
Upwards with white dome
GF LightSphere II CLOUD
Upwards with no dome
GF LightSphere II CLOUD
Bounced into the wall

So this short session was one of delightful discovery, understanding Gary Fong's reply to our question: "Flexibility." The WhaleTail adds flexibility to the intensity and quality of light, both to the direct and the indirect bounced light. Nice! And you can do it with just the flipping up or down of the flaps in several combinations.

The WhaleTail renders warmth into the skin, somewhere between the Lightsphere CLEAR and the Lightsphere CLOUD.

How the WhaleTail compares to other diffusers is next.

  More about the Gary Fong WhaleTail...»
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