Testing Gadgets

Earlier this summer I started putting together a waterproof housing for an off camera flash. My design was an adaption of THIS device that was posted on STROBIST a long while ago. I had a bunch of ideas for things to do with it, mostly involving wake/surf but this summer has been difficult in regards to shooting that kind of stuff. So, I've been itching to use this thing and I finally had a perfect opportunity a couple weeks ago. Every year my family has a family reunion weekend  in northern Wisconsin and there is a famous rope swing that affords some sweet action shot opportunities. This would be perfect to test out this new housing. I actually tried to do the same thing last year with some plastic bags, but that didn't work out very well. #deadflash. The actual construction of the unit was fairly simple, the supplies cost around $25, and took less than an hour to build. I used 3" pipe and fittings, a 12" section of pipe fits a flash and pocket wizard with ease.  The goal was to make a rugged, waterproof unit that was affordable, and not too bulky.  Because I used 3" pipe, some larger flashes will not fit (vivitar 283/285 some canons, sb-900. If you plan on using any of these flashes then you should be using 4" pipe and pack it with some foam chunks for a snug fit. It is also important to note that this device is intended for surface use and not for underwater photography. If you plan on using it under the surface you will need to devise some fitting so you can use a hard sync, as radio triggers are useless under water. You also want to make sure you use solid pvc, as most of the large diameter pipe sold at home centers is cell core and won't handle the pressure.

I improved on the original design by adding removable/interchangeable pistol grip/ (1/4-20) mount for increased adaptability. The handle is made out of 3/4" pvc sheet. I drew a pattern for the grip freehand, cut it out with a jig saw and finished the edges with a spindle sander and router. I mounted a section of the same pvc used for the body of the housing to my drill press covered with medium sand paper to contour the mounting surface of the grip fit tightly with the body of the housing. The handle is held on with a pair of 1/4-20 bolts, sealed with neoprene washers and some silicone grease. I rough cut the window from a sheet of 1/4" lexan and temporarily attached it the the end of the tube with carpet tape (diy essential) I then finished the edge using a router with a copy bit, using the tube as a guide. This ensured that the window is the exact diameter as the tube. I hope all of this makes sense, I was planing on putting together a step by step how-to on this project but I was in a rush to get it done. I will be building several more of these in the near future, so look for more detailed photos and maybe a video soon.

To load the unit you remove the LDPE cap in the rear and slide the flash in head first. Do to the tight fit, I use a hot shoe adapter to attach the sync cord to the flash, depending on where the sync port is on your flash you may be able to omit this part. Then the pocket wizard is loaded and foam disks are inserted to take up any remaining space. The treads are cleaned and have silicone grease applied (available from dive shops) to ensure a tight seal. The shots below speak to the possible results.