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My Cookie Gun
copyright 2007 Keith Loh
Last night I created what is called (or what I call) a cookie gun. This is a zoom lens mounted on the front of a strobe (flash) with a slide or other transparency design stuck between the lens and the flash. This creates a projection of that slide (called "a cookie" or "kookie") onto whatever surface the flash falls on, creating the image you see above. This isn't a new invention and there are lots of variations on it. If the diagram below isn't clear to you, I will tell you how to make it.
- a zoom lens you no longer have use for, one with manual controls is ideal since then you can control aperture on the lens as well. The more telephoto the zoom, the farther away your flash can be. However, a wider zoom then lets you project a larger image. I used a 28-80mm in my first design above because that is a spare one I had on hand.
- Drainpipe connector or anything that allows you to attach the zoom lens to your flash. I went to Home Depot for that drainpipe connector which also happened to fit the mount of the zoom lens nicely. Since this is my first design, I didn't permanently mount anything.
- Something to attach the connector and the lens to your flash. In the design above, I bungied the whole thing to the flash. The tension and elastic keeps it all fairly secure, though I wouldn't want to do a 100 metre dash with it.
- the cookie / kookie: you need something transparent with a design that you can somehow put between the flash and the zoom lens. Some people use slides (though I've been advised that the flash will melt the slide), but in this case I made my own by laserprinting a design onto a transparency (acetate) of the kind used for overhead presentations. The acetate, with a bit of trimming, slid right into the gel slot of the Sunpak 36D. Remember, light passes through clear.
(If you don't put a cookie between the flash and the lens you will have created a snoot that you can focus and zoom in and out. That in itself is pretty cool.)
The rest is very easy. Glue or tape the zoom lens onto the connector, then use a ball bungee to strap the gun onto the flash.
Set the flash on high power. This is because you will lose a lot of light due to having to shoot through the cookie and the lens elements. Obviously, if you are farther away, you will need more power.
Start blasting away on a wall, on your face, anything that is somewhat flat. Recognize that the cookied flash should be perpendicular to the surface. Think film projector. Obviously if the 'projector screen' was angled away, the image would be distorted. Experiment!
For version 2 I will be getting a more telephoto manual zoom and then I will be thinking of permanently mounting the zoom onto the drainpipe connector. -or- I might try and make a proper mount that allows you to screw on different lenses.
Others have made cookie guns out of 50mm primes and bellows lenses to great effect.
Update: the Strobist discussion on my mod is yielding some very interesting suggestions for v2.
More pictures with the Cookie Gun
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