I've been researching methods for photographing wildlife on my upcoming vacation to Costa Rica. There's no telling what kind of creatures that may cross my field of view. No doubt, however, that many will be a good distance away in the shadows of the forest canopy.

One of the items I kept coming across when researching techniques for taking photos of birds or monkeys in the canopy was a "Flash Extender". The most common being one called the Better Beamer. Turns out that this is nothing more than a fresnel lens on a bracket. I thought, hey, I can do that!

So I purchased a $2.50 fresnel reading lens at Barnes & Nobles and got to tinkering with some cardboard. I knew that cardboard by itself would be too flimsy, so I added some ridgity with some origami-style folded ribs and somewhat embarrassingly: McDonald's milkshake straws.

The results, however, appear to be as acceptable as those of the $40 model. Its lightweight, foldable and cost me a whopping $2.50!

The idea of the flash extender is pretty simple, some may recognize the concept. Its been used for over 150 years in lighthouses.

  No GFE, ISO400, 70mm f/4, 1/60 sec With GFE, IEO400, 70mm f/4, 1/60 sec