What the Hell Is That?

The Blaster with Nikon 17-55mm and SB-28
It’s called The Blaster. It’s a goofy lighting tool that I picked up a little while back and have just started to play with. In theory it sounds really fun, in practice it’s going to take some time to figure out the quirks.

Here’s how it works: The Blaster is basically a lens mount, slide tray and speedlight holder. Attach a lens (It comes standard with Canon mount, in my case I need the Nikon adapter) load a 35mm slide transparency in the holder, jam your speedlight into the other end, and start blasting with your radio triggers. It’s a pretty basic idea but the possibilities are intriguing; Project an image over your subject with the power of a strobe which will allow you to freeze action and control ambient light. I don’t know of any other consumer lighting gear that would make this possible.

There are some quirks and variables, though, and plenty of them. There are no real guidelines as to what focal length of lens, aperture, or focus point to use. It’s all just shoot, correct, tweak, adjust, until you get it where you want it. Also depending on the lens and focal length, there is a limit to how far you can move the Blaster away from the subject and still maintain focus. Overall, it’s a fun tool that I could see using for portraits, or action work like my dancer series.

Blaster Lighitng Tool and Nikon lens with SB-28 Speedlight

Above, I used the slide that came with the kit and aimed the Blaster at my dining room lamp and wall. The lens was set to 55mm, aperture is wide open at 2.8. Speedlight is at 1/4 power and zoomed at 50mm. An interesting effect. And yes, I know it’s sideways.

Below, I pulled the lens back to around 20mm and zoomed the speedlight to 70mm at full 1/1 power, and flooded my hallway with an old slide I shot of a sunset. This is where I see some great possibilities. The below photos are only a single light source and I could see adding some shaped light from the edges to isolate the subject. Hmmm…

Blaster Strobe tool lighting test with sunset slide image
As for the name The Blaster? I think they could have done a lot better. Maybe the “Awesomator” or the “Radifier.” I dunno. The Blaster just doesn’t say enough to me.

Follow along for more oddball lighting tests as I experiment with my Awesomator: Tweet me, Like me, or follow my trail on Intstagram.


All photos © 2014 Gary Allard, All rights reserved


  1. by Timm Eubanks on March 21, 2014  3:34 pm Reply

    Interesting. I see some great possibilities here. Have fun!

  2. by udi on March 25, 2014  8:30 am Reply

    Hi Gary,
    Udi from Spiffy gear here - we make the light blaster. will definitely consider awesomator for V2 :)

    I would love to see this used in your cancer series, do send a mail if that ever happens.

    my very best,

    • by Gary Allard on March 25, 2014  8:56 am Reply

      Thanks, Udi! I'll be sure to keep you posted on my Light Blaster Awesomator experiments. Thanks for a great product!

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