If shooting through a car windshield, window, or any type of glass, it can be difficult to reduce the amount of reflection that ends up in your image. That's why filmmakers use lens hoods and matte boxes. But what if you're shooting on a smartphone?
Last year, the Ultimate Lens Hood turned heads thanks to its flexible rubber lens hood that allowed shooters to put their cameras up to a glass panel and block out all reflections while shooting.
Well, this year, they're back with version 2.0, a more mobile-centric model, and it looks like a few lessons have been applied to the new design.
It looks like there's a newer design that makes the ULH 2.0 more user-friendly. There are two basic models this time around, the ULH Go and the ULH Mobile. The ULHGo is designed for use with DSLR and mirrorless cameras and a smaller 50mm opening to fit it around smaller lenses. The thinking here is that most behind-the-glass shots will require smaller, wider angle lenses, and as such, a smaller opening is required.
The ULHMobile is designed to fit on top of your favorite smartphone and is a direct answer for mobile filmmakers and photographers who want to use their smartphones in the same capacity. The design of the ULH mobile is a bit stiffer and more "plunger" like, and has a clip attachment to affix it to your smartphone. There's no need for a special case or mount, it just clips on. And the wider 30mm opening means you can use it with multi-camera arrays, like the new iPhone 11 Pro.
Both are made of silicone and can mold to the shape of curved glass. They are designed to be more "travel-friendly," with an anti-static coating, and can compress into a super-thin disc for storage inside a camera bag or backpack.
As a photographer, one of my favorite things to do is visit the Air Space Museum in LA and take pictures of the historic Apollo and Gemini space capsules that are on display. You can get up really close to them because they are floor displays, rather than put up in the rafters or behind some sort of barrier. This gives space history fans a really up close and personal experience with these historical artifacts.
But the problem is, that they're incased in plexiglass housings, which cause a bevy of reflections that prevent getting a decent photograph of the interior cockpits or around the capsules themselves. I love shooting this stuff, but up until last year, I had nothing but a bunch of reflections getting in the way. Then Josh Smith showed up on Kickstarter with the Ultimate Lens Hood and for the first time, I saw an opportunity to change the game...to make that housing invisible so I could get a good shot of the interior.
So, I backed it on Kickstarter and about six months later, I was back at the museum giving it a good test. And it worked exactly as advertised. But the rubber accordion-style design proved a bit unwieldy depending on what lens you were using. I still have it, though, and have managed to use that flimsiness to my advantage when shooting with my mobile device and Moment lenses. It works and works well.
Currently, in the crowdfunding phase, the ULH 2.0 has already reached nearly $100K with 21 days still remaining. This time, since Smith has already been down the crowdfunding development road, you can bet that the turnaround time will be a lot faster. Smith promises to ship by next month. Backers can pick up the ULH Go camera model starting at around $22 US, and the ULG Mobile for around $15 US. A bundle of both will cost around $34. There's also a $5 international fee to ship to the US.
Better hurry though; almost all of the reserved early bird models have been backed, and you're one less since I just bought mine!
Check it out here.