How to fold a reflector

You’re packing up after a hard day of shooting. All your camera gear goes neatly back into its respective bags, but the reflector refuses to comply. You twist and turn it trying every possible method but the contraption simply refuses to be tamed and bagged. Eventually you do end up as the winner of this impromptu wrestle, but not before becoming a great source of entertainment for the rest of the crew. In this video, Eric Rossi shows you how you can tame the big bad round reflector in just four easy steps (and save yourself some embarrassment):

Step 1

Hold the reflector as you would normally do a steering wheel

Step 2

Take your right hand and flip it backwards. Your thumb should be sticking in front of the reflector with the other four fingers tucked behind it.

Flip your right hand so your palm is facing out.

Step 3

Twist the whole reflector until you make a figure 8. You should be using pressure with your right hand to push the reflector down to twist it.

Step 4

Tuck the whole thing together so that it transforms in to a smaller circle.

This process works equally well with larger reflectors. For really large ones, the first step should be to place the reflector on top of your foot. Use your foot to help pop it, and then follow steps 1 to 4.

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Consider the zero-offset seismic survey shown in Figure 1. This survey uses one source-receiver pair, and the receiver is always at the same location as the source. At each position, denoted by in the figure, the source emits waves and the receiver records the echoes as a single seismic trace. After each trace is recorded, the source-receiver pair is moved a small distance and the experiment is repeated.


Figure 1 Raypaths and wavefronts for a zero-offset seismic line shot above a dipping reflector. The earth’s propagation velocity is constant.

As shown in the figure, the source at S 2 emits a spherically-spreading wave that bounces off the reflector and then returns to the receiver at S 2 . The raypaths drawn between S i and R i are orthogonal to the reflector and hence are called normal rays .

These rays reveal how the zero-offset section misrepresents the truth. For example, the trace recorded at S 2 is dominated by the reflectivity near reflection point R 2 , where the normal ray from S 2 hits the reflector. If the zero-offset section corresponding to Figure 1 is displayed, the reflectivity at R 2 will be falsely displayed as though it were directly beneath S 2 , which it certainly is not. This lateral mispositioning is the first part of the illusion. The second part is vertical: if converted to depth, the zero-offset section will show R 2 to be deeper than it really is. The reason is that the slant path of the normal ray is longer than a vertical shaft drilled from the surface down to R 2 .

How to fold a reflector

Primitive cooking techniques, like roasting a piece of meat on a stick, can yield some incredibly delicious results. But if we are able to improvise something a little more sophisticated, our cooking options could be almost limitless. The reflecting oven is one of these camp cooking upgrades. These simple ovens catch the heat of a fire and focus it into a central baking area. In use for centuries, the reflectors can be any size, virtually any shape, and made from almost any new or cast off sheet metal. Here’s how to make one with some tin snips and a little ingenuity (and we recommend some leather gloves, too).

Gather Your Supplies
For its most basic incarnation, you’ll need some sheet metal, some snips to cut it, and a pan or grill to place inside the unit. For the one pictured, I “borrowed” an old cookie sheet from the kitchen (please don’t tell my missus). For larger and heavier units, I’d definitely recommend a drill and some pop rivets to secure the joints, or sheet metal screws—whichever you prefer.

Make Your Shapes
A simple wedge shaped reflector oven is the easiest to build. Fold a large rectangular piece of sheet metal in half to create the main piece. Then cut some 90 degree triangles to build the sides. If you’re good with sheet metal and have some specialized tools for it, this entire project will be a breeze. I just used the snips, my gloved hands, and cut some interlocking tabs to join the two triangles to the main piece.

Set It Up
The final bit is the easiest: just put it all together. I used several stones behind the unit to make it stand up by the fire (though integrated legs are better). I also used stones in the front to support the pan. More traditional set-ups involve holes in the side panels which allow you to use spits and skewers, and to place rods that would support a pan or grill. However you build it, just make sure that it is sturdy and able to stand up to the weight of the food—and the likelihood of being bumped by the cook.

Maintain Your Coals, and Cook
A large bed of coals is just what you need for baking in the reflector oven. Build up a large fire, allow it to go to coals, and then set your oven right next to it. You can also use coals and flames, when cooking forgiving foods like a roast on a spit.

Have you made something like this for your camp? Please share your plans and results by leaving a comment.