LATEST FEATURE: On Assignment: Ben Lurye

Monday, March 20, 2006

Lighting 101 - Ball Bungees

OK, can I tell you how much I am starting to like these things?

Being a guy, I realize I am genetically predisposed to liking bungee cords. But the thing about the ball bungees is that they have no metal hooks to scrape up your gear. Sweet.

Fellow Baltimore Sun photographer Karl Ferron turned me on to using bungees to secure a flash to a variety of things. On the rare occasion when I am caught without a light stand, these (and a little placement creativity) will get the job done in a pinch.

You just stretch it around whatever you want to fasten you flash to, aim the head, and start shooting. You can double them up for fastening flashes to thicker items, too.

They do double duty by holding my umbrella to my light stand when I am packing gear. They weigh next to nothing. They cost next to nothing - I paid $1.93 for a four-pack of 8" Ball Bungees (which is a very useful length) at WalMart. So get plenty.

They are good for fastening Pocket Wizards (we'll get to those soon) to a strobe, too.

Next: Umbrella Stand Adapters


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31 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

Ball Bungees can also be used to hold gels, gobo, snoot, flags whatever to the flash head instead of "hook/loop" material.

I'd also like to see your thoughts on using 'cinefoil' matte black aluminum foil for snoot, gobo. Idea from "Neal Turner's dg28.com" being able to create an unsual shape for snoot opening as an example pinching the middle to make a figure 8 to make separate pools of light from one flash.

May 25, 2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger ruimleal-photography.net said...

Anyone knows where to buy these in Europe? I've tried amazon but they are not selling to europe.
Thanks.

July 15, 2006 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Frank said...

What appears to be a very common item in the US is apparently unavailable in Europe. After reading an entry in the strobist flickr discussion group I think I found something (at the very least for Germany). Read more here ...

August 08, 2006 8:52 AM  
Anonymous James said...

one must be careful when using ball bungies. While shooting prep football at night in dismal low-light high school stadiums, I noticed all the red-eye that comes when using shoe mounted flash. I decided to try something: I attached my SC-17 TTL cord and placed my SB-800 lower on my monopod by about 20".

This story ends badly.

Attaching it to my monopod with a ball bungee damaged the glass LCD screen...Cracked it in two different vertical cracks. Spittin' mad? Yea...you might say so. I'm still stuck with a broken flash and the money I could have spent on a flash bracket is now going to the repair shop. BE CAREFUL.

Sick about it is

James

November 10, 2006 2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be an obvious result, now wouldn't it James?

I would have used a piece of rubber or styrofoam between the monopod and the flash unit.

There is no way I would treat my flash like that. I like my equipment to remain in pristine condition.

November 15, 2006 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Danny said...

Might be a good idea to simply use a Gorillapod SLR instead of the Superclamp and Ball Bungees ...

December 20, 2006 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bll Bungees are available in the UK I just bought 10 for £4.50 on Ebay. I tried to buy the ones in Germany but was told I had to make an order of 25 Euros 50 was far to many plus it would have cost another 10 euros postage. On Ebay post was free.

January 15, 2007 3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

much cooler than ball bungees:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairvillespannfix_in_schwarz_12_stueck.htm

and

http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_spannflex_50_cm_schwarz.htm

the last ones are similiar to california sunbounce's bungee snakes - but longer and much, much cheaper ;-)

Mario

May 03, 2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Martin Smith said...

Here's a UK supplier for ball bungees...

http://www.tarpaulinsdirect.co.uk/TarpaulinsSite/pages/category/category.asp?ctgry=TARPACCS_FASTEN&cookie%5Ftest=1

June 15, 2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to add that my local NJ Wal-mart carried these in the sporting section with the regular bungee cords. I spent 20 minutes browsing the store trying to figure out where they could be. So sports is a good first spot to check to save some time.

July 17, 2007 2:25 PM  
Blogger Scotdiver said...

Another UK source:

http://www.tarpaflex.co.uk/acatalog/product_shop2_accessories.htm

August 27, 2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks great on the picture but securing a flash with a bunge cord is like trying to catch a fish with a bare hand. It slips and slithers about like nobodys business.
Good to have in the bag but only use in a last resort.

Anon UK

Get them in the UK from

FlashGels.co.uk

December 17, 2007 11:07 AM  
Anonymous victor said...

Ball bungees are often used on boats for tying down sails. Boat shops are a good source of all sorts of tying down, hooking and fixing gear.

Watch out when undoing a tight ball bungee - the ball can fly around and get you in the eye. I've had that happen once and you don't let it happen a second time ;-)

December 28, 2007 7:55 AM  
Blogger Buzz said...

Hi all, I'm new to the site so apologies if this something that has appeared before.

You can buy a variety of bungee cord in lengths as long as you like, usually from a decent chandlers (marine supplies) then once you cut it to your desired length either: tie a nice knot - figure or double overhand or if you have the time and tools thread a wooden ball from a curtain shop onto it. Should cost you about the same price as buying one and you can make a range of sizes.

June 16, 2008 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Rob Mulligan said...

I Found these: www.bongoties.com, in my local Microcenter the other day. Too cool...
I'm learning a lot here at Strobist with a pretty short learning curve David.
Thanks for opening up a whole new world for me.

August 11, 2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For any other Canadians, this thread has good guidance on where to find these ball bungees: http://www.reality-check.ca/showthread.php?t=175362 . Sources include
Walmart (automotive, camping or sports sections)
Princess Auto
Canadian Tire
Home Depot (only in a big $20 pack)

October 25, 2008 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picked up some at Home Depot in CT. The language obfuscators are busy and now renamed them "Canopy Tarp Ties."

March 12, 2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger rededog284 said...

For those interested bungees balls can be aquired in sample packs of various sizes on Ebay. These are also sent worldwide.

March 12, 2009 2:45 PM  
Blogger David Kennedy said...

Ace hardware stores carry them as "Bungee cords with toggle balls." And there's a picture of a tarp on the packaging, similar to what Anonymous mentioned about the Home Depot in CT.

March 15, 2009 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Stevo said...

Is there any easy way to DIY one of these? Thoughts?

April 25, 2009 8:47 PM  
Anonymous WorldShooter said...

Found an 8 pack of 12" ball bungee cords (indeed the infamous "Canopy Tarp Ties", brand Joubert) at the Rope & Chain section of The Home Depot, for USD 5.47. For the fashion conscious: cords are black, balls are orange.

May 30, 2009 1:21 AM  
Blogger Danny Chandra said...

is 6" bungee cord safe enought to tie my nikon sb800? thanks

June 11, 2009 10:51 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

For those asking, I found this DIY:

http://lightingmods.blogspot.com/2009/05/diy-ball-bungee.html

June 17, 2009 12:56 PM  
Blogger John Tucker said...

Went to WM tonight and paid $4 for a 12-pk. of 10" ball bungees (red w/black ball). I guess they've grown in last three and a half years. LOL

November 20, 2009 12:50 AM  
Blogger Henrik said...

Looks like a good source in Germany:

www.schnurhaus-onlineshop.de

(I am not connected to them in any way)

April 13, 2010 4:32 AM  
Blogger Carla Simons said...

Victor said:
>>Watch out when undoing a tight ball bungee - the ball can fly around and get you in the eye. I've had that happen once and you don't let it happen a second time<<


i was using a regular bungee, but same thing happened. I fared less well, ended up losing my lens in my left eye and now have a custom-made contact as too much damage done to insert a fake lens (as they do after cataract surgery).
watch out for bungees! they serve a great purpose, just beware... the release can be dangerous!!

May 03, 2010 6:04 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

You got credited on the May 9th 2010 episode of D-Town TV. Specifically, the cheap shots segment with Larry Becker. Thought you might want a heads up.

July 19, 2010 4:37 PM  
Blogger Jelle d said...

These bungies are also used for camping (holding tentpoles) and sailing (holding the sail of a small sailingboat together) so you might as well trie these kind of shops in the EU

October 05, 2010 5:31 AM  
Blogger Franco said...

I know this article is a bit older but maybe it is a help for others who are looking for the Ball Bungees.

There are bungees for party tents at Amazon Germany.
Might be worth checking if something similar is available for your countries as well:

http://www.amazon.de/weiss-Zeltgummi-Gummi-Partyzelte-Camping/dp/B005KXV2WC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1322648987&sr=8-3

regards
Franco

November 30, 2011 5:41 AM  
Blogger Swifty said...

Just in case anyone is still looking for these in the UK, I have found there are plenty available nowadays from Amazon; in particular one variety is very similar to what David appears to have, found here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/BALL-BUNGEES-TARPAULIN-BUNGEE-TRAMPOLINE/dp/B003ODL5HM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_lp_1

March 09, 2013 1:54 PM  
Blogger Mia Hart said...

A ball bungee is seriously genius. My husband and I were moving a few months back and had to use bungee cords to keep our belonging safe in the back of my truck. Well long story short, one of the bungees came loose and ended up causing a huge scratch down the side of my truck. It would have been nice to use one of these.

Mia | http://www.nanstarps.com.au

March 14, 2014 3:12 PM  

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