This odd accessory helps photographers shoot through glass with less glare

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Josh Smith

Shooting through glass is often a photographic nightmare, with any lights behind you creating a glare on the final image. But could a giant flexible lens hood allow photographers to shoot glare- and filter-free? Ultimate Lens Hood (ULH) is a stretchable silicon hood that blocks the light from behind the camera, eliminating the reflections in images shot from high rises or through aquarium tanks.

The ULH is probably the strangest-looking lens hood yet, but the large, stretchy design is what allows the hood to block out the light that creates reflections when shooting through glass. While polarizing filters can also help cut glare, the filters also reduce the light coming through the camera, making the filters difficult to use in low lighting. The UHL cuts the reflections without using a filter that cuts the amount of light coming in through the lens.

ultimate lens hood kickstarter ulh b a
Josh Smith

Besides cutting reflections when shooting through glass, the creator of the UHL says the stretchy hood will also work like a typical lens hood to reduce lens flares during the day. The UHL’s stretchy silicon design also gives the UHL a few other uses, including reversing the hood to protect the camera from splashes.

The UHL stretches over the front of the lens (or a traditional rigid lens hood), a feature that allows the hood to fit multiple lens sizes. The UHL comes in two sizes, the original designed to fit lenses sized at 60mm or more and a UHLmini for lenses smaller than 60mm, including point-and-shoot cameras, smaller Micro Four Thirds lenses, and smartphone lenses.

The UHL was developed by Josh Smith, a product designer from the U.K. with three previous Kickstarter projects under his belt. The 24-year-old says the idea for the ULH came when he was trying to photograph the view from observation decks in Tokyo.

A Kickstarter campaign is aiming to fund the final development and manufacture for the stretchy lens hood. The campaign passed the original goal in two days and will continue through Aug. 10. If the project is successful, early backers can pick up a mini for about $20 or a full-sized hood for about $40, with shipping expected in October.

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