Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Lightbox

It started raining here on Tuesday the 15th, and didn't completely stop until yesterday.    Well, I lived awhile in Germany & I remember there were times when it would rain for weeks, so a week shouldn't seem so bad.  But this is North Carolina, and I'm no longer used to weeks long deluges.   Apparently it's still not over, but it is winding down.  And further south, in Georgia, it's much, much worse. 

The week long rain also forced my hand, forced me to do something that I had avoided doing for a couple of years.   It made me realize that I cant count on natural light to take my pictures for my eBay listings.  I didn't realize how much I did depend on it, until there wasn't enough for a long period of time.   I cannot use a flash to take these pictures - most of the time they reflect & obscure the subject.   I cannot use regular lights, because it casts a yellowish glow which the camera picks up.  Sometimes I can fiddle around with photo editing and get it looking pretty close to normal, but the more you have to do that the worse it is.   Also, if there is not enough light, all the photo editing that I have available to me will not do any good.   The item will not look normal.

For 8 straight days now, there has not been enough light, and there probably won't be tomorrow. It makes it hard to add new items, something I'm used to doing everyday.  So, I thought a lightbox may be in order, and I found the cheapest one I could that I thought would do the job & placed an order.  It arrived yesterday, in a very large UPS truck, down the very same driveway the post office won't come down in their much smaller vehicles because they say there's no place to turn around.  Right.

You can actually build a simple lightbox fairly easily, but you have to get special light bulbs.  The kind that don't emit yellow light I suppose.  I'm not very good at building things - even simple things.

So I practiced a little last night, and used it for real this morning.   It's a simple, portable contraption, came with 2 lamps and terrible instructions.   And I'm finding that there are a lot of permutations.  For example, there are 4 backgrounds - white, red, blue and black, so the first choice is, which one to use.  Each of these backgrounds have 2 sides, one is kind of flat, and the other is a little reflective - you can use either side, so there's another choice.  And then there is the placement of the lamps, how the light is cast and/or reflected.  

If I were a mathematician, I'd figure out how many possibilities there were for each picture.  If I were methodical, I'd keep notebook entries for each picture I took of an item, then determine which of the possible permutations was best.   If I were a frog and had wings, my tail wouldn't bump the ground.

So, I just play around, and I manage, and as time goes on I'll get better at using it.   It has potential, I got some good pictures this morning.


Patti Anne said...

Re the frog comment, only if you remembered to use the wings.

I like the lightbox. It should make lots of things easier to photograph.

A Valdese Blogger said...

PA: If frogs start getting wings, then we need to look at what our neighbors who live up the creek think is appropriate to dump in it.