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Thread: Light table - Rob's version!

  1. #1

    Light table - Rob's version!

    Inspired by Colin's light table for portraits, I thought I'd try my own version - on the cheap. I turned one of my studio lamps towards the ceiling and balanced a sheet of white semi-transparent acrylic on top. Obviously, the amount of light from the flash head will be reduce, but there is still plenty to illuminate fom underneath. I used a Canon flash gun on a light stand, and fitted with a diffuser, to get the top light. Here is the setup. You can see the light coming through from the modelling lamp underneath the acrylic.

    C&C welcome on any of these.

    Light table - Rob's version!

    I tried a Lily flower, cut from the stem, and just resting on the acrylic. The light from underneath had to be balanced with the light coming from the overhead flash-gun and that did take some time to get right.

    Light table - Rob's version!

    For this one I turned the flower upside-down (see the setup shot above) and used the same lighting. Then, in CS5 I rotated the shot to give the impression that I had shot it from underneath, but it has good lighting. I thought that was pretty sneaky!

    Light table - Rob's version!

    For this final one I turned off the lights, and the acrylic sheet provided a very good reflection of the subject. This was also a stacked image - three manual focus shots stacked in CS5.

    Light table - Rob's version!

  2. #2

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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    I think, I would have used a flower that wasn't white just to make (I am trying to word this right, so bear with my rambling) a less significant line of demarcation from the white of the flower and the white of the acrylic plate. I am thinking the line which occurs with the two lightbulbs having a go with each other, is due to the stacking, not the light.
    For whatever reason, in the second flower, there is a clearly defined color separation which I think must come from having more flower on the acylic surface with no shadow.
    When I saw Colin's explanation of hsi setup, I came to the same idea version as you did, though without benefit of that type of strobe. I still think I can do it with a regualr flash unit and a scrim device of some kind...I will look into it over the holiday break...WHICH CAN'T COME TOO SOON...sorry, this is a stressful time of the year.

  3. #3
    wilgk's Avatar
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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Hang in there Chris! - we shut up shop at our school yesterday
    and Rob I really really like the sneaky one....maybe a reflection of the viewer

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Clever stuff Rob.
    How powerful are your studio heads? I'm just intrigued as to how much you have to turn down the power to get shots like that.

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    Skitalez's Avatar
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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Really a lot of a useful in 'such' pictures of workplace! Cognitively!
    Lump - a bomb!

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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Hang in there Chris! - we shut up shop at our school yesterday
    and Rob I really really like the sneaky one....maybe a reflection of the viewer
    I still have three days left....ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    How powerful are your studio heads? I'm just intrigued as to how much you have to turn down the power to get shots like that.
    If it's any help, I have one of my Elinchrom 1200RX heads at minimum power when I'm shooting models with my light table - and I STILL end up having to shoot in the region of F16.

  8. #8

    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    Clever stuff Rob.
    How powerful are your studio heads? I'm just intrigued as to how much you have to turn down the power to get shots like that.
    Only 100W. Quite pathetic really, but they work well for table-top stuff like this. I have two flash-guns as well, so if I fire all four at once my wife can probably see me at the bottom of the garden. Most kits these days seem to start at 200W each, which I would say is the minimum you need.

    Now, Colin's lights are another matter. When he cranks his up all the sheep in NZ are on overtime on the treadmill generator in his back yard.

  9. #9

    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    If it's any help, I have one of my Elinchrom 1200RX heads at minimum power when I'm shooting models with my light table - and I STILL end up having to shoot in the region of F16.
    You could move the light further back, but that will make the light harsher won't it. It might also spoil the light effect.

  10. #10
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Thanks for the info. I would really love to buy some studio heads but too many other priorities at the moment.

  11. #11

    Re: Light table - Rob's version!

    Very clever, indeed! I was just feeling so guilty, today, because I hadn't told you my biggest thought about the other lilies (you know, the one with the orange and the blue background.) I was way too chicken! I thought that the backgrounds or the lighting didn't really bring out the personality of the white lily. I don't know if that makes sense and that is surely just my opinion. However, I was thinking about white lilies and what I would do with them and was wondering how transparent they are. Well, there it is! Do I get brownie points for "thinking alike" with your great mind, please???

    Anyway, I know that lighting is an area that I really need grow. It's fascinating to see what you guys are doing with it all.

    I like the texture and detail that I can see in the center of the flower in #1. I particularly like the subtle green.

    I like #2 the best, though, because it has so much flow and movement. It's a bit ethereal.

    The lightbulbs? Um, okay. Why not?

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