LumberJocks

Not exactly woodworking, but close enough. #16: Small photo light tent / box for my brother in law.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 01-18-2011 05:45 PM 917 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: More DC progress pics... Part 16 of Not exactly woodworking, but close enough. series Part 17: Quality time with the epoxy monster... »

As some of you may know from reading my previous posts, one of my brothers in law is currently disabled due to severe complications of diabetes, and has been staying with LOML and I for the last couple of years due to his worthless excuse of a wife deciding she didn’t really mean “in sickness and in health”, but I digress…

You may also know by now, that the issues have been kidney, and pancreas, and that the week before Christmas, he was blessed with a transplant of both the Kidney, and pancreas, and is doing well on the mend. He is dealing with what the doctors say is typical post transplant side effects, things like low blood pressure as the body acclimates to the new pancreas etc…

Another severe complication of the diabetes has been a loss of a good percentage of his eyesight.

With all of these issues in play, the disability insurance is scheduled to run out 12 months after the transplant. (Whether or not he is actually physically able to work, and able to find work in this rotten economy.). So he is working on what he can, and has found suppliers of small handmade items that he can get in direct from the artisans in small villages in Mexico. And he wants to be able to sell the stuff online. He has a site that he is working on that is coming together nicely, but he needs to photograph and list the items… Now using my workbench to photograph handmade Mexican Dolls, and other various knick knacks really won’t cut the mustard. We knew we needed a light tent.

A quick search with Google led me to a digital photography forum, and the directions to make an inexpensive light tent. Just needed a cardboard box, some Bristol Board, some white muslin fabric, some double stick tape, and some spray adhesive were all that I needed to make the box. And within an hour of starting (I got totally OCD on making sure it was perfect) I had a clean, white, perfect 14×14x14” cubic light tent (oddly enough, the box was for dialysis drain lines).

The results are quite good considering the light source I used was a single 6V emergency flashlight held by hand over the box.

The Camera is an older Fuji Finepx point & Shoot, 4 megapixel camera. (Which at the time was da bomb, but is now badly outdated…). The light source is far less than optimal, but I am rather pleased with the photo quality considering…

I am planning on heading out to Home Depot and picking up a proper adjustable neck desk lamp to use as a light source, and trying the Fuji Digital SLR this weekend. (I need to get a new XD card for it). But I suspect I am going to like the results.

I need to build a much bigger one for my own woodworking projects. I have some designs I would like to try my hand at selling this year, that are just too big to fit here…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com



11 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1767 days


#1 posted 01-18-2011 06:06 PM

sorry to hear your fammely member fight with such things diabetes alone is bad enoff
that picture ain´t bad
but may I surgest you look at two rewiew here on L J
a light tent Mrs N made a rewiew on
and a cheap dobble headed flashlight Martyn made a rewiew on for use with digital camera
and the 4 megapixells is enoff for the net
as long as it has the oppetunety to get close and still make sharp pictures or if there is
a very good zoom option on it
sorry I can´t remember the excact site to the rewiews

take care
Dennis

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5383 posts in 1883 days


#2 posted 01-18-2011 06:22 PM

The close up / light / clear pictures issue is a concern with the point & shoot. The DSLR certainly can do that with no problem, but the P&S has some real trouble with close ups…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1767 days


#3 posted 01-18-2011 06:37 PM

if you look at my two funny little projects
and the quick tip I made you can see what an old 3,2 magapixell with a zoom can do
but its allso have problems with close ups
but it do it a little better if it try´s a few time to focus before the picture is taken
but I allso use a steady tripod (hope I spelled that one right)

in the old SLR days I discovered that using a long telelens instead of a close up lens
I did get alot deeper charpness in the picture
becourse the closeup has so little focus aria counted in mm and the tele was in meters

sorry I can´t say it as I want to but maybee other L Js with photo interress can take over

Dennis

View Blair Helgason's profile

Blair Helgason

169 posts in 2066 days


#4 posted 01-18-2011 06:50 PM

I recently did some experimenting on a small box that I made (no post yet). I did some research on product photography and found that using a telephoto lens from far back is much better than a close up lens. I also found that flooding the subject with light from the top and using a bounce to fill in the sides works really well. I don’t have any lighting equipment so I just set up on my dining room table that is right beneath a ceiling light. For the bounce I just used white paper taped into a scoops and moved them where I need to. Super low tech but it worked out nicely. I’ll post pics soon.

P.S. Sorry to hear about your Brother In Law.

-- Blair

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2380 days


#5 posted 01-18-2011 10:05 PM

Do you have the link to the instructions for the box. If your photo is an indication of it’s potential, this could be an item I’d love to build for myself!

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5383 posts in 1883 days


#6 posted 01-18-2011 10:44 PM

Sure do…

I got the instructions from Digital Photography School...

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3657 posts in 1816 days


#7 posted 01-19-2011 05:45 PM

Pretty cool results for a small amount of work. Of course with me, since the only objects I have to display are things for the shop, it won’t be high on my priority list….........(-:

I put the link in my IE favorites, it sure looks like a nice solution, when the time comes.

Glad your brother is doing a little better. My grandfather had diabetes in later life and lost his vision. It is part of the diabetic vessel damage scenario. Sure hope his business works. You never know, sometimes you hit a niche in the business world that really takes off.

Another hard work week, although I don’t have any call duty. I am really looking forward to the coming weekend, which should be quiet, and allow some shop progress.

Later….......

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2380 days


#8 posted 01-19-2011 06:19 PM

THanks a ton DB. I appreciate it. It might be a little while (workshop reno is still ongoing) but I think this would be great for getting photos that make my projects look better than they are. On the other hand, it might highlight the flaws. I’ll do this anyway. Thanks for the link!

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5383 posts in 1883 days


#9 posted 01-19-2011 07:55 PM

I solved the blurry photo problem. And yes, it is stupid operator error. I forgot to set the camera to Macro mode, so the close up work done in a light tent is outside of the focal range of the lens in normal mode… Stupid mistake for sure!

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1767 days


#10 posted 01-19-2011 10:29 PM

don´t worry too much about that …lol
every one who takes pictures and want to do something with the camera
they don´t use on a daily basis make fail with the first few shots :-)
even proff.
you just never see them :-)

Dennis

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3657 posts in 1816 days


#11 posted 01-20-2011 12:17 AM

Blair
I assume you are eliminating closeup distortion issues with the telephoto. The extreme example being a super closeup of a face, with the nose looking very large. But it illustrates that there is some distortion with every closeup. The use of moderate telephoto to eliminate the problem is an old photographic method, if I am not mistaken, and you rediscovered it, and reminded me of it. Thanks.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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