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Natural Window Light


Chris Nevard

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5381090045_5d8a09d4a1.jpg

 

nevard_110123_combwich-53809_DSC_211127b_web, originally uploaded by nevardmedia.

 

At Combwich, a nicely buffed up 82005 prepares to take on coal next to the foreman's Morris Traveller.

For most layout photographic commissions we have to use portable studio lighting to get the best out of layouts because most model railways are nowhere near a good source of natural light or are lit by domestic spotlights. This type of artificial lighting, whilst popular is totally unsuitable for photography because of multiple shadows and uneven pools of light it generates. Tip: do what Pendon do and use fluorescent tubes if you want to use your layout for photography, modern digital cameras cope very well with this type of lighting.

 

Sometimes though the layout can be placed next to a window, the soft lighting especially if on an overcast day can produce a very nice luminous quality.

 

For the shot here, the layout was placed at about a 70 degree angle to the window, the angle being important to add a bit of modelling which highlights texture and detail. In the digital darkroom, apart from some basic level control (which is no different to the old days when we used to send negs away for printing or do our own home), the only computer addition is the little whiff of smoke. Oh yes, and the use of Helicon Focus to extend the depth of field, that however will not have added anything that isn't actually there.

 

You can see a bigger version here: http://www.nevardmed.../p68805715.html

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No question - natural light has it for almost any sort of photography, as here.

 

Really quite glad I'm not the guy required to coal that high bunker on the tank loco. An elevator/conveyor would make life a lot easier!

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Hi Chris

 

 

 

 

Since your visit to photograph Glenuig, I have now changed the layouts lighting, and have fitted it with 3 *6400K colour lamps. I have also constructed (I am a tight, and practical sort of bloke) a couple of photo floods, and have used these to photograph Over Haddon and the slate quarry, with superb results.

 

There is a florescent tube and energy saving lamps, available, with 6400K colour, which is classed as Daylight.

 

 

 

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

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Wonderful photo!

 

Please don't take this as a criticism, but I think the strong shadows in the foreground do expose the limitations of a 2-dimensional backscene more than with normal layout lighting. I subconsciously expect the background to have similar shadows to the foreground, as they would be exposed to the same direction of sunlight if this were an image of the real world.

 

It is still a wonderful photo though!

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Wonderful photo!

 

Please don't take this as a criticism, but I think the strong shadows in the foreground do expose the limitations of a 2-dimensional backscene more than with normal layout lighting. I subconsciously expect the background to have similar shadows to the foreground, as they would be exposed to the same direction of sunlight if this were an image of the real world.

 

It is still a wonderful photo though!

 

 

I'd question the level of shadows being consistent.... dark shadows in the forground will "blue" with distance... and contrast will reduce as the light passes through the air between the object and observer. On a clear day, the difference may be minimal (not often in his country)... but with normal levels of smog/polutants/haze/pollen (etc etc etc) in the air, the light will be attenuated by the time it reaches the observer - the greater the distance, the greater the effect. If a backscene purely provides distant background, the colours shoudl normally be subdued (and blue'd)... but in this case, the backscene includes the fields and housing nearby... combined with the slightly elevated viewpoint, the demarkation between 3-D to 2-D is more evident. However, who's to say, it's not representative of a slow mist rising over the fields that's slightly obscured the landscape beyond the hedge (nature can be a funny master).

Backscenes asides (and I've still to get to grips with them... I just understand the principles from my artistic endeavours) the soft natural light used to illuminate this image is.... hoe could I put it... Lovely. My trials have been outside with sunlight that was too harsh... I've tried to achieve results like this, but failed. Chris's results continue to amaze and inspire.

Thanks for the explanation (70 degs to source etc)... and I'll be trying harder next time.

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