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Photography and Lighting

PaternosterRow

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I really love photographing my layouts and my ultimate aim is to make the locos and settings as realistic as its possible in 00 Gauge.  Getting as much as possible in focus has always been a bug bear of mine.  The relationship between F-Stop, shutter speed and ISO is complex to understand and I should imagine professional photographers spend a long time to master it.  I haven't quite managed this and have always found that the higher the F-Stop then the yellower the image simply because the more depth of field (or more in focus you want) then the smaller the aperture.   In addition, my camera will only stop up to F8.  A medium aperture but one that still restricts the amount of light you need.  This always spoils the photo and no matter how long you keep open the shutter you can never get rid of the yellowing effect.   Camera's therefore love loads of light where this is concerned so I decided to cobble together my own powerful lighting rig.  It had to be on the cheap because professional lighting rigs are an astronomical cost.

 

 

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The above shot under the rig.  F8 at ISO 400.  The camera sets the shutter speed itself and I set a two second timer delay to defeat any camera shake.

 

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The 'Heath Robinson' style lighting rig.  I found an old overhead projector at my local tip and took it apart.  I put the fan and bulb assembly into a wooden box, created a reflective direction device out of hangers and mounting card and put the whole thing on top of a stand that I bought secondhand from a builder for a fiver.   It was really cheap to construct and it works quite well.  Mind you, despite the fan it gets very hot so I don't leave it on too long in case the whole thing falls apart!

 

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The rig is about as good as it gets in creating artificial sunlight.  It's either that or lug the layout down from the loft and wait for the sun to come out and you could wait a long time over here for that!   Now to get rid of those pesky shadows on the backdrop!

 

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This is my take on a smashing prototype picture in Hornby's latest mag regarding coloured light signalling on the Southern.  The picture was of a Class 33 double heading with a BR Standard 5MT out of Waterloo in 1966.

 

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A summer afternoon at Folgate Street.  Note how the light rig casts realistic shadows under the signal box gantry.

 

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Light and shade.  Notice how the focus drops away and yet this is the best my Fuji Bridge can do.  It's a lot better than my other smaller 'snap' Panasonic Lumix which has a much narrower field of focus.  The only other route is photo stacking, but this seems like a magic trick far beyond my capabilities.  I guess I'll always be an analogue fuddy duddy!

 

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Nice photos,

Multi layer with about 25 different focal points is how pro model photographers do it i believe. Nice thread on here somewhere all about that using Photoshop.

I am like you and prefer standard shots, never got them as good as yours here. I have a modern smart phone than takes better depth photos than my oldish Canon SLR, amazing how far phone cameras have developed.

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Kylestrome

Posted (edited)

Any 'yellowing' in your photos is caused by the colour temperature of the lights and will occur regardless of f-stop. If you are using normal household tungsten, or LED equivalents, they usually give off 'warm' light of about 2700-3000 Kelvin (K). So-called daylight lamps will have a colour temperature of approx. 6500K and, as the name suggests, give off a much bluer light similar to a sunny day outside.

 

Most digital cameras have  an adjustable white balance function which gives you a true white under most types of lighting. I'd be surprised if your camera doesn't have one tucked away in the operating menu somewhere.

 

David

Edited by Kylestrome
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7 hours ago, down the sdjr said:

Nice photos,

Multi layer with about 25 different focal points is how pro model photographers do it i believe. Nice thread on here somewhere all about that using Photoshop.

I am like you and prefer standard shots, never got them as good as yours here. I have a modern smart phone than takes better depth photos than my oldish Canon SLR, amazing how far phone cameras have developed.

Cheers.  My wife got a smart phone a couple of years ago and the snaps she takes on our walks are amazing.  I saw an advert for the new Waway phone and its camera capability is unbelievable.  I’d wager that smart phones will make most traditional cameras obsolete within a few more years.  Photoshop and programs like it totally befuddle me -  one day, I hope, you’ll be able to just load a pic and just type in what you want the PC to do with it!  I’d just love to be able to add smoke/steam effects but simply haven’t a clue.

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3 hours ago, Kylestrome said:

Any 'yellowing' in your photos is caused by the colour temperature of the lights and will occur regardless of f-stop. If you are using normal household tungsten, or LED equivalents, they usually give off 'warm' light of about 2700-3000 Kelvin (K). So-called daylight lamps will have a colour temperature of approx. 6500K and, as the name suggests, give off a much bluer light similar to a sunny day outside.

 

Most digital cameras have  an adjustable white balance function which gives you a true white under most types of lighting. I'd be surprised if your camera doesn't have one tucked away in the operating menu somewhere.

 

David

Thanks very much, David.  I spent the last few hours looking at the menu and finally found the WB button staring me in the face!  It has the options to shoot under tungsten and 3 settings for fluorescent lights.  I’m going to have a go tomorrow.  That’s what I love about RMweb - the free advice.  You also don’t have go through reams of words to get to the point.  Thanks again.  Mike.

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16 minutes ago, PaternosterRow said:

Cheers.  My wife got a smart phone a couple of years ago and the snaps she takes on our walks are amazing.  I saw an advert for the new Huawei phone and its camera capability is unbelievable.  I’d wager that smart phones will make most traditional cameras obsolete within a few more years. 

 

Maybe. Maybe not.

The reason phone cameras are so good for getting lots in focus (a large depth of field) is that their sensors is so small. This makes them excellent for most situations, including close-ups & landscapes.

Sometimes it is desirable to take photos with very long exposures, like 2-4 minutes. I am not sure any phones will do this. It is often desirable to open the aperture to blur out anything in front of behind the subject, thereby drawing attention to it. This does not really a small sensor like that found in a phone.

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11 minutes ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

Maybe. Maybe not.

The reason phone cameras are so good for getting lots in focus (a large depth of field) is that their sensors is so small. This makes them excellent for most situations, including close-ups & landscapes.

Sometimes it is desirable to take photos with very long exposures, like 2-4 minutes. I am not sure any phones will do this. It is often desirable to open the aperture to blur out anything in front of behind the subject, thereby drawing attention to it. This does not really a small sensor like that found in a phone.

I agree, for now.  But you can bet long exposure along with some sort of steady cam program is on the cards for the future.  I still can’t get my head around all the things you can do on a modern phone.  It seems like magic that such a small device can pack in the enormous computing power traditionally associated with the PC - the average battery life is also impressive.  I love taking long exposure shots with my cameras and you can get some really interesting results with low level lighting and smoke.  

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Be careful of mixing different 'colours' of light which can make a very complex brew that automatic or preset white balance cannot cope cope with. Experiment with turning your ceiling lights off while using your new set up. Depth of Field is also influenced by the distance of the lens from the subject so if you have a true zoom on your camera (rather than a digital zoom that just messes with the pixels), try moving the camera back and zooming in with the lens for a greater DoF .

For lighting that area under the overall roof try shining a torch with a focused beam under it for all or some of a long exposure. Do bear in mind previous comment about mixing colours of light although much fun can be had by adding a coloured filter over the torch provided by  a sweet wrapper - equal amounts of enjoyment being provided by the photography and eating lots of sweets to find the correct wrapper!

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Another option to manage the "yellowing" is post exposure filtering. 

 

Photoshop includes an option to apply the equivalent of colour correction filters to images - in your case varying degrees and densities of blue - which would tame the temperature colour cast.

 

Cheers

 

Scott

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Lantavian

Posted (edited)

I love the low colour temperature. It looks like a late summer afternoon/early evening

 

Plus, I love the shadows. Much better than pix with bland diffuse lighting.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, jukebox said:

Another option to manage the "yellowing" is post exposure filtering. 

 

Photoshop includes an option to apply the equivalent of colour correction filters to images - in your case varying degrees and densities of blue - which would tame the temperature colour cast.

 

Cheers

 

Scott

 

I find Camera Raw in Photoshop is much easier

 

 

 

 

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47137

Posted (edited)

I am very impressed by your lamp and indeed your results. I bought a home studio lighting kit a few years ago, one by Interfit. It wasn't desperately expensive but it had rather more than I needed for models and the layout - two heads, snouts, brollies and so on. Eventually one of the heads wore out and I am now using the second one. The soft box is its most useful accessory for me and you might experiment with a piece of net curtain or loosely-woven cotton sheet across the front of your lamp. But do keep an eye open for the heat.

 

- Richard.

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22 hours ago, KH1 said:

Be careful of mixing different 'colours' of light which can make a very complex brew that automatic or preset white balance cannot cope cope with. Experiment with turning your ceiling lights off while using your new set up. Depth of Field is also influenced by the distance of the lens from the subject so if you have a true zoom on your camera (rather than a digital zoom that just messes with the pixels), try moving the camera back and zooming in with the lens for a greater DoF .

For lighting that area under the overall roof try shining a torch with a focused beam under it for all or some of a long exposure. Do bear in mind previous comment about mixing colours of light although much fun can be had by adding a coloured filter over the torch provided by  a sweet wrapper - equal amounts of enjoyment being provided by the photography and eating lots of sweets to find the correct wrapper!

 

Cheers for the advice. I have tried long exposure with light trickery before.  Below is one I did a few years ago.  It was a small shadow box layout (a quarter of a roundhouse scene with a mirror at one side) using car headlight bulbs positioned above pinholes in the roof.  There is a few more pics somewhere in my blog.  

 

I have read about DOF and F Stop settings, but it’s difficult to understand if you are an amateur like me.  I tried out the white balance thing today and will post tomorrow.  I do have a true zoom on the bridge and will also be sure to have a go to see if it improves the focus.

 

image.jpeg.c17fb11d927062009d8dc8d079e0c0f2.jpeg

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18 hours ago, Lantavian said:

I love the low colour temperature. It looks like a late summer afternoon/early evening

 

Plus, I love the shadows. Much better than pix with bland diffuse lighting.

 

 

 

 

Cheers for the compliment, Lantavian.  I’m trying to aim for much better focus as well as shadow effect.  Photography is really hard and I have a lot of respect for the professionals.  It really must take years to master the art.

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10 hours ago, 47137 said:

I am very impressed by your lamp and indeed your results. I bought a home studio lighting kit a few years ago, one by Interfit. It wasn't desperately expensive but it had rather more than I needed for models and the layout - two heads, snouts, brollies and so on. Eventually one of the heads wore out and I am now using the second one. The soft box is its most useful accessory for me and you might experiment with a piece of net curtain or loosely-woven cotton sheet across the front of your lamp. But do keep an eye open for the heat.

 

- Richard.

Thanks very much for the advice and the compliment, Richard.  I’ll certainly have a go at your suggestion with the net curtain.

 

Mike.

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18 minutes ago, PaternosterRow said:

 

Cheers for the advice. I have tried long exposure with light trickery before.  Below is one I did a few years ago.  It was a small shadow box layout (a quarter of a roundhouse scene with a mirror at one side) using car headlight bulbs positioned above pinholes in the roof.  There is a few more pics somewhere in my blog.  

 

I have read about DOF and F Stop settings, but it’s difficult to understand if you are an amateur like me.  I tried out the white balance thing today and will post tomorrow.  I do have a true zoom on the bridge and will also be sure to have a go to see if it improves the focus.

 

image.jpeg.c17fb11d927062009d8dc8d079e0c0f2.jpeg

Great photo.

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Just like soldering,  depth of field is pretty simple if explained properly which I am now about to try and do at way past bed time and with a little beer inside! 

 

The smaller the aperture (the hole in the lens), the greater the depth of field so more will be in focus.  Just remember that a small aperture is a high f number, say f22. The problem with using a small aperture / high f number is that it lets in less light so a longer exposure is needed (the hole needs to be open for longer), or in other words a slower shutter speed, so seconds rather than thousands of a second. If you have the camera securely on a tripod and the subject is not moving as in your case this is not a problem. If anything is moving in the scene you need a much faster shutter speed and thus a more open aperture which gives less depth.

 

Hopefully you are still with me!

 

I mentioned before that if you have the camera further away and you zoom in you will get a better depth. The only other variable is the ISO,  a low ISO , say 100 will give better quality but will need more light so exposure times will be great or the aperture needs to be larger. A high ISO (1600 plus depending on camera). means you need less light for a correct exposure so apertures can be smaller or shutter speeds quicker BUT the higher the ISO the lower the quality. Every camera and situation is different so it is really just a case of experimenting to get the best balance between the variables, this is certainly much easier and cheaper with digital cameras than the days of film. 

 

I am happy to have a chat if you want to PM me

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14 minutes ago, Metr0Land said:

Am amazed at the results you get just using f8!

Cheers, Metr0Land.  Yes, I never really liked this camera until I started to get to know it and always preferred my smaller point and shoot Panasonic.  The Fuji Bridge will stop up further if allowed to shoot automatically but results are always uncertain and you certainly get less focus over the whole subject.   Photography really is an art form that take years to master and I really admire those who decide to try and fully understand it.

 

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A few more pictures.  I've shot these using the white balance feature that has been set to Tungsten.  They are all ISO 100, F8 with variable shutter speed set automatically by the camera.

 

DSCF1972.jpg.542c2ec16f59ecc976460954d70e899d.jpg

This is the same scene as the one in the first shot above.  Personally, I like the other shot with the more afternoon sun glow feel to it.  It'd be interesting to know which one people prefer out of the two.

 

 

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Under zoom from about 1 meter away.   The camera is quite good at these zoom in shots under manual control and has picked up some amazing detail.   I can quite get my head around the beautifully rendered valves.  Hornby has done a brilliant job with the Q1.  Also note how the camera has picked up the hairs and odd bristle of the glass fibre pen used in the weathering process.

 

 

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I quite like this 'across the tracks' shot.  My Third Rail insulators aren't the best though.

 

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Another light and shade shot.  A lot of modellers don't like 2D textures, but I love that Scalescenes brick texture used on the Theatre building.  

 

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The last shot demonstrates the mirror trick under the station roof.  Under operation the layout makes use of a three foot 'black box' extension.

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13 hours ago, KH1 said:

Just like soldering,  depth of field is pretty simple if explained properly which I am now about to try and do at way past bed time and with a little beer inside! 

 

The smaller the aperture (the hole in the lens), the greater the depth of field so more will be in focus.  Just remember that a small aperture is a high f number, say f22. The problem with using a small aperture / high f number is that it lets in less light so a longer exposure is needed (the hole needs to be open for longer), or in other words a slower shutter speed, so seconds rather than thousands of a second. If you have the camera securely on a tripod and the subject is not moving as in your case this is not a problem. If anything is moving in the scene you need a much faster shutter speed and thus a more open aperture which gives less depth.

 

Hopefully you are still with me!

 

I mentioned before that if you have the camera further away and you zoom in you will get a better depth. The only other variable is the ISO,  a low ISO , say 100 will give better quality but will need more light so exposure times will be great or the aperture needs to be larger. A high ISO (1600 plus depending on camera). means you need less light for a correct exposure so apertures can be smaller or shutter speeds quicker BUT the higher the ISO the lower the quality. Every camera and situation is different so it is really just a case of experimenting to get the best balance between the variables, this is certainly much easier and cheaper with digital cameras than the days of film. 

 

I am happy to have a chat if you want to PM me

Thanks KH1.  I just wish I could afford a better camera.  Under manual control it will only stop up to about F11 and then only with longer shutter speeds.  It's limited but okay for something I won in a photo competition.   I love your blog by the way and must sit down later and have a good long look at it.   I'd really like to have a go at image stacking as it seems the way to go now for layout photography.  Andy Y has explained it in principle to me, but it just seems like yet another skill that will take hours and hours to master.   It will also mean spending money on equipment and programs and to be quite frank I'd rather spend my limited funds on trains!    I agree about the democratic digital camera, I used to have a go a long exposure photography with 35mm film years ago.  I got some interesting results but it was expensive and you had no way of knowing what you got until the pics came back from the developer.   Photography really is a bit of a 'dark art' in my opinion and I really admire those who can grasp it.    Thanks again for the advice and I'll be in touch.  Mike

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No one's mentioned the elephant in the room Mike; you've gone and created another very charismatic scene! :biggrin_mini2:

 

I'm sorry I'm latte in coming in with a reply but I've been distracted with all the stuff we're doing for this weekend. I certainly don't find the tone of the original images offensive; light varies a lot and you've got a warm, strong evening light at play with your typically ingenious light.

 

From that as a base point it's possible to neutralise tones somewhat in photo software if you're after a different look.

 

ML.jpg

 

The best point of advice given is training your camera for its white balance; are you able to save a custom white balance setting? If so, point it at something medium grey in tone and get it use that as its datum. You should then have consistency wherever the same light source is falling.

 

We've been discussing depth of field in another topic too https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/156102-chdk-and-focus-stacking/&do=findComment&comment=4033077

 

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1 hour ago, AY Mod said:

No one's mentioned the elephant in the room Mike; you've gone and created another very charismatic scene! :biggrin_mini2:

 

I'm sorry I'm latte in coming in with a reply but I've been distracted with all the stuff we're doing for this weekend. I certainly don't find the tone of the original images offensive; light varies a lot and you've got a warm, strong evening light at play with your typically ingenious light.

 

From that as a base point it's possible to neutralise tones somewhat in photo software if you're after a different look.

 

ML.jpg

 

The best point of advice given is training your camera for its white balance; are you able to save a custom white balance setting? If so, point it at something medium grey in tone and get it use that as its datum. You should then have consistency wherever the same light source is falling.

 

We've been discussing depth of field in another topic too https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/156102-chdk-and-focus-stacking/&do=findComment&comment=4033077

 

Cheers Andy and brilliant work on getting rid of the shadow.   I don't think the camera can be trained, but it does have an auto setting and I'll try to see if that sets a datum as you've suggested.   I'm off to work now, but had a quick look a the other topic - I'll study it in detail later.  Thanks for comment also.  I'll contact you soon.

 

Mike

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The main point is that you get some great results;  the technical aspects always come second to that! 

 

I like using small-sensor cameras, such as camera phones, because they provide a realistic depth of field for model photography.  i have pointed out elsewhere that: "The sensor in a typical compact measures about 6.2 x 4.6mm, whereas a 'whole plate' camera, as might have been used in the 19th century, had a sensitive area of 8½" x 6½" (216 x 165mm). From these figures, the compact represents a 1/35 scale model - not too far removed from 0-gauge! So, you can expect to get similar perspective and depth-of-field when using a compact to photograph an 0-gauge layout from 'realistic' locations."

 

Phone camera sensors are even smaller!

 

For lighting, I recommend using LED lamps, of which a huge range is now available.  These lamps do not produce the heat associated with high-wattage conventional bulbs and can be obtained in 'daylight' or 'warm' colours as preferred.  I now use 'workshop and garage' lights for general lighting (for example, I have two of these) and also use LED spot bulbs for directed light.  Even an LED torch can be pressed into service for local effects.  These lamps have superseded earlier types I described in my blog entry at https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/15678-photographing-the-layout/

 

Mike

 

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