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Alister_G

Ladmanlow Sidings

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I've had a Canon Powershot SX 710 HS (presumably a similar model) for a couple of years, and have been very happy with it. Sometimes I'll position it a little further back and add a little zoom, even on macro mode, as it seems to reduce barrel distortion and increase depth a little, though I'll also crop photos if needed. Mine has manual settings though I rarely use them. 

 

I think the "daylight" or cool white is much, much too blue. The warm white looks better, less unnatural though too warm. You could try 2x warm and 1x DL. They are not overly bright as they are so that wouldn't need a dimmer to arrange. Also the model photos shows light is mostly falling direct from above, you could use more from the front too. Can you angle your batons so the light is angled 30 to 45 degrees back as well as down?

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15 hours ago, Alister_G said:

Camera Comparison.

 

I set up a tripod, and took a photo with the old Fuji camera, using just daylight - not the layout lighting.

 

...

 

Then, without moving the tripod, I replaced the old camera with the new Canon.

 

At the same level of zoom, it simply wouldn't focus, and there is no manual focus adjustment that I can see. So what we got was this...

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/ladmanlow799.jpg.be710e457006916bfc8634f976e13d76.jpg

 

Not my finest photo, I think you'll agree...

 

I had to pull back the zoom quite a bit to get a sensible photo:

 

...

 

But the colour reproduction is a pretty good match for the Fuji, maybe slightly redder?

 

Next up, we'll see how it does in Macro mode.

 

Al.

 

 

 

Many cameras, including my own, focus using contrast. But of you are using a high degree of magnification that contrast gets a little diffused so the camera can't focus. If you use macro, with a smaller degree of zoom and then use the crop facility in Photoshop to get the frame you want that will work better, at least according to my experience. You can also use Photoshop to correct the contrast and exposure issue you seem to have here.

All the best, and please keep posting!

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15 hours ago, mjcampbell said:

I've had a Canon Powershot SX 710 HS (presumably a similar model) for a couple of years, and have been very happy with it. Sometimes I'll position it a little further back and add a little zoom, even on macro mode, as it seems to reduce barrel distortion and increase depth a little, though I'll also crop photos if needed. Mine has manual settings though I rarely use them. 

 

I think the "daylight" or cool white is much, much too blue. The warm white looks better, less unnatural though too warm. You could try 2x warm and 1x DL. They are not overly bright as they are so that wouldn't need a dimmer to arrange. Also the model photos shows light is mostly falling direct from above, you could use more from the front too. Can you angle your batons so the light is angled 30 to 45 degrees back as well as down?

 

 

Thanks Michael,

 

Yes I think it will take a bit of time to get used to the new camera, thanks for the tips, I'll try that.

 

I have four strips, two daylight at the front and back, and two warm white in the middle, which I think work together OK. I agree the daylight on its own is far too blue.

 

I also agree that at the moment there seems to be a lack of side-on lighting. I'm not sure the LEDs are focused enough to actually point them in a specific position, but the first row of daylight is three inches in front of the edge of the layout, which I hoped would mean that it lit  things at an angle. It's not very successful, so some more experimentation may be required. I also think perhaps the lights and lid are too high at the moment, which makes it worse. I might try mounting it lower.

 

Thanks very much,

 

Al.

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3 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

Many cameras, including my own, focus using contrast. But of you are using a high degree of magnification that contrast gets a little diffused so the camera can't focus. If you use macro, with a smaller degree of zoom and then use the crop facility in Photoshop to get the frame you want that will work better, at least according to my experience. You can also use Photoshop to correct the contrast and exposure issue you seem to have here.

All the best, and please keep posting!

 

Thanks very much David, I was just trying out the limits really, but it did surprise me that it wouldn't focus at all at full zoom, however the light levels were quite low so as you say contrast was low too.

 

I normally frame the pictures I take with a smaller amount of zoom and crop them afterwards, I find doing that also helps with the spread of focus.

 

Thanks a lot,

 

Al.

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This evening I've done a bit more experimenting with the lighting, as well as just taking some general photos.

 

So I've moved the roof of the layout (and therefore the lighting) forward by nearly 5 inches, so the first row of LEDs is almost 8 inches in front of the front of the layout.

 

ladmanlow806.jpg.872d322f2a315424d1c5d3d610289a69.jpg

 

Then I've adjusted the battens so that the first and second rows are both in front of the layout, and the third row (warm-white) is roughly central. For the moment, I've disconnected the fourth row which was daylight colour:

 

ladmanlow807.jpg.1547127461d439a8523a09df2293d020.jpg

 

An overall view looks like this:

 

ladmanlow808.jpg.1d342cac656eafd7ecd43991fbde226f.jpg

 

Here's a few more normal shots around the layout:

 

ladmanlow809.jpg.a62b2adf1bf86f37ccf390343c084cf9.jpg

 

ladmanlow810.jpg.851f7de5ad8a6dc2f539ac6b95f5d9d6.jpg

 

ladmanlow811.jpg.6b423225cc892b168fd9da2cb8c232ea.jpg

 

There's still a feeling that the lighting is mostly hitting the layout from above - which of course it is - but I had hoped that moving the lights so far forward would improve matters and get some more sideways illumination.

 

I'm not sure that I have achieved that.

 

As a further experiment, for these last two shots, I locked off the camera on a tripod, and took two shots, the first with just the layout lighting:

 

ladmanlow812.jpg.0f0e2702d4fdf7e9cb1e22c7ffd947c9.jpg

 

The second shot, I took a domestic LED torch, and placed it at the level of the layout, shining in:

 

ladmanlow813.jpg.c1d6115668163990490023f60b683fb6.jpg

 

It's a bit white, but it does look better.

 

The thing is, how could I achieve this sort of lighting for the layout on a permanent basis?

 

When I first left school I worked on a part time basis for a theatre lighting company, and therefore have some knowledge of how to set a scene with lights...

 

If I were to consider the layout as a stage, then normal practice would be to have three or more lighting bars above the stage, the first immediately behind the proscenium, and the others progressively upstage. These would provide near-vertical lighting for the stage and props, but on their own would produce a rather "flat" light for the actors.  You would then have a number of bars or lighting positions outside the proscenium shining in at a shallow angle, usually diagonally crossing, to highlight the actors faces. Finally you would have vertical light bars just inside the proscenium on each side to shine diagonally across the stage to add definition to actors and props further upstage. In older times you would also have lights at the front of the stage at floor level shining upwards (the footlights). These tend only to be used nowadays to produce dramatic effects, rather than for general illumination.

 

At the moment, the layout only has the in-stage vertical lighting, and therefore you lose definition and it all looks a bit flat. Although we do have lighting outside the notional proscenium, it isn't directional enough to provide strong enough sideways illumination to define details.

 

We can't add footlights, and nor can we hang a lighting bar a few feet in front of the layout, but maybe I could put a vertical strip of LEDs down the sides to provide some cross lighting.

 

 

Maybe you think I'm needlessly complicating things, and you consider the lighting looks fine as it is above?

 

I would welcome your thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Al.

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Why can't you add footlights?

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2 minutes ago, Stubby47 said:

Why can't you add footlights?

 

Hi Stu, because the gateposts, fence, crane, and any rolling stock would cast horrible shadows on the backdrop.

 

Al.

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What if you used dimmer LEDs, such as found in cheap battery powered Xmas lights. Just enough to light the first couple of inches, but not enough to cast shadows on the backscene.

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Posted (edited)

It's not really the strength that's the problem - any light strong enough to provide noticeable illumination will cast a shadow, and the further away the backscene is from the subject, the larger the shadow will be, and if the source of illumination is below the subject, the higher up the backscene the shadow will be.

 

Like this:

 

light-foot-front.jpg.2112ea9bc441a2ee3307477905006b92.jpg

 

 

 

Edit:

 

Also don't forget that the fence and gate and gateposts would be between the light source and most of what you would want to photograph, so that would have shadows all over it as well.

 

 

Al

Edited by Alister_G
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Posted (edited)

Hi Al, When taking SERIOUS Layout pics for my Mag articles etc, I use a standard desk spot lamp, hand held to illuminate the subject. I don't bother with it for normal everyday shots to post on here though, here is a couple of example's from Pencarne that I took for RM, and one from Bala Town.

1630465671_RMPhotoShoot085.JPG.0cadf6418d4f3a86e5754fcd34b9bafc.JPG

 

687960568_XtraFlowers002.JPG.1fbb287c0c156751bd6e571b58f87723.JPG

 

DSCF2078.JPG.bb21278effdc847712e4c6591800b630.JPG

 

Edited by Andrew P
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Fair enough.

 

In the same way, would your suggestion of vertical strips of LEDs also cast shadows from the lower levels?

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18 minutes ago, Andrew P said:

Hi Al, When taking SERIOUS Layout pics for my Mag articles etc, I use a standard desk spot lamp, hand held to illuminate the subject. I don't bother with it for normal everyday shots to post on here though, here is a couple of example's from Pencarne that I took for RM, and one from Bala Town.

 

Thanks Andy.

 

The trouble with Ladmanlow is that to exhibit it, it will be in an enclosed box, so I have to provide nearly all the illumination, whereas your spotlight just highlights a certain area and you have daylight for the majority of the layout.

 

As you've all seen in earlier pages of this thread, the layout is fine for photography when sitting open on the kitchen table. Maybe I should just exhibit it like that, and not bother with an enclosure?

 

Al.

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22 minutes ago, Stubby47 said:

Fair enough.

 

In the same way, would your suggestion of vertical strips of LEDs also cast shadows from the lower levels?

 

Yes, absolutely, the vertical strips would have to stop a few inches above the ground level of the layout, or you would get the same problem.

 

Al.

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Sorry I've not caught up for a couple of days. 

 

On 23/06/2019 at 21:25, Alister_G said:

 

I think that shows well what you are trying to achieve. That the light from the torch from the front was needed tells you that more light is needed from the front (!), and the white light from the torch is a good colour balance. The mixed light from the two types of LED strip is close, but still seems to look a little odd - maybe it is confusing the camera more than the eye though.

 

This has provoked me to post about the lighting experiments I did for my layout - I'm just a bit tardy at posting on here. This post might therefore be of interest, as I've covered the experiments of positioning, using foil as a reflector (no expense spared here), and included links to the components I used. 

 

I'm not sure I've got it right yet, right now I think Hexworthy is too bright without a dimmer, so I have scope to decrease overhead lighting while maintaining front lighting. So far there is little scenery by which to judge thought. But the key thing I've learned is that the lighting should be mostly (or wholly if one strip) set as far forward as possible just behind the fascia. Probably angled down and back onto the layout is ideal - even these LED's have a more concentrated beam perpendicular to them - but facing back and using foil to diffuse and reflect light with a combination of some downward facing lights seems to work too. 

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Exhibit it in a dark room and tell everybody to bring their own torch, (or desk lamp depending on who you are), problem solved.

 

Mike.

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Posted (edited)

Continuing the lighting saga, I think I'm getting there now.

 

I've replaced the "Daylight" 5200K LEDs which were at the front of the layout, and which appeared very blue in photos, with a strip of "Cool White" 4000K ones, which whilst not as warm as the "Warm-white" are a more natural colour, and I've also angled the aluminium strip on which they are mounted back at 45degrees which has meant there is a better side-on illumination.

 

You can just about make out the replacement strip on the right here, immediately behind the fascia:

 

ladmanlow814.jpg.636134e8d054215606c4646019c4a7e4.jpg

 

This makes the layout look like this:

 

ladmanlow815.jpg.306fca6685243d5d54ae4d633dd763b6.jpg

 

The difference that angling the first strip has made can be seen here:

 

In the first photo, all the LEDs are pointing downwards:

 

ladmanlow816.jpg.7bdd5a525fd07832d87bea644c9e4ff3.jpg

 

However here, the first strip is angled back towards the layout:

 

ladmanlow817.jpg.25fec66705dde9bcbe07fa27430516f6.jpg

 

I think you will agree that's loads better.

 

 

So much so, in fact, that I felt able to take a bit of video using the layout lighting for the first time, which has turned out quite well, I think.

 

 

Just need to make the camera tripod move a bit more smoothly, and master the zoom a bit better... :)

 

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Al.

Edited by Alister_G
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That looks loads better, the lighting colour is more natural and the improvement in visible detail is clear.

 

Just need to arrange to get rid of the shadow on the sky (second photo), and I think you are there. 

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Very effective lighting.

The sound chip seems to need re-synchronising: sounded like 8 beats per revolution.

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Posted (edited)

Just to let you know I'm away now for a fortnight, so don't expect any updates for a while.

 

Al.

Edited by Alister_G
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On ‎29‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 01:01, Alister_G said:

...

Just need to make the camera tripod move a bit more smoothly, and master the zoom a bit better... :)

 

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Al.

I have a fair amount of experience videoing model railways and I found that a tripod with a fluid head is essential for panning. You can buy cheap fluid heads that will fit your current tripod if it has a standard 1/4" whitworth fixing. I also found that putting the camera on macro was useful as was editing out the zooms.

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19 hours ago, Alister_G said:

Just to let you know I'm away now for a fortnight, so don't expect any updates for a while.

 

Al.

 

Some people just don't get their priorities right!

 

Mike.

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