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'No Frills' $75.00 home studio tent/lightbox

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by SharpByCoop, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Murray White

    Murray White Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 17, 1999
    the result looks reasonable. a bit of color shift that might be corrected but you have the idea.

    I ordered one of the lights Coop spoke of --go killed when they sent the thing UPS instead of what they said they would -- USPS.

    this image shows a new setup I am now able to use. The tent arrangement folds flast and then with a twisting motion creates a small 6" diameter or so item that fits in the black case that can be seen to the side of the image.

    Inset are images of a knife that were taken with 2 different camera. Panasonic FX7 and the Minolta Z3. other than cropping no other image manipulation done for these ones.

    There is a bigger version of this but the place I got this one did not carry it. If I come across it sometime I'll get it. The size of the knife to be photographed is somewhat limited in this arrangement. Works for smaller FB and almost any folders.

    This is pretty easy to carry around compared to my other system which is great for any work I do at home.

  2. TedV


    Jul 18, 2000
    Great thread - I just build a setup (different then the ones here) yesterday (before I read this thread), and got the following out of it so far. (Rob F helped in cleaning up the pictures).
    I'll read this entire thread tonight and do some more expirementing


  3. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Actually, the pics are a bit blurry, but I've gotta say, that's a pretty damn cool rainbow pattern on that Leek. One of the best I've seen.
  4. Murray White

    Murray White Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 17, 1999
    I'll play with a few other images and see how they work out.
  5. 2knife


    Mar 13, 2002
    Great thread! Nice photos. Coop, would there be any subtle difference using a white cotton sheet instead of the white trash bag to diffuse the light?
  6. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001

    Only if it is thin enough. I once went to a fabric store, and I found two white cotton fabrics, but one was VERY dense. It would require a lot more light.

    A common alternative is a draftsman's paper. You can find that in a well-stocked art supply store as well.

  7. Dan Gray

    Dan Gray

    Jun 25, 2001
    dang nice thread Coop

    are you going to keep the pictures hosted?
    I'd like to ad this thread to the Knife making site...

    hehehe I'm going to H/D this weekend :D
  8. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Very informative portion of your site, Dan. :) Feel free. I have no need to remove the images from my Fototime account. I have reached 160mb of web-sized photos (over 1200!) and I am allowed 500mb. So, it's gonna be there for a while...

  9. Dan Gray

    Dan Gray

    Jun 25, 2001
    TX Jim It's up and on :D
  10. Jason Cutter

    Jason Cutter

    Oct 9, 2002

    This is probably one of the very very best one-stop-shop information threads.

    I showed this to a friend who likes miniature photography - bugs, insects, etc. etc. and she reckons theres nothing quite as good as this thread in all the books, websites she's ever seen.

    Many thanks to the work from everyone and the sharing. Jason.
  11. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    I can see it now....

    A miniature 12"x10" setup with little LED's lighting up the tent..... ;)

    Thanks, Jason. :D

  12. Photo Murray

    Photo Murray

    Dec 5, 2004
    great little studio set ups fellows :D :D :D
  13. Trisak


    Dec 18, 2004
    Thanks Coop
  14. Chiro75


    Feb 4, 1999
    Coop, I put together a basic tent like the one you originally showed. I use three lights with the bulbs you recommend and the white garbage bag to diffuse. My problem is that the light really washes out my hamon on the blades. In order to see the hamon I pretty much have to turn two lights off and aim the third to the side, but then the picture is quite dark. Do you think I need to angle my subject differently to catch the light a different way, or do you think it's the camera? I use a 4 megapixel point and shoot type digital camera. I can change the white balance and control the "aperature" kind of, and I have Photoshop which helps a lot, too, but I have been frustrated that my blades end up really bright, wash out the hamon, and the rest of the pic seems normal. Any hints? The pics on my site are decent, but I'm sure if you go to the gallery you'll find 1,000 problems. Of course only the best ones make it to the site, but have a look and see if you have any tips for this problem, if you wouldn't mind...
  15. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Chiro, You need to work a little differently... :cool:

    OK, here is a perfect example of using a black reflector to 'highlight' something. In this case, Nick Wheeler has a beautiful bowie with a very highly polished blade. When you hold it and twist it in the light, there is this mysterious hamon that has clouds and lots to enjoy. :D
    Let's look at it now with my normal lightbox setup.... ;)


    Huh????!!!! That doesn't show ANYTHING. :( What are you talking about??!

    OK, let's try it again--this time holding a 4"x24" piece of black 1/4" foamboard over it inside the light tent just to shield the light right up to the handle.


    Ahhh-HA! that's the ticket! Same image taken 5 seconds apart, one with and one without. No extra Photoshop work.

    This was especially effective because of the high degree of polish. Not as dramatic when there is a satin finish.

    I am not the expert on hamons, but this works for me.

  16. Chiro75


    Feb 4, 1999
    Ahhhhh.... Lightbulb just went on in my brain. I've seen you mention a black reflector before, but it's really a black sunshade. I don't have any black foamboard but I have a ton of Kydex that should work great, so I'm going to give it a shot as soon as I get home. That has been the single most frustrating thing to deal with, so I hope that does it. I need to bust out my tripod, too, or grow an extra set of arms. Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't use the right lights, either. I am using incandescent "daylight" bulbs, not fluorescents. Jeez, I'm a mess!
  17. Dan Gray

    Dan Gray

    Jun 25, 2001
    I Think that was Jim's light bulb that went off :D

    on the bulbs?, are those the spiral shaped bulbs? I can't tell by the picture.
    I picked up a 2' fluorescent 5000k but it's not enouph light..
  18. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Hi Dan,

    Yeah, those are the small spiral ones. *If* you can get more than 75 watts then do so. Just make sure they specify 'daylight'.

    That black shade tip is NOT a magic elixir. I tried it on a satin-finished Hanson piece and was disappointed with the results. Each knife has a little of it's own 'charm' you need to figure out.... ;)

  19. Dan Gray

    Dan Gray

    Jun 25, 2001
    thank you Jim :)
  20. Chris Meyer

    Chris Meyer

    Aug 15, 2005
    Greetings Coop,
    Thanks for the great information on building a light box :) . I built one two days ago, sticking pretty close to your design. (Home Despot for the lights, bulbs, and pvc pipe. Office Max for the foam core.) Using a light box for pictures is lightyears ahead of where I was; laying knives under a table lamp. I discovered that my local craft store has lots and lots of scrapbook papers to use for backgrounds. I have taken a bunch of pictures already. I am still playing around with the camera settings, but the pictures seem to be coming out fairly well. (See below) Thanks again! -Chris





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