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At the bench


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For a quick test of light and camera, I tried reflecting light off of a piece of white drawing paper onto a gray card with the carving on it. A little daylight from this snowy day leaked through the blinds, the bulb is a twist-fluorescent. I set the white balance by aiming at the gray card to the upper left of the little carving (one handed) and then shot the image. Photoshop helped to further white balance the images, both were not true colors before adjustment, and are still not. This did not result in a publishable image, but is a good note to me of the carving progress. The set up was reminiscent of the one that Jim Kelso uses. I will use a proper set up when taking final images, and use better lighting.


A couple of weeks ago, Bladesmith's Forum discussed differing techniques: bouncing light off of an overhead white surface, vs direct light through diffusers. Excellent results are seen with both setups in the support images provided with the discussion. The light source and white balance, managed well, provided dynamic shading, hi-lights and color reproduction.


It is fun to see what is possible, even at my level of accomplishment!


Janel at_the_bench.jpgcicada_fri_w.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

The shadows should be "filled in" and lightened by using

a small white cardboard reflector to throw some of the

light onto the shaded front of the object.

Moving the "fill-in" reflector closer or away from the object

will determine the intensity of lightening the shadows...


I often use diffused sky-light near an open window and soften the

shadows with a piece of white cardboard. Open shade or diffused light

from a brightly lit sky will usually render best close to life colors.

Using a Halogen lamp or Flood-light might give a dominant orange color

cast that is sometimes difficult to get rid of completely in the final picture...

The Auto White Balance setting may not be enough to control the intense

orange cast of such light sources. Manual White Balance should be applied

for acurate color, adjusted again with every new lighting setup.


David Darom (ddd)

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Thank you David,


I understand what you are suggesting and describing. I have added a small white card/reflector pressed against poster tacky stuff to help aim the paper. It does help, though I seem to run out of room for the camera sometimes with the close together parts to the whole arrangement! There is not much room to aim the fill, but I do see that it helps and will work on better or more aiming of reflected light, perhaps some stiff mylar next time if it is not too bright.



I do not always have dependable brightly lit sky, and often am ready for a end of work day photo when it is dark. The white balance and orange cast that is difficult to get rid of has been something that I have noticed. This particular piece is rather warmly colored already, so the orange is even more difficult to avoid, since some of it is naturally there. The next set if images shows less orange. (Now the carving is further along, but I did not take more images yet.)


When the work is complete, I will use a more formal photo setup and report the results. I do like reflecting the light off of the paper for this work. I switched paper recently to a cool water color paper rather than the drawing pad paper. All the variables are so interesting!


Thanks again,





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You are doing the right thing by having the main light source

"back lighting" the subject, creating excellent texture definition.....

Back lighting creates that beautiful highlight fringe along the contours,

adding also the feeling of depth and drama.



David (ddd)

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