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Old Jul 22, 2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Default Experiments With a DIY Light Tent

What I'm about to show isn't new or innovative but I have wanted a better light tent for a while and my wife made the mistake of hauling me along on a trip to the fabric store. This resulted in a yard of white polyester cloth being added to her bill. A year or so ago I had purchased some (three I think but I could only lay my hands of two of them this weekend) hardware store clampon reflector lights with CFL daylight 100W bulbs.

Details. The frame is 1/2" PVC electrical conduit coupled w/8 PVC 90 couplers and 4 PVC T connectors from the plumbing dept. The conduit was cut in 18" lengths which resulted in roughly a 20x20x25 in. frame which has the advantage of allowing me to vary the effective height, width or depth depending on which side is down.

The setup not quite as bright as I'd like as my basic exposure was f/5.0, 1/13 @ ISO200. Now just where did I put that third light or should I ask my son?

The 1st photo is the tent/light setup on my back porch. I had to unlimber my old DC5000 to shot the setup. The remaining 4 shots are various salt and pepper shakers from the collection my grandmother willed to my wife. The background was a gray foam sheet from Wal Mart supported by a water filled milk jug. The 1st shots where with the tent in the wide configuration. I then switched to the narrow configuration and draped a piece of mesquito netting partially over the front opening. The object were 2-3.5" size range.

A. C.
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Old Jul 22, 2009, 10:51 PM   #2
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This next series uses Hummel and other Goebel figurines in the 5-6" class. That is about the limit of my present background. In one respect this size was a bit more difficult as I had to move in and out of macro as I changed objects. Feel free to compare these shots with Goebel's on line Hummel catalog.

By the way I found turning on the grid line was a help in both setup and composition.

A. C.
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Old Jul 22, 2009, 11:33 PM   #3
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A.C.

Those are great photos! I am personally impressed by your use of a light tent.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 9:31 AM   #4
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Sarah:

Thank you for commenting.

One tip that I'd like to pass on to others that might want to experiment with glassware. My cousin photographs the work of the glass studio he's he's associated with as part of the application process for their entry into shows and exhibits. He uses a diffused light directly above the object which gives some specular highlights and a 3 dimensional modeling without overwelming specular reflections. I have made only one very limited test of this but it looked promising.

A. C.
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 9:41 AM   #5
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One other comment for those who might want to build a PVC frame for a light tent. The reason I used PVC electrical conduit is that it's much cheaper than PVC water pipe. The elbows and T connectors came from the plumbing dept. because the electrical dept. didn't seem to have them but in retrospect maybe I just didn't find them. No adhesive is required as friction fit worked fine for this application. My total investment for the tent itself was under $12.

A. C.
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 11:57 AM   #6
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A. C.-

Are the sides and top just cotton material, like sheeting?

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 10:56 PM   #7
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Please, A. C. i am still awaiting an answer-

Are the sides and top of your light tent, just cotton sheeting material, or something else?

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 11:12 PM   #8
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I'm sorry, I thought I had posted the answer. I was going back tonight to edit the answer as I had found the sales receipt for the material and could be a bit more precise. Many people use rip-stop nylon in this application and I looked at that to establish a baseline. I then looked all the white polyesters the store had looking for the thinest cloth with the finest weave. The material that seemed to fit that criteria best is a polyester labeled cling free lining ($4/yd. @ Hancock Fabric). Another material one might use if a little less diffusion/more light is required is polyester mosquito netting.

A. C.
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Old Jul 25, 2009, 12:15 AM   #9
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Thanks a lot A. C.-

Your photos are impresssive!

Sarah Joyce
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