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Cloud dome lighting options


#1

Hi all:

Lately I have been driving myself nuts trying to use my Cloud Dome
to get some photos for a website. I bought the daylight Ott lamps,
two, and use the Cloud Dome in indirect sunlight while moving the
lamps around to fill in light where I need it. I use a gray mat board
as a background, black seemed too harsh. When I got the photos back
today some are green tinted, some have a jet-black background, some
the silver is strikingly bright and very few are useable. It was
suggested I use 400 film for this. Any ideas on what I am doing
wrong?? Is my film wrong? I use my old Minolta SLR film camera, don’t
have a digital and don’t have Photoshop to tweak photos. I also
tried just the Ott lights in a dark room with no other source of
light but with a black background, which was too much. Looking for
suggestions.

Thank you in advance,
Kathy Anderson


#2

I am not the photographer in the family, I’m the photo stylist, and
purchaser of various light boxes.

But I do know that we use a much faster film speed – 100.

When we shot Tungston, we used 64.

Hope that helps a little.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#3

If you can possibly afford to get a digital camera, I’d definitely
recommend it. Most cameras will come with some sort of image editor,
so you wouldn’t really need Photoshop.

For photographing silver, I’ve found that I prefer the grey
background (like you use) and relatively low light with a long
exposure. It seems to give the silver a richness and avoids the
glaring bright spots that plague that particular metal. I’ll often
just open the curtain, turn off all the lights, and let the indirect
daylight filter through my cloud dome. With a 2+ second exposure it
sometimes comes out really nice!

However, having the digital camera is a MUST for my flavor of
hit-and-miss photography. I try half a dozen different things, look
at what worked, then refine it again. I’m partway through a (really,
really simplistic) photo tutorial. I’ll post it to the list when I’m
done.

-Spider (photography novice)


#4

try using more light, higher F stop, shutter speed 125. Any higher
asa will be grainy. I used to shoot with and still do novatron strobe
system total of 1000 wats. You can use ambient light with a tripod
and plunger with higher F stop and longer exposure time. Hot spots
can also occur if the lights are too close.

Give it a go.

Robert


#5

Do you think there maybe something wrong with the type of film you
are using (example: Tungsten Film without a Tungstun light source):

K. David Woolley
david.woolley@unb.ca


#6

Hi Kathy,

Lately I have been driving myself nuts trying to use my Cloud Dome
to get some photos for a website. I bought the daylight Ott lamps,
two, and use the Cloud Dome in indirect sunlight while moving the
lamps around to fill in light where I need it...... When I got the
photos back today some are green tinted, some have a jet-black
background, some the silver is strikingly bright and very few are
useable.....

My guess is that the greenish tint is due to bad labwork. Some labs
try to squeese the developer to the last “drop”, and if your film is
in that last batch, green tint is one of the results. If you insist
on using film for Cloud Dome, you should know that colour temperature
is measured in Kelvin. So called “daylight” can be anywhere between
4800 Kelvin and 6000 Kelvin, while incandecent light-bulbs are about
3400 Kelvin. A daylight film is always 5500 Kelvin, so if your
"Ott-lamps" are deviating seriously from that, this could give you
colour problems. I don’t think direct sunlight is a good light source
for anything. Strikingly bright silver indicates incorrect exposure.
Try faster shutterspeed or smaller aperture. Using 400 film has
nothing to do with your problem, unless the film is way to old. The
only way for you to achieve satisfactory results, is trial and error.
Write down all details about your exposure for each shot, and learn
from them. You are going to use a lot of film before you can make
your mastershots. Maybe you should consider to go digital. That will
save you a lot of time and cost.

I bought my Cloude Dome this summer, and I have taken only few shots
since. The result is as good as I had expected. Although I have SLR
cameras for film, I decided to buy a digital camera just for jewelry
and Cloude Dome. I recommend the following criteria, if you feel
tempted:

  1. quality lens with macro.
  2. manual control of aperture and shutterspeed.
  3. easy access to white balance control, and
  4. a minimum of 2 million pixels.

I was lucky to find “last years” model of Nikon Coolpix 5400, for a
reduced price. It has all the above and more. You might find one
second hand, but if you buy it new, you’ll get the Photoshop
Elements free in the package. It’s much better than letting film and
lab cost eat up your budget. I shall be happy to guide you where I
can.

Yours

Jon Holm, Bornholm
Denmark


#7

Hi Kathy,

Some advice for your photography. First if you are using film you
should use the slowest film that you can. I use 50 ASA/ISO, this
will give you the sharpest photos with high definitions. I like
Fuji film as its colours are good. Then you need a flashgun, held
away from the camera and aimed at the Cloud Dome, 45 degrees from the
line of the camera is fine, this will illuminate the inside with
white light and give good accurate colours. I assume you are using a
tripod to mount the camera, and have the camera set at its smallest
apperture f16 is fine.

If you have a look at my photos on the orchid gallery,

http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/jmdesign.htm

I took most of them using Fuji film, a flash gun and a Mamiya RB67
SLR camera, some were taken with a Nikon SLR and all were taken
using a film camera. Also find a good film processor and when you get
you films processed give the processor a sample of your background
colour paper so that they know the correct colours to work to when
setting their machines.

As you might guess I am a photography nut as well as a goldsmith.

Good luck James


#8

I agree with Spider that a digital camera is the way to go. I too,
was using my old SLR Minolta with macro lens, but haven’t touched it
since I got the digital camera. I have a cloud dome, and use either
daylight flourescent bulbs, or my Ott light. I have photographed
silver, and highly reflective enamels with great success. In fact, I
have not had to do any retouching with any software. I am a total
amateur with the camera and just click away using auto setting. To my
delight my pictures have turned out exceptionally well. I have a
color printer and make my own prints, I can make them any size I
want, or if desired can send my pictures via email. Save your money,
and get a digital camera. You will wonder how you ever got along
without one. The prices are coming down all the time, and the quality
of the digital cameras is going up, with many many innovations and
improvements. It is amazing how simple they are to use.

Alma


#9

Do you have a preview button on your camera? Seems like that
might help you get an idea of how your shot will look. I really
like using the computer to tweek. You can get all your photos
saved to a disk as an alternative to buying a new digital
camera.

I just got my cloud dome and I didn’t buy the lights. I’ve been
using the New Mexican sun that comes through my window and various
incandescent light fixtures in the house (with digital on super
macro or macro). If the color gets funky I’ve been tweeking on the
computer. I didn’t like the black background. If you got the
assortment of backgrounds that come with the cloud dome, try laying
the clear background over the black to create a dark gray
alternative for less contrast.

I’m a newbie too so I look forward to hearing other’s
responses!

Cheerio!
Tracey
Firefly Studio
fireflyjewelrydesign.com


#10

If you’re already a good photographer, don’t bother with this link.
But for those trying to make their first baby steps away from auto
settings, it may be helpful.

My photography tutorial:
http://www.spiderchain.com/custom/photo_tutorial.shtml

-Spider (needing to find better background material)


#11
Any ideas on what I am doing wrong?? Is my film wrong? I use my old
Minolta SLR film camera, don't have a digital and don't have
Photoshop to tweak photos. I also tried just the Ott lights in a
dark room with no other source of light but with a black
background, which was too much. Looking for suggestions. 

have you tried photoworks (used to be seattle filmworks) - you get
slides, pictures and negatives back


#12

One more thing…a tip I can give back that I may have gotten here or
who knows where. To diffuse your background for jewelry photos place
a piece of non-glare glass on 4 film canisters and put your
background under that. It won’t compete with your jewelry that way.
To order museum gel to hold up rings or earrings I used
Improvements.com, they were the cheapest in an internet search.

Kathy Anderson


#13

I bought a jar of the clear museum gel to hold up rings for
photography, thinking that something clear would present less
problems when I’m retouching in Photoshop, but the museum gel doesn’t
seem to stick to the silver at all.

Janet Kofoed


#14

Hi Janet:

A photographer once told me she uses that sticky stuff that people
hang things on the wall with. You can get it in the grocery store,
but I forget what it’s called. It won’t leave residue on your
jewelry and you can use it over and over. I wish I could remember
the name. It looks like putty. I have used to hang the kids’ artwork
and it does hold up really well.

Kim


#15
.... but the museum gel doesn't seem to stick to the silver at all. 

Try using earthquake putty- or some jewelers sculpting wax, it’s
usually pretty sticky. You’ll have to edit it out in Photoshop, but
it you use it sparingly it’ll be minimal.

-amery


#16

There is a product called “prop wax,” that is what you need. You buy
it from photo supply stores. It’s inexpensive, sticky and white –
almost clear. It’s very strong, so you only use a tiny bit. It’s
possible to have it not show at all with jewelry except for the
narrowest of engagement rings.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#17

Try using earthquake putty- or some jewelers sculpting wax, it’s
usually pretty sticky. You’ll have to edit it out in Photoshop, but
it you use it sparingly it’ll be minimal.

I have been using bee’s wax, just a small bit will support most rings
and, if used correctly, will not show. No need to remove it with
Photoshop.

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#18
A photographer once told me she uses that sticky stuff that people
hang things on the wall with. You can get it in the grocery store,
but I forget what it's called. 

You might be refering to the “blue tack”???


#19

to stand items up, or stabilize chains against a vertical surface, i
mix some sticky wax, the type used for braces with a clean kneaded
eraser, about 50/50. it cleans up easily with the unmixed kneaded
eraser. the less used the less you need to photoshop out.

april…dtstudio… CAD and photography for jewelers.


#20

For what it is worth-- to make jewelry lie right for photography
(not to make it stand up, but to keep parts in the preferred
orientation) my photog uses super glue. It doesn’t show in the shot,
and is pretty easy to remove with acetone.

–Noel