My First Attempt with a Light Box

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Dave Spencer, 28 Oct 2007.

  1. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    This picture is no great shakes, but it is my first attempt. :?

    Basically, I have lined a cardboard box the same dimensions as my 60cm x 30cm tank with silver foil, and placed it on top of the tank. The lid of the box has a hole cut in it centrally, to allow a remote flash gun to be fired directly down on to the tank. The box is about 50% taller than the height of the tank.

    What I haven`t done, yet, is to place a diffuser between the light box and the tank. This could be something as simple as a large sheet of tracing paper.

    Hardware is a Nikon D40 and a Nikon SB-600 fired remotely using a SC-28 sync cord. I used a desk lamp to give a high light from the right, that gives a warm glow to the rock on the left.

    The photos were taken in full daylight with the tank lights off, so the beauty of this method is that I can take pictures any time of day, without having to wait for the dark evenings.

    LB006psss.jpg

    The whole set up is a bit Heath Robinson, but it is a start. I still have a lot to learn about the flash gun, but hopefully I will be able to show some kind of improvement over the coming weeks.

    I definitely intend to make up some more light boxes for my other two tanks, and I am on the hunt for better materials.

    I think a diffuser and a white background would definitely be an instant improvement.

    Cheers, Dave.
     
  2. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    wow lovely shot :)

    a cheap idea for diffusing the light is to use the bottom of a plastic milk bottle over the light source, I use this for my flower macro shots and it works wonders.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cryllius/s ... 276611451/

    no need for any expensive gear!!
     
  3. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Very nice Dave :), did you 'encourage' the fish to do that? ;)

    Sam
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Dave, I love it. Soft pastel tones while still maintaining excellent details. The flash was directly overhead correct? What were the effects of angling the flash? Anything useful?

    I like the milk bottle idea as well Matt. Again those are some cracking flower macro shots. My faves are sunshine, ruffles and Virginia Creeper.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    The size of the rocks in this tank has really come home to roost (curse Aqua Soil alongside EI), so I feel it is no longer an Iwagumi.

    Anyway, I love the way plants appear out of the blue from the depths of the undergrowth of this tank. I noticed some, what I believe to be, Christmas moss (I know nothing about mosses) growing in amongst the Eleocharis. I can understand the HM bursting out, but I have never bought any mosses before. :wideyed:

    To cut a long story short, I decided to have a go with the moss, so I tied a few pieces of wood together that I have collected over the last few months, and tied the moss to it. I have also tried to plant some HC in amongst the roots of the wood, but it was virtually impossible to get through the Eleocharis, as it is so dense, so this may not work.

    Apologies on the first pic where the light can be seen leaking at the back of the tank where the light box had bowed out. This was a very hasty photo session straight after a water change, so there are plenty of air bubbles on the glass, too. :oops: I just don`t seem to have the necessary time to dedicate to my tanks, at the moment.

    Sams030pscrop.jpg

    Sams039pscrop.jpg

    Sams051pscrop.jpg

    Cheers, Dave.
     
  6. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Looks a bit like my mossy lawn in the back garden :lol:
     
  7. Arana

    Arana Member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    London
    8) 8) Very Nice 8) 8)
     
  8. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Nice Dave, my only comment would be that the wood makes it look like you're looking at a scape from in amongst tree roots, like a natural Discus setup would be. But that seems to contradict with the lush green of the riccia and hairgrass? You going to put anything on the wood? Some moss would help it not to look like that, and even it up a bit.

    Just my 0.02p worth :)

    Sam
     
  9. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Read the text that came with the pictures, you lazy sod. :lol:

    Dave.
     
  10. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Cool.

    Sweet photography too.
     
  11. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Haha totally rumbled, my bad ;) :p
     
  12. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Honestly, Sam! i don`t know why I bother. :rolleyes: Still, criticism is always welcome.

    Thanks as always for the comments. Looking more closely at this tank, it has become apparent to me that the HC needs cutting back as it is subduing the hairgrass a bit too much.

    This tank was on its last legs, because it kept getting outbreaks of Spirogyra but, lo and behold, my hard work removing it and the increased plant mass have won the day, and given me a new interest in this scape.

    Cheers for the photography comments, George. Here is a picture taken with the tank lights. I find it hard to eliminate the over exposed areas using the luminaire. What I want to know is how come my background isn`t nice and white?

    f002pscrop.jpg

    Next stop is a 105mm Nikon macro lens, because I can`t quite catch my fish right.

    f008pscropa.jpg
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    That's very Takashi Amano, very Nature Aquarium - he seems to create that effect, not sure if he does it accidently or on purpose... Of course, if you look at Beaky's lawn you get the same effect, its nice.

    Does the Eleocharis keep the Ricca pinned down or does it come tearing up every so often?

    Also, is the moss growing emersed?
     
  14. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Yes Ravi, the Eleocharis is pretty much keeping the Riccia down. I occassionally pull some of it up when it looks as if it wants to break free. I couldn`t get the HM right down in to the substrate, so I am hoping the HM will stay put as per the Riccia. The HM is giving off O2 bubbles at the moment, and only one or two stems have floated up so far, so fingers crossed.

    The moss has grown up from out of nowhere in the Eleocharis, but I have tied some to the wood at the surface of the water, to see how different it looks above and below the water line.

    Dave.
     
  15. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Yaxley, Peterborough
    Wow, that looks really stunning.
     

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