Thursday, 26 March 2009

Light Box for Peanuts

PeanutHaha I'm funny, err yes well... I really have built a light box for peanuts inspired a while ago by Nick's tent. Although I have used it to take a peanut (right) it's built out of nothing more than stuff I had in the house already.

Aside from making it for next to nothing, I also wanted to allow it collapse so I don't have to store a huge empty box when it's not in use. Here's how I went about it, you'll be needing:

Light Box
Light Box
Light Box

  • For the box:
    • 1 cardboard box (say about 12"x18" but that can vary depending on your use)
    • 3 sheets of light diffuser (I used greaseproof paper, but tracing paper or white material will do nicely).
    • Velcro (just a short length, say 6")
    • A spine bar (long plastic paper binder thing)
    • Sticky tape

  • Tools:
    • Scissors
    • Craft knife

  • Camera Kit:
    • Camera and subject (D'uh)
    • Tripod
    • 2 or 3 lamps

Now it's time to get all Blue Peter...

Cut the box open at both ends. Seal one end back up again with a few little strips of velcro, leaving the other side open. I stuck packing tape onto the box first as the sticky velcro fixes better to that than cardboard. This will allow the finished box to collapse flat for storage. You should now have a box with a single opening so cut off any of the remaining flaps as you see fit, I just removed the top one and left the other three in place.

Cut three large holes, one on each side and one on the top, leaving a small border of about half an inch or so to fix to. Cut three sheets of your light diffuser about half an inch bigger than the holes in the box. Fix these over each hole with sticky tape.

I fixed a spine bar at the top back of the box. This will grip any sheets of paper/material you wish to use as a background to the photos you take in the box. So far though, as in the pictures above, I've found a simple sheet of white paper on the bottom has worked for the small objects I've taken (such as the peanut above). For best results, don't forget to white balance against your sheet of paper first.

Here's the velcro doing its job:

And the spine bar:

Friday, 6 March 2009

Canon EOS 450d Updates

Further to my first post about my new camera and starter kit, I've just added a few more little bits to my starter collection. So here's what else I've got:
Card Reader (my Amazon review)
For years I've been using the older version of the reader I've just bought. They're both cheap as chips at under a fiver in spite of what price Amazon may have them up for now. However, the first worked so well and reliably I bought the new one. The difference? Simply that the new one reads SDHC where the old one didn't and I've just moved both my cameras onto SDHC now.

Not much to say here. Kept getting dusty/dirty lenses that I didn't want to wipe clean for fear of scratching. A blower appears to be the solution that works.

UV Filter (my Amazon review)
I already had one of these but got fed up of swapping between my two lenses so bought another. Sadly, they'd gone up in price quite a bit!

Remote Control (my Amazon review)
Probably the thing that spurred me on the most to order more stuff because I can't use 2 hands to take pictures right now. Also very useful for some ideas I have about getting close to some wild garden birds I'd like to capture.

This remote is made by a far Eastern company who have simply worked out how to interface to various makes of camera and put together their own set of controls. I would normally stick with Canon or other recognised makes but since this bit of kit has no bearing on the output of the camera I thought it worth a buy. Compared with a genuine Canon remote of the same price (the RC-1) it provides the same functionality but does it using a radio rather than an infra red link. This gives the advantages of using over much longer distances and without line of sight to the IR receiver on the camera. To get this capability from a Canon remote costs hundreds.

I've put more detail in my review on Amazon about this remote. However, in summary I would say you can tell it's cheap but it works well, not missed a click yet. It would probably work more effectively in the hands of a better photographer, but it does work.