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Thread: Turning Pics Setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Turning Pics Setup

    I'm sure this has been asked before either here or on that other forum but I'd like to know how to achieve pics of my turnings like the ones I see posted here.

    Travis Stinson, Mark Cothren, Jim Ketron and probably others post these great looking pics with a light foreground changing to a bluish background.

    What sort of photo box setup do y'all use? Is the seamless paper blue? How much light is necessary and where positioned?

    I know that's a lot of questions but I'd really like to improve my picture taking. I have a Nikon D50 digital camera so that shouldn't be the problem. Any advice is certainly appreciated.
    Cody


  2. #2
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    This "inquiring mind" would like to know more, too! I've worked out that a low-cost solution can be set up as shown below ... but there must be more to the setup you "experts" use! Especially lighting-wise...


  3. #3
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    Cody, the backdrop you see is a gradient background.

    Here are a bunch to look at. "Thunder Gray" is the dark one you see a lot of; I have "Studio Gray" myself.

    The photo cube/tent I use came from eBay. I've bought one good one and one cheapie one there, so they do vary from vendor to vendor. (I don't recall who I bought my good one from.) For lights, I use three 5,000K fluorescent bulbs in the aluminum clamp-on fixtures available at the hardware store. Here's my setup. (You should recognize the camera):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  4. #4
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    Ah-ha! I suspected a gradient background of some kind, but I wasn't sure they even made such things.

    Vaughn, what's the wattage on the bulbs you use for this particular setup? It looks like I have everything but the "right" bulbs....

  5. #5
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    Brookhaven, Ms
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    Yup, Vaughn gave you the hot setup. I have the Thunder Gray background and use 1 or 2 lights, along with a white cardboard. I believe my bulbs are 40 watt.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Burton View Post
    Ah-ha! I suspected a gradient background of some kind, but I wasn't sure they even made such things.

    Vaughn, what's the wattage on the bulbs you use for this particular setup? It looks like I have everything but the "right" bulbs....
    I think mine are 40 watt, like Travis'. More important than the wattage is the color temp. I've hear that 5,000K was the right number to look for. (Perhaps someone who knows more can chime in with more info.)

    The professional gradient backdrops that I linked to are pretty pricey. I know other guys have simply made a gradient background with a graphics program like Photoshop, saved the result as a JPG file, then taken the file to Kinko's and got it printed on large stock. For a few bucks, you can still get a pretty good backdrop. I'd suggest sticking with neutral colors, though. As tempting as a hot pink to blue gradient might seem, shades of gray tend to work with a bigger variety of pieces.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys!

    Yep, I caught the 5000 K color temperature reference, but I wondered just how many watts at that "temperature" it took to light:
    * a turned piece
    * through the surfaces of a light tent
    * in an otherwise (mostly?) darkened space
    40 watts per bulb sounds like surprisingly few ... any idea what your average aperture and shutter speed are with that amount of light? If not, no big deal; just curious.

    I appreciate the photos of your setups!

    PS - Travis, I only see one light (in use) in your "wide" shot. Is the one in the second shot kinda hanging from the ceiling? Are there other lights that don't show up in the first photo?

  8. #8
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    Kerry, I run my camera on aperture priority, and crank the f-stop down to F/25 (to get the maximum depth of field). My shutter speed ranges from about .75 to 2.0 seconds...whatever the camera thinks is right. The three lights are sufficient at that slow of speeds. And a tripod is a given. (I also use the self-timer set at 2 seconds, so there's no tripod wiggle.) I shoot the pics in an otherwise darkened room.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Burton View Post
    PS - Travis, I only see one light (in use) in your "wide" shot. Is the one in the second shot kinda hanging from the ceiling? Are there other lights that don't show up in the first photo?
    Yup, it's out of the shot in the 1st pic. It's mounted up and to the left of my tent.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Well, I've been using three VERY bright halogen worklight lamps, and my pics still are too dark

    Maybe the darkened room would help or I can try some of them compact bulbs....
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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