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Author Topic: better light in my living room  (Read 4536 times)
khb
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« on: January 05, 2008, 11:14:40 PM »
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Hi. I got my first dslr in September in time for the birth of my first son, and have been enjoying taking pictures immensely. Somehow I stumbled upon LL and have learned a lot to help me. So thanks!

My question is about light - my living room is generally too dark so that I cannot get good shutter speed, and what light there is gives an ugly yellow tint. My aim is to improve the light in my room in such a way to require the least amount of time possible fixing it on the computer. And since I'd rather stay away from using flash, my plan is to place smaller lamps in several places in the room to bring up the total brightness level. Is there a kind of lamp or a combination of light bulb that gives more neutral, daylight like color? I'd appreciate any tips. Thanks!

Ken
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John Sheehy
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2008, 11:25:14 PM »
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Quote
My question is about light
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The spiral fluorescents are available in "Daylight", but they are not exactly like the sun, either; they are usually a little bluer.  The daylight bulbs, however, tend to be a little bit harder to find in high output versions; the warm ones are easy to find in 100- and 150-watt "replacement" magnitudes (even 350 I've seen), but daylight I've only recently seen up to 60 (replacement) watts.  I do have some 100-watt daylights here, but they are not easy to find, IME.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 11:27:20 PM by John Sheehy » Logged
TMcCulley
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2008, 11:48:38 PM »
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Ken,

In addition to John's suggestions you might
Changing the light balance setting to icandesant on your camera
Adding or using a flash will also improve the color of the light.

Tom

PS sorry about the earlier misreading of  the OP's post
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 01:11:24 AM by TMcCulley » Logged
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 10:24:06 AM »
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A couple additional suggestions:

1: Shoot RAW. This will allow you the freedom of fine-tuning the white balance setting during RAW conversion.

2: Try increasing your ISO setting. This will increase noise levels, but will allow you to use a faster shutter speed. This works best in conjunction with "exposing to the right", or exposing as much as you can without blowing out highlights.

3: Use faster lenses. A lens with a f/2 or f/2.8 aperture will give you much better results in low light than an f/4 or f/5.6 aperture. AF will be faster, and you'll be able to use a much fastere shutter speed. But these lenses are larger, heavier, and cost more.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 01:55:48 PM »
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Ditto what Jonathan said, if you are going to shoot without flash his recommendations are the only way to do it properly. RAW + Higher ISO + Fast aperture lenses.

If you want to add light in the room by adding lamps/fixtures, try to stick with a consistent type of lighting. Mixing fluorescent, incandescent and halogen will give you color balancing difficulties. Fluorescent light also cycles (flickers very fast) so it can give strange balances shot to shot, I'd avoid it.

One final option is to use a shoe mounted flash and bounce the flash off the ceiling by pointing the flash head straight up. It gives a more natural appearance, with an even overhead lighting that fills up the room. This way you can also turn down the ISO, put the camera on Manual mode with a closed down aperture and faster shutter speed (ie. f/5.6 and 1/125) and then rely on the flash to light up the whole room. It gives you a lot of light, a lot of depth of field, and freezes motion.

Personally, I do both available light and bounced flash photography, depending on the "look" I'm going for.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 02:11:40 PM »
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I have had good luck ordering bulbs from full spectrum

http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com/natur...CFQY8gwodNFmYXQ

6 of these in my "photoshop room"
http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com/18w_p...act_64_prd1.htm

and I use these in a reflector as my "poor mans" studio lights
http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com/42w_p...lb_412_prd1.htm

Marc
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Marc McCalmont
John Sheehy
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2008, 08:48:20 PM »
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Quote
Fluorescent light also cycles (flickers very fast) so it can give strange balances shot to shot, I'd avoid it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165475\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The flourescents you're probably thinking of are the old ones that go through 120 or 100 light cycles per second.  The spiral ones cycle thousands of times per second, as far as I can tell, and would require extremely fast shutter speeds to cause a problem.  I just took a whole bunch of shots of my daylight spiral bulb through a diffusor, and they were all very close in intensity, and exactly the same in color, at 1/4000 seconds each and the same aperture.  The spirals are not completely continuous spectrum, but there are really no significant gaps, if you look through a tiny hole with a diffraction grating.  They have a mixture of short, continuous bands, a numerous narrow bands, fairly evenly spaced.
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condit79
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2008, 08:19:57 AM »
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Try some of the chinese paper globe lamps and daylight bulbs (they cost a bit more but are a cooler temperature).  I have friends that light for movies and they´re all about these for getting an interesting all around illumination.  Put one in each corner of the room and you´ll have a better light source to work with.  Sure you´ll still have to shoot iso 400-800 and balance the light, but try it out and see if it works.
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mahleu
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2008, 09:06:54 AM »
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Open the curtains and use a large piece of polystyrene to reflect the light to where you need it.
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Tony Sx
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2008, 08:15:20 AM »
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Another - more expensive - way would be to install a light pipe. You get remarkably good additional light on even the grayest of days.
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