Playing with Strobes and Makeshift Lightboxes-1

Posted by
Laurie (New Jersey, United States) on 17 January 2008 in Art & Design.

I've finally gotten around to playing with a makeshift lightbox, something I've been wanting to try for some time...Thanks Barbara for the inspiration and suggestions!

I used an opaque plastic file box that happened to be empty and a piece of white poster board for the background sweep. It worked pretty well, but I still have a lot to learn.

I used two Nikon SB-800 speedlights off camera for my light source. I ended up shooting through my white umbrellas for the best results. But, hey I already had them so no biggie! I played with different power settings for the lights. One over, one under, one above, one to the side, etc...I don't remember the exact setting or set-up for every shot because I am not diligent in writing these things down. I really should do that.

Some shots had virtually no shadows, but I preferred the ones with a little shadow interest. I believe I shot this one with both SB-800 speedlights, one directly above and one to the right. I think the one above was at -2.0 EV and the one to the right was at 0 EV. I used the Nikon CLS on my D200 in Commander mode using the pop-up flash to control the speedlights which can be set to work independently from each other from within the camera. It's pretty neat and works well without the need for radio slaves in these kinds of conditions, and quite frankly most of the conditions I use them in. I am usually shooting within the range for them to work without radio slaves. The pop-up was set to provide no light; just control the 2 speedlights but I noticed that a little sparkle reflection got caught by the glass of the bottle so I blocked it with a piece of index card without it affecting the functionality of the set up. It's really a very cool thing. That little pop-up flash is good for something, no, it's great for this reason!

The box I had available was pretty small, just file folder size. So I was limited to shooting only small items. The subject here is a very tiny, very beautiful, hand painted (on the inside), snuff bottle that my neighbor and dear friend brought back from China quite a few years ago. It stands all of 2 3/4 inches tall! It came in the red silk box. It is something I will always treasure. Click here for info on the Chinese Snuff bottle. I don't use snuff, but the bottle is quite beautiful.

I now have a larger box that Mark picked up for me Tuesday when he saw what I was doing...Love ya Mark!

I have been making some other home-made gadgets to play with for lighting and I am looking forward to showing the results, good or bad! It's fun and what better time of year to play with strobes and creative lighting?

Please visit my other photoblog

NIKON D200 1/100 second F/8.0 ISO 200 70 mm

Coming back to AM3 after a long hiatus. I hope to be more active in the coming months.

1/100 second
ISO 200
70 mm