How do you control light? That is an interesting question and lies at the root of more than one good argument. We are visual. Whenever we can enhance and improve our photography I am all for it. Over the years we have been fortunate enough to have plenty of natural light to work with. This has meant that we were often taking pictures at the crack of dawn or as the sun faded into West. Since our initial beginnings we have been shown a few tricks, one of the best being to use a reflector to bounce and filter light. Since then, we have seen several homemade light boxes which act to tame both natural and artificial lights. Although the idea was intriguing, we never actually got around to creating one of our own, until today.
In the past Alex has had issues with the background in our photographs. In the beginning we took most of our pictures outside and he was reasonably tolerant of the fact that we had to deal with having the great outdoors as our background. When we moved to New York and began doing the majority of our photography indoors, that tolerance evaporated. We would spend hours going back and forth about what was acceptable and when a background actually became an integral part of the picture. He prefers a bit more austerity, to highlight the food being photographed. I like a bit of background at times because I think that the appropriate scenery, even blurred out, can add to to the overall effect. I first started showing him home made light boxes almost a year ago as a good, inexpensive solution to his issues with background. As winter has progressed the light has gotten stronger and harsher and even filtering it does not always mitigate the sharp effect that it can have on pictures. Today seemed like a good time to revisit the concept of building a light box.
In the past I had not wanted to make this box for a number of pointless reasons. Today, our discussions (arguments) about photography pushed me over the edge. If we were going to continue to improve we needed a system in which we could take excellent pictures anytime of the day. (True) So finally the moment arrived. I was ready to embrace the light box. Aki showed me a relatively simple design that she found on-line and I was off to buy the materials.
Unsurprisingly I became distracted by the supermarket next to the office supplies store and the trip took a bit longer than anticipated. (That's what I get for letting him go by himself.) I returned home and immediately got to work on the dining room table. It was bit crowded with various flotsam and jetsam. I cleared a few things off and pushed others aside and began cutting and taping. I left my coffee and a cola around in case I needed sustenance while working on my project. Note to self, take the beverages off the work space. As I was putting on the third side, I suddenly noticed a beige river flowing across the table. Thankfully Aki was in earshot and quickly ran to my rescue as I held the dripping box up over the table . A few handfuls of paper towels and a good shot of Windex alleviated my mess. Back to work. Building the light box took more time than I had first anticipated. In the end it was worth the time and effort I put into it. I was simply left wondering what took me so long.
We now have a great new tool to help enhance our photography and allow us to capture inspirations as soon as we think of them. Simple, inexpensive to make, and priceless.