Sunday, 1 November 2015

Camera Challenge 9 - Using artificial light indoors

At The Littlest Thistle Katy sets a challenge each month to help us get to know our cameras better. Over the past nine months I have learnt a lot, but this month's challenge was really challenging! This is something I have seldom done up to now!

First a word about the artificial lighting in my apartment - it's atmospheric! In other words it's orange tinted to make the place look warm, and is pretty useless for handwork. The ceilings are quite high and the ceiling lamp in my sewing room is the equivalent of 40 watt - not bright enough even to find a dropped pin!

This very cheap Ikea lamp below is perfect and is usually hooked over my sewing machine, illuminating the fabric as I feed it through. For this exercise it is raised about 12cm courtesy of a box of fabric in order to be directed onto the subject!

This next lamp is the best in the house, if you want to see what you're doing, that is.

It belonged to my mother-in-law who went blind towards the end of her life and had this lamp with 2 small tube lights on each side of the magnifying glass (4 in all) to enable her to embroider and do crossword puzzles for a little longer. I rarely use the magnifying glass, but the lamp is perfect for the cutting table, swivels round for the ironing board and was the other half of my indoor photography lighting. I set the two lamps up opposite one another.

Unfortunately this is the best I got with these two combined and the ceiling lamp!

With this I am not satisfied!

Camera setting:
ISO 1600 (the highest value I have)
Av 4.5
Tv 1/400 (clearly much too short, but the pointer was in the middle of the scale)

A few days later I went for a second attempt. The lighting set-up was as before but this time I used flash. You probably wonder why I hadn't done that before, but thereby hangs a tale! (coming later) As I couldn't find how to use flash with manual camera setting I switched to the menu setting "macro".

Better, but I still don't like the dark shadows.
Camera setting:
ISO 400
The objects are lying on a white A4 sheet of paper, but I find the shadows annoying and as for that white sheet of paper ...!

Part of the problem for me is that I always jump when the flash unit jumps up on top of the camera! And I mean that literally. I know it's coming, but the loud noise always takes me by surprise and wobbly photos are the result. This was the umpteenth attempt and the only sharp one. I really don't like using flash, but it's there so I should learn how to use it.

I'm not going to buy proper photography lights because I have nowhere to store them, so I will have to investigate this combination further. Maybe a second Ikea lamp would help (€9.-) Up to now I've only taken photos indoors where there was enough daylight. I've avoided artificial lighting, and it shows!

I'm linking up with The Littlest Thistle 
Littlest Thistle Camera Challenge 2015
so click on the button and go and see more indoor photos.

Happy snapping



Katy Cameron said...

Okay, maybe I need to do another challenge showing how to get backgrounds brighter :o) I thought I was finished, but there may be a bonus one after all! Basically though, in manual mode change your settings so that the pointer is actually to the right of the scale, that will brighten things up

Vera said...

The trouble with light when the days get short :) I feel your pain :)

Ruth said...

You can get daylight balanced light bulbs too - they are not atmospheric but you can swap them in and out of an old lamp if you need to!

Vireya said...

I have to admit that when I take photos inside (such as at my quilt group), I don't adjust my camera. I lazily let Windows give me a few colour-balance options and choose the one that looks most like the colours as I remember them.

Jo Ferguson said...

Indoor lighting is always a challenge. The macro setting definitely helped. I'm enjoying your experiments with the camera.