Thursday 27 January 2011

Natural Window Light

At Combwich, a nicely buffed up 82005 prepares to take on coal next to the foreman's Morris Traveller.

For most layout photographic commissions we have to use portable studio lighting to get the best out of layouts because most model railways are nowhere near a good source of natural light or are lit by domestic spotlights. This type of artificial lighting, whilst popular is totally unsuitable for photography because of multiple shadows and uneven pools of light it generates. Tip: do what Pendon do and use fluorescent tubes if you want to use your layout for photography, modern digital cameras cope very well with this type of lighting.

Sometimes though the layout can be placed next to a window, the soft lighting especially if on an overcast day can produce a very nice luminous quality.

For the shot here, the layout was placed at about a 70 degree angle to the window, the angle being important to add a bit of modelling which highlights texture and detail. In the digital darkroom, apart from some basic level control (which is no different to the old days when we used to send negs away for printing or do our own at home), the only computer addition is the little whiff of smoke. Oh yes, and the use of Helicon Focus to extend the depth of field, that however will not have added anything that isn't actually there.

You can see a bigger version here:

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