(Some might even say she was sweet)
All summer long she chirped and sang, enjoying the bounty of the abundant crops surrounding her home and taking pictures of all she could find.
But then, as Fall set in, a terrible thing started to happen - the sun started setting earlier and earlier until one day it was only a quarter after five in the evening and it was so dark she had to turn on the light in her kitchen to cook dinner.
The bird was very upset you see, because she could no longer take pictures of her food without the natural light of the sun.
(The bird had an intense loathing of yellow pictures and flash photography.)
But then she had an amazing idea! A light box! Then the bird could take lovely photos all winter long without a need for that silly old sun!
But could she? Would it be too hard or expensive to create such a lovely contraption?
She never should have worried - it was easier than pie! With a nice big cardboard box, some tissue paper, and a light - ta da! Pictures!
Alright, now that I'm finished being a complete jackass I'll tell you how to make one too.
I was born and raised in Washington - the lovely state that gets 8 hours of dark in the summer, and 8 hours of light in the winter. It's a pain in the ass come November and it's dark by 4:30 pm. You feel like you live in a cave. So, when Mr. TA and I moved down to California I figured that it wouldn't be nearly so bad. After all, we were a thousand miles farther south.
Yeah...not so much.
Now it's dark by 5:15.
45 more minutes.
Mr. TA doesn't even get home from work until 5:30 most of the time, and I'm sure as heck not going to serve him a cold dinner I prepared an hour earlier just so I could take a picture of it. Mr. TA works a very long day and he deserves a nice hot dinner when he gets home. Unfortunately by that time it's so dark I can't even get a decent photo with my tripod. Mr. TA thinks I should just use the flash or turn on a light...Mr. TA also just doesn't really get my aversion to doing that. Even if my aversion is simply that I think it looks like ass when people do that.
My first attempt at salvaging some photos was to try to take a picture of the leftovers the next day.
Yeah...not so much.
I don't care if you're goddamn Thomas Keller - you can not make leftover Lentil and Orzo Soup look any better than dog poo the next day. (OK, that's a lie. Thomas Keller can do anything.
And then it hit me - build a light box you stupid bird. Duh. It's cheap, it's easy, and it works.
Because who wants to take a picture like this:
When you could take a picture like this:
I've slowly been improving my photography over the last few months, so now that I can continue to take photos through the winter hopefully I'll be able to really get better.
How to Make a Light Box
1 large cardboard box
6 sheets white tissue paper
heavy duty tape
a light source
ability to not shank oneself while making the box
1. Cut off two of the flaps of the box, opposite each other.Set the box on it's side so that the two remaining flaps are vertical. Cut out the sides and top of the box. Your finished product should look like this.
Also, if possible, you should include a shot of the dirty ass rug on your kitchen floor. I think it really adds to the photo.
2. Using two sheets of tissue paper per side, cover the cut out sides and tape in place. Your finished product should look like this:
3. Cut a piece of white, non-reflective poster board to the width of the your box. Secure one side to the inside bottom of your box, and the opposite side to the back of the box. It should look like this:
I'm fricken ghetto so my posterboard doesn't reach all the way up the back of the box to the top like I want it to, but this isn't really a big deal. Most of my shots are really close up anyways.
4. Now you get your light source. I went to my local hardware store and picked up this baby for $9.49 + tax.
It's pretty sweet. (That's my Napoleon Dynamite voice)
It uses a regular light bulb and has a clamp.
Which is sweet.
Then you clamp it on to something and shine it either from the side:
In which you're cow shaped salt shaker from your grandmother will look like this:
But, you have to make sure you alter the white balance on your camera. That's the difference between a yellow cow and a white cow. And no one wants a yellow cow.
Or you can clamp your light on the chair you're using for support because you have to do all of this in your second bedroom which really isn't a bedroom at all it's more of a repository for all Mr. TA's GI junk that won't fit anywhere else and because there's no room to put it anywhere else you have to use the stupid chair. Whew...
In which your cow shaped salt shaker from your grandmother will look like this:
Pretty snazzy, eh? I was impressed myself.
Don't forget to change your ISO setting though. I was using a really high setting previously because I was operating in really low lighting, but if you keep a high ISO you'll end up with a lot of noise. Here's the difference between ISO set at 400:
And ISO at 50:
They may look the same, but if you click on them to look at them full size you'll see the difference. The clarity is so much better at 50.
Long story short, a light box will really save you through the winter if you rely on sunlight for your photos. I know I will very happily get back to blogging my little heart out now that I can take decent photos again.
In fact, tonight I made Lettuce Wraps.
There are so many things you can do with such a simple project. Obviously this is the amateurs solution, but I don't think there are too many hobby bloggers like myself that are willing to run out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of equipment or take a damn flash photography class just to snap a couple shots of whatever culinary delight they're shoving in their mouth at the moment. This is the perfect solution for me, it may not be for you.
I do urge you to give it a try though.
I know I'm going to have fun taking pictures of all sorts of things this evening...
Like the tea tin I brought back from Disney World when Mr. TA and I went to Florida
Or the naughty little secret I keep hidden inside
I know, isn't it wrong? Candy corn? It's so awful...and sooo good...
Well, you know what happens when someone can't keep a secret right?
They get their head bitten off...
It's the candy corn version of sleeping with the fishes.
Oh, what's that? You can't keep a secret either?
Well, I can fix that!
Oh, well...I guess I shouldn't leave any evidence, huh?
Surely he'll never tell of my indiscretions...