More production photos

More photos from You Never Close Your Eyes Anymore production.

Cheap, low-wattage studio lighting (part 2)

The florescent bulbs and light kit arrived this week and it was good to see the results of my research. I only found one problem in that the 105W (400W incandescent equivalent) daylight-balanced florescent bulbs were so large the base of the bulb prevented them from fitting into the fixtures.

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I expected they would be bigger than usual, but (in the photos) its amazing how much larger they are than a standard 15W (40W equivalent) florescent bulb. To reiterate, the part you screw into the fixture is a standard (E26) Edison Screw type cap, the same type found on most home incandescent and CFL bulbs.

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I was able to solve the problem for less than $5 at the local big box hardware store with two $2 fixture extenders, and luckily the rod of the reflector umbrellas just barely clear the big bulbs.

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The fixtures are made to carry 250W so it is fine that my bulbs only draw 105W each. The adjustable mount for the lamp fixtures, however, are a little precarious. They are not made to support the weight of these larger bulbs along with the umbrellas so I had to tighten them more than usual. In the future I may find a better solution, but for this project they will do fine.

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Here are some initial tests with the kit and bulbs. These were shot with one light in Camera Raw with a Canon G9, ASA 100, f/3.2 @ 1/13 between 6-10′ from the lights.

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And these at  f/4 @ 1/13 with both lights at around the same distance.

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Cheap, low-wattage studio lighting (part 1)

Update on the photo studio project: I still need a flag and pole (any ideas?) but some advice from a friend and additional research has yielded a great inexpensive lighting option.


The Smith-Victor KT-500U Photoflood Tungsten Light Kit with Umbrellas (B&H # SMKT500 Mfr # 401430) looks like a decent and affordable kit, about 50% of which can be found at any hardware store sans brands. But 250W is a lot of energy to waste on heat, and the Tungsten 3200ºK has a 20 hour life span, which is very short. While the daylight bulb only has a four-hour lifespan!

It has been a while since I researched studio lighting, but with developments in CFLs and LEDs you can now get high lumen, always-on lights, that don’t waste energy and create so much heat that it makes it uncomfortable to work with them.

So instead of the incandescent bulbs, I found these CFLs. They are daylight-balanced (6500ºK), 105W (400W incandescent equivalent), and have a 8000 hour life span, all for less than $30 each. Photo geeks and indoor growers also agree that the spectrum good.

So for less than $200 I’m looking at a decent set of lights that doesn’t require a light meter (I have a grey card) and doesn’t get hot. It’s quite bright, but I can move it back or bounce it off or through the umbrella.

Photography (Basic) NAVEDTRA 12700


I’m working on a new project to recreate a military portrait studio encountered during my previous life as a Navy photographer. In June 2010 I will install it in a solo exhibition at Holzhauer Gallery, Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida, nestled neatly at the edge of Eglin Air Force Base, the “largest air base in the free world.” (quoted from a display at the nearby Air Force Armament Museum)

The project is inspired by rediscovering the Navy photo manual that was issued to me in April 1993 when I entered A-school at the Defense Photography School in Pensacola, FL. The inspiration for this project comes from chapter 7. There are also a lot of great illustrations and photographs including:

  • Page 5-2 has drawings of “photo techniques.”
  • Page 4-30 has an image (from a 4×5 view camera) of the school I went to.
  • Page 6-12 has an example of the old “grip and grin” ceremony.

More updates on the project will follow soon.



My retina, photographed at Ars Electronica in Linz

Below is the image and text from the email response to an interactive exhibit at Ars Electronica in Linz where you can photograph your retina.


This retina photo was taken in the BrainLab of the Ars Electronica Center Linz, Austria.
We would like to welcome you at the Museum of the Future! More information at:

Best regards,
Your Ars Electronica Team