Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Technique

I will use a Canon Rebel-Xt camera fitted with a macro lens to take the photographs, shown below:

Below is a front picture of one of my cheap $9 lighting units ($12 with cool flourescent bulb)

This is the back:

In order to reduce glare on the item to be lighted, I fit a round defuser cloth around the opening of the lamp's bowl. My central difficulty is that the top of the bulb is at about the same level as the rim of the bowl. I was afraid that the heat from the bulb might eventually begin to burn the cloth. I solved this problem by innovating with binder clips, as shown below.

I attach four at right angles to the rim of the lamp.

I put the lever in the "down" position on the outside of the bowl, like so...

...but I leave the lever "up" on the inside of the bowl, like so...

...finally, I put the cloth over the top of the extended levers of the binder clip so that it doesn't touch the bulb, like so...

At present I am assuming that we will photograph the newspapers by spreading them on the floor. As your newspapers are far, far more valuable than my sample copy of The Seattle Times, naturally we will spread an appropriate surface covering. I imagined a large cardboad sheet set on top of a tablecloth might be adequate. I would be able to mark "corners" into the cardboard so as to be able to place the newspaper perfectly with respect to the camera each time I photograph a page, hopefully reducing time between shots. I am naturally anxious to hear your input and will be grateful to adapt to your specifications. This is what the set-up looks like in my living room:

As you can see, I clamp the lighting units to common household furniture (in this case, TV trays). The camera is attached to a tripod designed to face downward.

While I can't post the image on blogger because of its size, if you follow this link, the full image is available at Flickr. As you can see even the small print is very clear.

It has been suggested to me that you may have a system in which the newspapers are displayed vertically, rather than horizontally. In this case, I will simply have to find some sort of a pole on a platform to set the lights up high enough. The tripod can, of course, be set-up facing forward, rather than down.