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Well, I’ve been at it again.  

19th century studio camera, with bellows for f...

First of all, I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I love taking pictures but that I’m a real amateur when it comes to photography.  I’ve learned a lot, but I have a long way to go. That said, I must admit to something that happened to me a few weeks ago and has been eating at me ever since.

I was scrolling through the blogs I follow, when I came upon the daily post of a blogger friend we’ll call Cindy (well, we’ll call her that because that’s her name), and she always takes gorgeous pictures, so I like to look at her blog, among others.  So, low and behold, her pictures suddenly became even more stunning!  Then I noticed her post said that these pictures were taken with her new camera!!!  

051807 My Cameras with Notes.

Well, I just had to see about this, so I read her post (here) and looked at her pictures of her new camera until I was just green with envy.  Cindy, it seems, had been using a camera with similar capabilities to mine (and had still taken better pictures), and now had acquired a camera with fabulous features that I very much had been wanting for myself.  Curses!

So then I just decided that I was tired of my pictures looking like they were taken by a blind person with no fingers, and started taking steps to amp up my game.  City Boy had already told me he wasn’t getting me the Mother Of All Cameras until I learned to use the camera I had.  Fair enough.  I would show you a picture of my camera but I can’t take a picture of my camera WITH my camera.  And, well, you’ve seen the kind of pictures my cell phone takes.

So, I decided I would start with trying to improve my food pictures (don’t look at the food posts in my blog yet; I haven’t started improving) and later happened to stumble upon another blog that had a great post for making a DIY photography light box (here).  And it was not difficult, woohoo!

I already had most of the materials, except tracing paper, so I asked City Boy to pick me up some on his way home from work IF it wasn’t too expensive.  “I’ll use something else if it’s over (x) amount,” I told him.  All he heard me say was “tracing paper.”

He came home with a tablet of tracing paper with the price sticker still on the front.  I almost flew at him like a rabid monkey when I saw the price.  Actually, I calmly asked him why he paid so much.  “You said you needed tracing paper,” he said.

Overpriced tracing paper, tag removed

So, anyway, I made the light box and was pretty pleased with it.  Sure, it looks like I picked it up ready-made at the city dump, but I never claimed to be that handy at cutting a big glass-pack moving box with a pair of sewing scissors.  

Frank is pretty nice to indulge me sometimes.  Last week he took me into the city to look around a photography supply shop and see what I could see.  What a mistake — I wanted everything!  After discovering that the hobby of photography was an expensive one, I had a salesperson come over and help me, and I decided that I should get some special photography light bulbs to use with my light box (plus, they were the cheapest least expensive things in the place).

An original Edison light bulb from 1879 from T...

All happy with my decision, the salesman asked me which kind of bulb I wanted.  “There’s a difference?” I asked.

I was told that one gets very hot, and the other one doesn’t and also lasts longer than the “hot’ version.  I almost went for the one that doesn’t catch things on fire, when I discovered that there was a nearly $60 price difference per bulb.  Okay, well then, I’d just have to run a fan when I took pictures.

So, thinking I was happily decided, I was then told that the “hot” bulbs required a special ceramic light socket.  How much was that?  Theirs were $119 apiece.  Dang, foiled again.

For about the third time, I went out to the truck, dejected, and told City Boy the news.  He had been waiting in the truck with Lucy (because, of course, he can NEVER go anyplace without her).  Frank sent me back into the store after telling me to pick up some of the “hot” lights because he was sure that hardware stores carried work lights with ceramic sockets that were a whole lot cheaper less expensive.

Into the store I went again, happily decided.  Or so I thought.  The salesman asked, “How many watts do you want?”  “Wha…?” I asked back.  “There’s 250 watt and 500 watt.”

“Um,” I stammered, “will the 250 be bright enough?”  He demonstrated it.  Blinded and feeling my way out of the store after my purchase, I was mildly confident I hadn’t just wasted $10.50.

A day later and a trip to Home Depot wiser, we were the proud owners of one work/photography light, for starters.

My maiden voyage with using the light box was without the photography light — I was still a little nervous about burning my house down.  I grabbed the first thing I saw to put in the light box (my box of Easter decorations was still sitting next to the garage door in the utility room waiting to be taken out), and just used natural light.

With some Princess House in the light box, I tried it with just natural light coming in from one side.

Then I finally got brave and powered up the photography light (fingers crossed).  Except maybe I shouldn’t have used mirrored plaques as my subject, since it kind of reflected the camerawoman.

This is with only one photography light, placed above the light box — the ideal light setup is supposed to be a light on either side of the light box as well.  We really wanted to see how it went before we went full throttle on this.  What do you think of the results so far?

Cindy, my fellow blogger with the new camera, has been extremely supportive of me, and I am not the least bit mad at her for getting her new camera — it’s fun to kid around from time-to-time, and I am pleased that she is having a great time with her fantastic new acquisition! 

Of course, my blog would not be complete if it didn’t INclude a picture of Precious Baby before I CONclude this post (I take great pride in my corniness).  Have a wonderful, wonderful day, and I’ll sign off with this picture of Precious Baby at the zoo looking at the penguins!

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