I usually cook in the evenings and more often that not the main problem I face while taking photographs is with the lighting. I've always disliked the yellow tint of the bulbs and the first thing I did after moving in was to replace all the lights in my apartment to energy saving white light bulbs. My kitchen counter opens into the hall and dining area of the apartment and so I have to turn on all their lights while clicking to get decent light on the food. Inspite of all these, there is always a tone adjustments made in the post-processing stage. Now with winter fast approaching even the slight day light I see when I get back from office is fast diminishing, and that got me worried.
I did not know if I should invest on a couple of high intensity lamps, or buy a product specific for photography. I read high praise about the Lowel ego lights successfully used by food bloggers, but it is expensive. It was definitely way out of my budget, at this point of time I would rather choose to invest on more lenses than a lighting system. So in the midst of all this confusion Jai's DIY idea for a tabletop lighting system was just perfect for me. I always have enjoy doing such projects, you get to have hands on fun and fiddle with stuff you usually stay away from, and did I mention that I love using tools! Assembling the coffee table, book shelves, bed stands etc are things I thoroughly enjoy. Even in engg I would look forward to our 'workshop sessions', It was like the 'games periods' in school.
But I must say, I was totally out of my element when I went shopping for this one. I cannot recollect the last time I shopped for anything electrical, if you ingore the bulbs :) I roamed through the electrical wiring and lighting shelves countless times today unable to make up my mind. I think it took me 2hrs shopping for the teeny list Jai put up.
What did I use ? The only particle boards the store had were the ones used for shelving, I dropped the idea to use them as that would have involved sawing to get the right size, and I was going to skip the saw (don't have one). I asked them for the smallest and cheapest piece of wood they had and was pointed towards the 2x2 birch wood sheets, perfecto! Then I don't know what I was looking for but saw a few sheets of plastic that resembled the cross stitch board Jai mentioned, it was called a lighting panel. After that name I could not waste any more time, 2 of them were in my shopping cart. I still don't know what they are used for! :D
Next I bought the dowel rods, screws....hmm I could not recollect what it was used for and after about 15mins of browsing thru the whole collection they had, I walked away with none :D After these I headed toowards the electrical section, one I was avoiding until now. Luckily after another 15-20mins I found a helpful store assisstant who helped me pick the best combo that fit my requirement. I bought 4ft of lamp wire, 2 each of 3-way sockets, plug and cord switches. She asked me to buy electric tape which I did in my ignorance and never used in the project. I spent 30-35$ on the whole. I bought sockets and switches that would support the use of 3-way bulbs, so that if I choose so, I can vary the intensity of light.
I had 40W bulbs (energy saving kind), screw drivers, a borrowed power drill and adhesive tape at home. I skipped the saw, staplers and extra screws and the translucent paper too. The last one only because the store din't have it and I was too hungry to go spend time in another store.
The room was not as dark as it looks but definitely underlit, the only other light was on the far end of the living room.
So after all this, I spent a good 3 hrs setting it up, I took my own sweet time figuring out how to wire the sockets and plugs :)) The rest was breeze, and again a looooot of fun. Thank you soo much Jai for your a brainwave of a idea and clear instructions :) I had no trouble piecing it together, and was as excited as Edison when the bulb glowed :))
Anyone looking for a productive weekend plan, this one if just for you :)