Photography (3)

Monday, 05 January 2015 15:36

In the light box 2

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It has been quite a while since I wrote about how I created a simple light box (Old article). I have recently been using it again and tried to improve the sharpness of the pictures. This was mainly triggered through my all new Canon EOS 60D that I wanted to explore. I came up with the following two pictures:

IMG 1212 making of

IMG 1223 making of


This is what I did:

I used the same light box as before without modification. I do not have professional light equipment. I used the ceiling lamp, a stand lamp and a desk lamp. As you can see in the second picture „The little drummer boy.“ the desk lamp created to hard light. I therefore used some plastic for diffusion. I shot the pictures in raw mode. Because of the difficult light setup, I had to adjust the white balance by hand. I used aperture value 11 and a zoom lens to gain a nice depth of field. I aligned the camera vertically for a nice navel perspective. To improve the sharpness of the image I used a tripod,  mirror lock-up and a remote trigger. I have been using the tripod and the remote before but I think using the mirror lock-up is what made the picture tack sharp. Even though my old EOS 400D also had this function, the EOS 60D makes it a lot easier to apply. One just has to turn on the live view. I normally don’t use the live view because it drains to much battery, though.


 In short:

  • Try to create soft light with diffusion and reflected light.
  • Aperture 11 (for good dept of field)
  • Use raw mode, especially when working with different light types
  • Use a zoom lens with the maximum zoom
  • Align the camera in the navel perspective
  • Use a tripod (for sharpness)
  • Use mirror lock-up (for sharpness)
  • Use a remote trigger (for sharpness)


Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:09

Combine several images into one with Python and PIL

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I have a sub directory data with multiple jpg picture files. The files are named in a way that they are sorted automatically by the os. In my case this is YYYYMM-xy.jpg where YYYY is the year and MM is the month. This is because for this project I made one picture every month over one year. The sub string -xy is extracted by the Python program and is rendered as text onto each image.


files with numbers

 With the following Python script I can combine these eight images into one.

import os
import Image
import ImageFont
import ImageDraw

img_list = []
img_text = []
img_path = "./data/"
width = 176 #684
height = 187 #1024
text_pos_x = 3 #10
text_pos_y = 3 #10
text_size = 10 #50
rows = 2
columns = 0

for file in os.listdir( img_path ):
# Search images
if file.endswith(".jpg"):
# open images
img_list.append( img_path + file ) )
# Extract text to render on the image from the file name
img_text.append( file.split("-")[1].split(".")[0] )
# Print info
print 'File:', file, ' => ', img_text[-1]

for image in img_list:
# resize images
image.thumbnail( (width, height) )

columns = len(img_list)/rows

#creates a new empty image, RGB mode
mosaic = 'RGB', ( columns * width, rows * height ) )

# Prepare draw and font objects to render text
draw = ImageDraw.Draw(mosaic)
font = ImageFont.truetype("C:/Windows/Fonts/arial.ttf",text_size)

for j in xrange( 0, rows * height, height ):
for i in xrange( 0, columns * width, width ):
# paste the image at location i,j:
mosaic.paste( img_list[k], (i,j) )
# render text at location i,j:
draw.text((i + text_pos_x, j + text_pos_y), img_text[k], font=font)
# Select next image and text
k = k + 1

# Save image to file'mosaic.jpg')


The Result is written to the file mosaic.jpg. 


Friday, 11 January 2013 13:48

In the light box

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It has been a long time that I wanted to build myself a light box. Today I finally made it ! It didn’t require that much effort and I didn’t need to by anything yet.

Basically my light box is an old carton where I cut of the top and one side. On the side I left a border of 3 cm for stability. On the sides I have cut out two windows, again with a border of about 3 cm. The rear wall and the base I covered with the back side of an old poster. The color should be white though. Then I covered the side windows with white backing paper for light diffusion. 
Basically you should turn of the room light and install two equal light sources at both of the side windows. Take the picture with a tripod, no flash and a long exposure time. The exposure time in my case was about half a second. I used a remote control to avoid shaking the camera but you can also use the timer function. I didn’t have two equal light sources available this is why the picture is too dark on the right. I have to improve the light but for now I am satisfied.