Coming Out of the Light

Posted on August 9, 2011


Been a bit busy lately film testing. If I can somehow figure out how to not make this important topic as boring as it sounds, I’ll post soon.

The Light Project

I’m full of ideas. And occasionally, I bring them to fruition. BTF (before the fire), I had engaged Christian Pointer to help me make some lights for my old house. At that house I had a row of 2’x2′ windows running the length of the house, twelve or so. Bing! You know how you can’t see out a window at night? Well, what if I projected B&W images onto the windows from lights? This idea evolved to printing images on glass and lighting them with little spots. And that evolved into making the lights out of old camera bodies, sort of a pun on the whole process of photography. I bought a very nice selection of old cameras on eBay, days before the fire. Well that put the kabosh on that idea for a while, but eventually, Christian and I pooled our formidable creativity, rivaled only by our powers of procrastination, and made it happen.

Rail Lights

The basic light kit

So, we bought a basic rail light kit from Seattle Lighting Supply. Then we pulled off the prism up top where you would aim the camera, drilled a hole in the back of the film door, removed the lens, and basically wrapped the camera around the light, with no modifications to the light at all. We just popped one of the cans out, my friend Dave Gonsalves made me a piece of hardboard to cover the hole and I mounted the rail to it. The bendy rail made it simple to put a sexy curve to it.

The wrap

The wrap from the top

And the back

It took a while to pick the color of the shade believe it or not.

Camera Lights

In place

So I like the whimsy of the camera projecting the image. That’s my rotating collection of prints I feature in my entryway. (It took me a year to pick the hallway color, and I ended up just mixing it myself. I wanted a color that would showcase the prints.)

The one facing the camera is because, believe it or not, in my formal dining room, there is nt over head light and only two wimpy lights by the fire place.  Even with those on, it’s too dark to eat or whatever you do in formal dining rooms. So I had to point the light in from the hall. I guess I could’ve turned it for the photo, because the lights have full adjustability, but I didn’t think about it.

Steam Punk Spot

Anyway, I had this kind of cool desk lamp I bought on close out because I liked its kind of steam punk articulation.

The reading light

The tape and wood and stuff is because the light fell over during prototype testing, couldn’t use it for the main event, but rather than throw it out I cobbled it together for a reading lamp. And yes, that is a card with a hole worn nearly through it from spinning it on my fingers. Someday  I’ll post a video of that.

Anyway, I used these articulated lights and made some spots for a couple of Barnbaum prints I came across on eBay.

Steam Punk version

Hung inverted as a spot

For these lights, Christian did a lot more work, wiring the lamp through the camera and making “lens barrels” to hold the light bulb. Of course I need to neaten up the wiring. I pulled the cheap can lights and just wired into them using a plug that screwed into the light socket. Ideally, I need to cut holes into the top of the drywall and really neaten it up.I found one commercial plate to cover the opening and cannot find another Everything is a work in progress. It’s kind of like you don’t own a house and you are afraid to actually modify it, so right now I could remove all of these lights and replace the cans in 15 minutes, but eventually I  want to put wainscoting, hard wood floors , and paint the room with bronze dry-brushed over with purple.  The wiring will definitely be fixed by then.

Note the Nick Brandt book on the lower right. This is a house of photography.

Anyway, we have boxes of camera bodies and would actually like to sell these, or various versions. I’m thinking right now of a Polaroid lamp shade.

Posted in: Gear, Photography