Instructables

Plastic Light Tent - The Light Kennel

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I live in Victoria Australia, have been photographing the gradual recovery of the forest after the fires in February this year. This involves photographing insects, small plants, and fungi as they emerge from the ash beds. When taking photos in strong sunlight it is best to have a diffuser of some sort to even out harsh shadows and over blown highlights. Many photographers use fabric tents and screens:
http://naturalimagery.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html
http://www.ezcube.com/documents/ezcube_features.htm
But in the woods these fabric tents soon get wet and dirty (particularly in ash beds).

Recently I saw some people had made light diffusers out of plastic containers:
www.instructables.com/id/Budget-photographic-lighting-%22tent%22./
www.sigma-2.com/camerajim/cjgflatware.htm
http://www.instructables.com/id/Budget-photographic-micro-studio/

I realized that plastic was an excellent solution to my problem. Plastic would get not be effected by moisture and is easy to clean; but I needed something bigger than a bucket. I decided to adapt a plastic storage box. Ordinary plastic lacked the right diffusion so I modified the translucency with sandpaper.
The Light Kennel was born.................
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

What you will need:

 Materials:

White transparent or translucent polyethylene box pref with lid; you choose the size but it should be deep; and as uniform as possible on the bottom and sides. (Anything that will cast a shadow eg wheels/rollers is not a good idea)

Masking tape

Tools:

Electric drill

Hole saw a bit bigger than your camera lens assembly

Small drill for pilot holes to guide hole saw

Dremel (Dremel clone, or aviation snips and/or nibbler)

Medium coarse (~80 grit) sandpaper and block or pref. sponge sanding blocks

Stanley Knife or large box ripper for trimming

You might find a half-round file handy for smoothing the plastic

Sharp pen that will mark masking tape

Ruler (or straight edge and measuring tape)
BtheBike3 years ago
very cool info LightLab. I've been having a hard time photographing chromed bmx bikes. now i will definitely try diffusion .
Light_Lab (author)  BtheBike3 years ago
You would need a very large plastic box to get a bmx in. I would suggest making a tent out of white riplock nylon or polyester fabric.
This could work as a litterbox too....
Light_Lab (author)  superMacaroni3 years ago
Hey you are right, I printed out your comment, screwed it up, and I got it through the slot first try. Trouble was it was still lying on the floor later when I picked up the box. Then I realized your idea had no basis.
bigwibble64 years ago
thanks for the 3 side by side photos, it makes it very clear how effective it is. I might do one with one side abraded and the other not, so I can have some options when the sun is low (coming through the side of the box)
jeff-o4 years ago
Very nice results!
Chromatica4 years ago
5.00
Great job and good for you for doing a control like how you made a sample one without sanding!!!
Light_Lab (author)  Chromatica4 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. I guess the concept of a control comes from my work in a lab.
As it turns out both boxes are useful in practice; sometimes you need a bit of shadow.

Light-Lab
I guess so.
Still great idea
billyc020434 years ago
Like for my small e bay stuff.
Light_Lab (author)  billyc020434 years ago
Yep - I also have two commercial light tents and most of the time I pull out a home made light kennel because it is more convenient. Often does a better job too.

threadbare4 years ago
This is the greatest thing. I can't wait to make one.  Super easy.
sekiraO_O4 years ago
Good use of the Instructables medium. Good use of an all ready available item.
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