Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Light Table or Slide Viewer

June 26, 2011

Last year, I had started to photograph different vegetables and nature during the summer. However, I lost interest.  I was photographing them on what is called a Porta-Trace.

When I was coming home  early today from Dunkin Donuts, I noticed that the beautiful flowers from a huge catalpa tree well starting to fall. The catalpa tree usually flowers about 4-6 weeks after our Canadian Maple tree does. That rekindled my interest for today's instalment.

The Porta-Trace is a light table that emits light through an opaque and thick plexiglass surface. When you place a page that you want to copy along with some tracing paper, the light goes through the 2 pages, allowing you to trace the subject.

I had a small one that I used to use for viewing slides, but that became obsolete with the digital camera. 
However, it does make a good light source for certain types of professional or even amateur photography.

This image is direclty from  Gagne Inc.
They're the Company that makes the Porta-Trace.
Photo Courtesy of Gagne Inc.
I'll be asking them for permission to use their photo!

What makes it great is that it has a 5500 degree colour temperature that is the same as daylight.
It will normally create silhouettes of 3-dimensional objects, but if you have studio lights that are light-balanced for 3200 degree tungsten, you can use a conversion filter.

The conversion filter (in this case a blue one) will change the colour to  emit the same daylight 5500 degree light. In this way, you can light from the underneath and from the top.

Don't worry, if this "mumbo-jumbo" sounds complicated. I'll explain it all below.

Here are some maple tree seedlings. Notice that without a top light source, they do more into a silhouette. 

In this photo, I used a top light source to give the cherry tomatoes lighting and a small round white spot called a "highlight".

The image above is lit solely with a top studio light that is 3200 degree in colour temperature.
Since my digital camera was set for daylight (5500 degrees), the photo came out reddish!

Now here is the same photo, but this time I added a filter in front of the light source 
to change the colour to daylight.

The filter above is called an 85 conversion filter.
It is sometimes called a "gel" as it is made of a soft heat-resistant plastic.
You can usually find this filter at any pro photography store or pro lighting rental store.
If the light source is "orange", then this blue gel adds additional blue to counteract the orange!

The filter is placed in front of the lens (above) just behind those 4 shapes called "barn doors".
Photo Courtesy of LTM 
I'll be asking them for permission to use their photo!

Hubley  Kiddie Racer # 5 

Tootsietoy Shell Gasoline Truck

More Toorsietoy Vehicles

A couple of Futuristic Tootsietoy Cars

A Hubley Fire Truck

As you can see from the photos above, this lighting technique offers the e-Bay seller or photographer a different way to photograph their items or products.

All of the above toys were repainted by me.


Anonymous said...

rotate slide viewer

toysearcher said...


Thanks for the comment. I just checked, and the images appear properly oriented. However I did find one image that does not show up and has a "!" marked instead. I will restore this one.

Thanks for dropping by, and of course, taking the time to comment.

Stacey Bindman