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View Full Version : lighting gods, a few ideas please


BrandonV
02-10-2009, 08:42 PM
we're refurbishing the landscape at this home and have already sold and planned out the plants/lighting for the front and the homeowner today asked me to maybe throw in some light for their new arbor here on the deck. I mentioned the possibility of putting in a new chandelier but they may keep this one as it works on candle power. would like the light the columns and also the area (candles are great but not that great.) Now if I was to do upights on the columns is there a tiny flush-mounted fixture that someone can recommend? Or better yet (I think) is to use downlight, I'm thinking very small 20W or less. Ideas gentlemen?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-10-2009, 09:01 PM
Downlight grazing of each column could look nice with the fixtures positioned on the inside of the tenting. You could have Nightscaping Artisan fixtures powdercoated white to blend in. If you would like a fixed mount fixture, the Nightscaping Guardian in White is a very small format fixture that could work for this task as well. There might be some issues with wiring... it is hard to tell what the tent frame structure is. Can you hide all the wires?

Alternatively you could core mount some small dia. uplights into the deck (remember to use glare louvers). The columns would still be grazed with light and it would continue up into the tent creating some interesting effects when viewed from 'outside'.

No matter what you do in this area, I would have the lights on a separate switch/transformer allowing the client the option of having them on or not.

BrandonV
02-10-2009, 09:10 PM
yeah defiantly on a switch, the columns are hollow, I can come up though the deck below.

Lite4
02-10-2009, 09:25 PM
Downlight, downlight, downlight!

Pro-Scapes
02-10-2009, 10:47 PM
yep... downlight over each pillar. Should provide enought ambient light inside. Kichler also makes a low voltage chandilier which would be an excellent replacement for that.

I would opt for the unique probe osm in this senario too

Mark B
02-11-2009, 07:52 AM
I would go for the downlight as well. The thing about up lighting is that the chances of decking support would keep you from getting the lights lined up. If that makes any sense.

Now, would light every side of the post of each post?

Pro-Scapes
02-11-2009, 08:55 AM
I would only light the inside and out but thats just me. I would also see if we could place something interesting near the base of the pillars such as small palms or other plant material.

Some issues with uplighting this...Trip hazzard...Glare when someone walks past... possible covering of the light with decor...That frame inside isnt particularly interesting to me or something I would deem as worthy of attention. If you need light across the ceiling I would cross light it from the tops of the pillars where you can hide the fixtures in addition to the downlighting vs uplighting it.

example of the downlit pillars and ambient light it created. The camera lies. There are not hotspots. 20w 36 deg frosted lens with hex louvers.

nccutter
02-11-2009, 09:33 AM
Where did you (or they) get the columns, frame and cover? I love that.

Pro-Scapes
02-11-2009, 09:43 AM
you can special order em at home depot or lowes. The top area was built with standard 2x lumber. I didnt build this one but have done so in the past. There was a previous lighting system which was a complete failure from its concept.

The original lighting of this had 2 downlights mounted between the 2 outer pillars on each side facing about 60 degrees outward. Armed with 50w lamps (like the rest of the system) and operating at around 6v. You can see the original mounting locations in the unpainted area between the 2 right side pillars. The 2 lights were replaced with 16 lights.

5 on the structure over each pillar
5 on the ligustrum trees directly behind the structure
6 placed on the ground creating the background in the taller trees.

There are over 100 other fixtures at this location as well.

Lite4
02-11-2009, 10:36 AM
Very nice example Billy, That was beautifully done.

Mark B
02-11-2009, 04:55 PM
That looks great. I like the way the ferns catch some of the light.

I'm still in talks with a guy about doing his boat dock I priced back in the fall. I will be using a lot of down lighting on that job.

BrandonV
02-12-2009, 07:35 AM
Where did you (or they) get the columns, frame and cover? I love that.

if that was directed at me I'm pretty sure they had it custom made because the canopy I know was custom, now the columns are standard hollow columns there is a iron rod inside each holding up the awning.

BrandonV
02-12-2009, 07:36 AM
That looks great. I like the way the ferns catch some of the light.

I'm still in talks with a guy about doing his boat dock I priced back in the fall. I will be using a lot of down lighting on that job.

good, glad you've got some work on the burner.

Pro-Scapes
02-12-2009, 08:57 PM
That looks great. I like the way the ferns catch some of the light.

I'm still in talks with a guy about doing his boat dock I priced back in the fall. I will be using a lot of down lighting on that job.

Thanks. Too bad it was december and everything was near dormant. Burt helped me out on this one but he didnt get to stick around to see it completed.

You will find in this business alot of people you talk to will not start a project for some time. I am still in talks with clients of a custom home 2 years after initial consult. The job is now prewired with no installation date set. Be sure that at a certain point the client has a financial commitment to the project before you spend mass amounts of time and energy on the design and estimates. That is the shortest path to having your designs or estimates picked apart by the competition or an ambitious homeowner.

A fine example of this is... My wife and I are planning a tour of England one day. While working at a clients home we met the tour guide they had used while abroad and we talked with her for an hour about what we would like to see and do while there. She clearly stated she was thrilled to talk with us and would love to help us plan our trip and was also clear that "I am really happy to provide you with all the info you like but please rememeber at a certain point I will need a deposit and commitment to your trip"

Tomwilllight
02-13-2009, 11:29 AM
example of the downlit pillars and ambient light it created. The camera lies. There are not hotspots. 20w 36 deg frosted lens with hex louvers.

I think you will agree, the brightest parts of your design are the tops of the columns. That is what the camera tells us in your photograph.

The human eye is attracted to the brightest - most luminous - object in it's field of view. Is that really what you want your client to look at?

The camera cannot lie. It only has the capabilities inherent in photography - digital and chemical - a relatively narrow range of acceptable exposure. When the range is too great, it blocks up highlights or drops out low-lights. In your case, the camera exposed for the low-lights and blocked up the highlights (overexposed) because there is too much light.

The narrow range of good exposure is exceeded and you loose detail in the photo. This can be fixed with careful equipment selection, some small modification and the right lamp. Bounce light is causing the over-exposure (blocking up of highlights) at the top of your columns.

You have no control of the bounce light inside your fixture and that bounce is uncontrollable in your application as described.

I think you have 2 problems. First, you used a frosted BAB rather than a clear ESX. Second, the inside of your glare shield is white and will bounce light even more light onto the top of the column than a normal BAB. You correctly used a louver but it's ability to control bounce is very limited. It is really intended to help conceal the filament brightness from view.

Solution, two alterations & a focus adjustment:

Change the lamp to an ESX - 20W 15 degree and keep the louver (it helps a little)

Paint the inside of your glare shield flat black to reduce the reflectivity. Jan Moyer has been doing this for years and I've started doing it too. It will cut the amount of uncontrolled light bouncing around the top of the column. It helps a lot.

When you focus, kick out your downlight a bit more than you are used to and you will be surprised with how much better the entire scene will look. Your eye will not be as attracted to the top of the column and you will find the entire scene more comfortable to view.

Try it, you will love the result. And the scene will photograph much better.

Tom

Pro-Scapes
02-13-2009, 04:38 PM
Tom thanks for your insight I will try painting the inside of the fixtures I was forced to use these fixtures as they already had 2 that were almost new so I simply added 3 more. I will also try to remove the frosted lenses.

In person the tops are slightly brighter however. When I did try the esx which is the obvious lamp choice here I had one problem. If you will notice the decking surface is white as well. When I originally tried the ESX it left a horribly bright spot on the ground which was also very distracting. In a perfect world this project would of been completed in a split brick or flagstone deck in a contrasting color to the pillars but however it was not.

I will go back in the next few weeks and see about shooting some flat black inside the fixtures and experiment with a 12 deg and 24 deg lamp. In relality the job is lit very even and is a much cleaner color. I seem to have issues grasping landscape lighting in a white tone.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 05:08 PM
A tip Tom gave me re: narrow beams being too bright. Use cut-up peices of window screen in place of a frost lens to calm down the brightness.

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 05:37 PM
Tom thanks for your insight I will try painting the inside of the fixtures I was forced to use these fixtures as they already had 2 that were almost new so I simply added 3 more. I will also try to remove the frosted lenses.

In person the tops are slightly brighter however. When I did try the esx which is the obvious lamp choice here I had one problem. If you will notice the decking surface is white as well. When I originally tried the ESX it left a horribly bright spot on the ground which was also very distracting. In a perfect world this project would of been completed in a split brick or flagstone deck in a contrasting color to the pillars but however it was not.

I will go back in the next few weeks and see about shooting some flat black inside the fixtures and experiment with a 12 deg and 24 deg lamp. In relality the job is lit very even and is a much cleaner color. I seem to have issues grasping landscape lighting in a white tone.

To get the best grazing effect you’d have to cantilever your fixture out approximately 1 foot away from the top of the column and aim straight down or slightly back to column so the incidental light from the lamp just "kisses" the surface. Problem solved. Then your next problem the look of the fixture sticking out above the column.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 05:45 PM
What about using a linear lens?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-13-2009, 05:51 PM
To reduce the reflection from the shroud onto the top of the pillar you could try using a different fixture design. One that allows for the lamp to be deeply recessed into the fixture body, thereby not needing a shroud at all. The Nightscaping Guardian/Mini-Stylist/Stylist are good examples.

"See the effect, not the source."

Pro-Scapes
02-13-2009, 06:27 PM
You know im thinking back about 14 mo ago when I did this project. I have been back since then but I need to clear some things up.

There is a screen in front of it.... The inside of the fixture is indeed white. The fixtures are also slightly off vertical so they are pointed out from the pillars a bit and there is in fact a louver and frosted lens in there. I played for 2 hours with different combinations and this is the one that worked best. Putting the fixture on a riser was not an option altho that would in fact give me the cleanest look for the light but not overall.

On the face of this home are 4 colonial pillars about 20 ft tall. In that application I am mounted with a recessed fixture about 14 inches away from the front of the pillar in the soffit. Indeed a clean look for the light and indeed thoes are ESX lamps. These pillars happened to be too short for an ESX especially with the white flooring. When viewing this project in real life it is very clean looking with no hot spots.... brighter areas of illumination ... yes but nothing i would consider a hot spot.

Pro-Scapes
02-13-2009, 06:30 PM
To reduce the reflection from the shroud onto the top of the pillar you could try using a different fixture design. One that allows for the lamp to be deeply recessed into the fixture body, thereby not needing a shroud at all. The Nightscaping Guardian/Mini-Stylist/Stylist are good examples.

"See the effect, not the source."

The lamp is as deeply regressed in this fixture as possible. I would have to use a much longer fixture to regress it anymore.There is no glare when passing by the fixtures or even from in the pool. You know I am all about regressed fixtures because of my choice in tree lights and in that I use the lightoliers when possible for downlighting homes. There is a definate advantage to this however a line has to be drawn when the fixture is mounted this low and is clearly visable.

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 07:06 PM
Here is a pretty good example of what I mean with grazing effects on light surfaces. All other aspects of this photo are well represented except for all of the columns. Much of the detail is washed out. This is a short coming of the photography not the design. I can tell you that they are no where as hot as they appear in the photo . In fact they are just right when viewed live. A lot of effort was made to be sure of that. The landscape designer who owns the home would never tolerate that.

Lite4
02-13-2009, 07:11 PM
Dang Mike, that is just flippin beautiful. Nice job!

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 07:30 PM
Thank you Tim. Regarding the comment made by someone on recommending going sans a shield. Shields are more importantly used for blocking sight of the glass lens. No matter how deep a lamp is recessed, You see glass during the day and you are going to see glare at night A-1 guaranteed of that. God Bless America!:usflag:

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 07:52 PM
I am not sure I am following the conversation or point to be made here. Mike that is a GREAT picture. As far as my perception goes, I don't see any glare or hot spots in this picture. Since Mike doesn't use photoshop, the point I get out of this picture is that one doesn't need photoshop to edit out hot spots. Your eyes don't lie - that is an awsome lighting portait.

Tomwilllight
02-13-2009, 08:01 PM
Mike, I've got to agree with you on the glare shield.

I've never understood the use of a 90 degree shield in any situation other than ring-mounted downlights in a setting where there are no options for additional shielding with some natural or architectural form from some direction.

With a 90 degree shield - whatever the amount of regression - some inside shield brightness is unavoidably visible.

As for uplight, I really don't understand why anyone would want to put a container for leaves, dead bugs and walnut shells in the landscape. The weep hole plugs up and the thing is filled with dirty water. I'll go to an in-grade unit in an heart beat and deal with the lesser surface brightness they add to the visual field. Still hate them, but the lesser of two evils.

Tom

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 08:54 PM
I am not sure I am following the conversation or point to be made here. Mike that is a GREAT picture. As far as my perception goes, I don't see any glare or hot spots in this picture. Since Mike doesn't use photoshop, the point I get out of this picture is that one doesn't need photoshop to edit out hot spots. Your eyes don't lie - that is an awsome lighting portait.

Thank you Ned. The photo was resized to Lawnsite specs and it was slightly darkened before posting. On the computer screen that I'm typing on now, the photos look great but when viewed on my desktop they appear too bright so I darkened a bit not knowing how it would appear on others screens. The darkening had zero effect on the columns which I feel are a bit hot in the photo. When I say I don't photoshop , I do not do anything besides darkening and sharpening if needed. outside of that not a thing. I have had to refine my photography skills as a result of my lack of photoshop skills. I still feels that Nighttime photography still leaves alot to be desired when trying to replicate exactly what is there. Even pros have a really tough time and cannot get the perfect shot.

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 08:56 PM
Mike, I've got to agree with you on the glare shield.

I've never understood the use of a 90 degree shield in any situation other than ring-mounted downlights in a setting where there are no options for additional shielding with some natural or architectural form from some direction.

With a 90 degree shield - whatever the amount of regression - some inside shield brightness is unavoidably visible.

As for uplight, I really don't understand why anyone would want to put a container for leaves, dead bugs and walnut shells in the landscape. The weep hole plugs up and the thing is filled with dirty water. I'll go to an in-grade unit in an heart beat and deal with the lesser surface brightness they add to the visual field. Still hate them, but the lesser of two evils.

Tom

Couldn't agree more Tom. Again well spoken.

NightLightingFX
02-13-2009, 09:28 PM
I still feels that Nighttime photography still leaves alot to be desired when trying to replicate exactly what is there. Even pros have a really tough time and cannot get the perfect shot.

It maybe difficult to replicate exactly what it there, but if you get a visual picture of something that is undenyably (sp?) great without photoshop there is no doubt you have done a great job as a lighting professional. If you have to rely on photoshop to get great pictures ...well???

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 09:53 PM
It maybe difficult to replicate exactly what it there, but if you get a visual picture of something that is undenyably (sp?) great without photoshop there is no doubt you have done a great job as a lighting professional. If you have to rely on photoshop to get great pictures ...well???

Remember we are lighters first not pro photographers. It is great to be able to be an expert with both, but mastering photography takes many many many years of practice and experimentation on a daily basis. The same is true of landscape lighting.

A photo pro would tell you that Setting your consumer camera on a tri pod in the AV or TV mode, choosing auto exposure bracketing and focusing and pushing a button and allowing the camera to select the aperature and exposure time is hardly the techniques used by a pro. In fact to us this would be like someone using kit lights and claiming to do great lighting work.

I've had some really bad photography sessions at times. I've gone back to my home and uploaded the photos and said-My God this job looks like Sh^*. But I know that it didn't look that bad. And in subsequent visits after dark confirmed it. Just for whatever reason my photos were really off that night. Sometimes it's just the weather , the composition, whatever , exposure time, it just happens. My failure /success rate is probably 96%/4%.

BrandonV
02-13-2009, 10:23 PM
Mike where are the fixtures mounted on that arbor? Awesome picture btw.

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 11:05 PM
Mike where are the fixtures mounted on that arbor? Awesome picture btw.

Thank you Brandon. And thank you for asking that means I did a good job concealing them. The fixtures are mounted in between the rafters above the columns and about 1 foot in front of them. Notice the shadow on the top of the column and the circle of light on the ground underneath. Those are 20 watt BAB's with an added frosted glass lens

Lite4
02-13-2009, 11:27 PM
It maybe difficult to replicate exactly what it there, but if you get a visual picture of something that is undenyably (sp?) great without photoshop there is no doubt you have done a great job as a lighting professional. If you have to rely on photoshop to get great pictures ...well???

Well what? You can still be a great lighting designer and suck royally as a photographer. Just because you may not be great at getting the exposure right on your camera doesn't mean you are doomed to lighting failure.

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 11:56 PM
I particularly like this shot because the fixtures that are downlighting the pots on either side of the pergola are totally concealed from view. Notice the shadows on the ground under the pots

MAGLIGHTING
02-13-2009, 11:59 PM
Here is a shot from the opposite angle

Pro-Scapes
02-14-2009, 08:01 AM
Its always great when you have the oppurtunity to hide the fixtures like this. We did a gazebo in a very similar way and I was thrilled with the results.

In the application I posted of the pillars I think we can all agree my mounting locations were very limited. Had it been a complete roof stucture I can assure you that my fixtures would have been better concealed and further out. I have seen many jobs where the simply mounted the fixtures to the bottom side of the rafters vs hiding them in between.


Excellent work mike. That is a very stunning backyard.

Lite4
02-14-2009, 01:27 PM
Once again, stunningly beautiful. Nice job Mike.

Pro-Scapes
02-15-2009, 10:54 AM
just out of curiosity Mike and it may be the photo itself but why did you decide to leave the steps dark ? I do like the shadows the pots create.

There may be some soft illumination inside and on the steps that the camera is not capturing due to the background.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 12:06 PM
just out of curiosity Mike and it may be the photo itself but why did you decide to leave the steps dark ? I do like the shadows the pots create.

There may be some soft illumination inside and on the steps that the camera is not capturing due to the background.

That's a good question Billy. Although there is more ambient light then the photo depicts (here we go again) There is actually a stacked switch on the back side of the right post at head height which gives the homeowner options. One switch controls a tight spot (20w ESX) located directly over the table(the umbrella in the center of the table needs to be removed to make this effective) and the other switch controls a diffuse flood fixture (20W BAB w/flashed opal optical lens) dedicated to the steps. It made for a better shot to keep them off when taking the photo. This is how it looks on a daily basis. The other lights used on an as needed basis when the owner is actually using the space at night.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 12:34 PM
This is another patio located in another area of the backyard. Again optional switching for table and BBQ.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 12:48 PM
Front yard of the same project.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 12:52 PM
Here's another, same property

Pro-Scapes
02-15-2009, 01:28 PM
That's a good question Billy. Although there is more ambient light then the photo depicts (here we go again) There is actually a stacked switch on the back side of the right post at head height which gives the homeowner options. One switch controls a tight spot (20w ESX) located directly over the table(the umbrella in the center of the table needs to be removed to make this effective) and the other switch controls a diffuse flood fixture (20W BAB w/flashed opal optical lens) dedicated to the steps. It made for a better shot to keep them off when taking the photo. This is how it looks on a daily basis. The other lights used on an as needed basis when the owner is actually using the space at night.

I figured you wouldnt leave that table unuseable like that. When you run a switch are you just using a reddot type switch on the low voltage side of the system or are you placing a electronic trans someplace? I did a bbq area where we used a lighttech electronic trans and it worked great when mounted in a J box sealed of course and a regular outdoor rated switch. It controls 3 fixtures at 20w over a flagstone bbq area.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 02:02 PM
This particular project has a dedicated home run wire going from the transformer to a regular stacked 120V switch (two switches on top of one another in the same single outdoor weatherproof gang box). There are 2 individual cable runs or "switched legs" attached on the load side of the switch that feed the individual fixtures. 12V dimmers are available as well for this application(make sure you watch your loads as most are limited to 75 watts) for considerably more cost. With a dimmer configuration you cannot use a single gang box you must go to a double duplex.

If manual control is not gonna work. ABT makes a nice RF unit with wireless remote control capability that works beautifully for this set up as well. Only downside is no dimmability.

x-10 and USB too, but you need to dedicate a transformer and control the 120V side of it for switching like this. Yes they are dimmer capable.

tonyGub
02-15-2009, 05:06 PM
Wow Mike..I must say I am envious of your picture taking. I have had an extremely hard time getting pictures of the landscape to turn out. Especially with the clarity and colors you have in your pics. Very nice. I would appreciate any suggestions you have on picture taking.

The Lighting Geek
02-15-2009, 06:30 PM
Mike, your pictures are amazingly clear and dramatic. What are you using setting wise? are you using ISO100?

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 07:14 PM
Mike, your pictures are amazingly clear and dramatic. What are you using setting wise? are you using ISO100?


Yes Tommy ISO 100. Tri-pod, cable release, Bulb setting, manual focus, manual aperature setting and about 15 years of trial and error with various high quality, high mega-pixel Canon pro-sumer camera's with professional canon "L"lenses.

The bar has been raised as We are in the age of high definition digital 1080 clarity on our TV's and video monitors. The public has become accustomed to this and if we do not come close to providing them with this in our landscape lighting photography it will not be well received. That is why now it's crucial to get good quality shots with the best camera you can afford.

Lite4
02-15-2009, 07:40 PM
Mike, I have to agree with Tommy. You are getting fantastic clarity and depth in those photos. Anyone of those could easily adorn the pages of any exclusive magazine. Very nicely done!

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 10:20 PM
Mike, I have to agree with Tommy. You are getting fantastic clarity and depth in those photos. Anyone of those could easily adorn the pages of any exclusive magazine. Very nicely done!

A good camera really makes all the difference in the world Tim. Lot's of luck with your meeting. Let us know how it goes.

Lite4
02-16-2009, 12:04 AM
I appreciate that Mike. Thank You. I will let you know when I get back on Thursday.

I have been shooting with a Nikon D40x. I need to upgrade to some better lenses I think though. I need a nice wide angle lense, either that or just upgrade to better equipment all together. I am not sure what difference a new camera body will make, it is the lenses that seem to make the difference.

LightYourNight
02-16-2009, 02:56 AM
I'm going to buy my first really nice camera this month. I'm looking at Canon as the brand and I want to spend around 500-700. Any suggestions?

Mike did you ever take any classes or did you just begin with lots of trial and error?

BTW Mad Props! :)

Pro-Scapes
02-16-2009, 07:40 AM
I'm going to buy my first really nice camera this month. I'm looking at Canon as the brand and I want to spend around 500-700. Any suggestions?

Mike did you ever take any classes or did you just begin with lots of trial and error?

BTW Mad Props! :)

In that price range for a nice canon I would be hunting ebay for a nice preowned model. Maybe you can find an older one like the 20d. With that unit both Steve Parrot and Mike Gambino have taken some stunning photos.

The Nikon d60 is the next step from the one tim uses to take his stunning pictures and it is at sams club right now for a steal of 539 including the 18-55 lens. Keep in mind some of these lenses will run you almost as much as the camera.

I am going to Burt from Accent lightings house this weekend and will get some more camera lessons and hopefully go to one of his jobs and try to shoot it with him. I am still looking at the upgrade to the Nikon

Lite4
02-16-2009, 08:49 AM
Hey Billy, good luck on the pics. show us how they turn out.

John, ebay is a great suggestion. They have a ton of uses equipment right now and there are some great deals to be had. You might also try your local craigslist too. I have seen some even better deals here on mine locally, I would bet you may do better than ebay. You may not have as much selection though.

Lite4
02-16-2009, 08:56 AM
Jon,
Here is a good starter camera for you in your price range and neighborhood.

http://annarbor.craigslist.org/ele/1024626972.html

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-16-2009, 10:09 AM
I would look for a new Canon 40D (non current - the 50D is current model) with the 18-55mm IS USM Lens. Spend some extra money on the upgraded IS lens (image stabilized) as it makes a huge difference when taking long exposures as well as handheld shots. Better lens = Better photos.

If you cannot find a 40D model in your price range, consider the Rebel Xsi with the IS lens... you can probably find one of these brand new in your price range.

Regards.

Tomwilllight
02-16-2009, 12:15 PM
It's fun the have the latest equipment, but the best thing you can buy to improve your nighttime photography is a very good tripod.

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-16-2009, 12:35 PM
If you want some excellent 'pro quality' tripods, with all the toys, but dont want to spend $400+ I would recommend you go to www.amvona.com They have some excellent Manfrotto knock offs. I have a tripod and a monopod from them and they are excellent. Paid less then $100 each.

Regards.

Tomwilllight
02-16-2009, 02:10 PM
I don't think you have to pay $400.00 US to have Manfrotto quality. I bought a Manfroto 055XPROB Tripod and the 804RC2 head for about $200.00 last year from my local camera store. It's really strong and easy to use.

I thought the exchange rate for CA dollars was better that that James.

I still suggest most starting photographers will do well to stick to with a sophisticated point and shoot that has RAW capability and full manual overrides. A Canon G10 is an excellent new camera... Most of my published work was done with an used G2 I bought on e-bay. I spent more on my new tripod than I did on the G2.

Alas, my G2 was stolen at the last LVLIA conference. Was that '06?

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-16-2009, 02:42 PM
The CDN dollar has slipped against the USD in the last quarter. About 15% diff. now.

Manfrotto makes many different tripods & heads, starting at about $100... the pro grade stuff that will support a large DSLR with a 200MM lens (heavy) is rather pricey so I opted to try the knock off brand instead. For what I do, I now have a great, stable yet lightweight tripod with gimbal ball head that emulates a Manfrotto that would have easily put me back over $500.

Tomwilllight
02-16-2009, 03:39 PM
Well James,

I haven't found any use for a 200MM lens in my photography... Guess the weight I save not lugging that much glass around made a carbon fiber tripod unnecessary.

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-16-2009, 04:23 PM
I use my 200mm a lot Tom, sometimes with the 1.4X mag. too. It is an awesome piece of glass, and when shooting from an island onto a client's shore, or across large estates it really does an amazing job. Not to mention it is awesome for nature shots too.

MAGLIGHTING
02-16-2009, 05:47 PM
I'm going to buy my first really nice camera this month. I'm looking at Canon as the brand and I want to spend around 500-700. Any suggestions?

Mike did you ever take any classes or did you just begin with lots of trial and error?

BTW Mad Props! :)

John and all, I'm self taught in photography and landscape lighting. I went to the school of hard knocks and have succeeded from pure blind ambition, hard work and unabated passion for what I do. I'm a blue collar landscape lighter. I have a college education and a 4 year bachelor's degree in business administration but I have chosen to work with my hands for a living because that's what I love to do.

I know others here have said that a point and shoot or a consumer dslr is fine , however take it for what it's worth I stongly disagree. I believe as I've always believed that if you are going to go through the time , effort and expense to go out there and shoot your own jobs than you might as well have the best tools along with you. Pixel counts are crucial not only if you are printing large photos but because they result in much better files with more information finely recorded in them. I'm no expert with this but the proof is in the pudding and I see the difference.

I have always invested in semi pro canon cameras and professional "L" glass lenses. Right now, if I were buying I'd be looking at the 5D mark I. If you compare the rebel or 50D or whatever against this model you will see a night and day difference in structural quality. I feel that translates to the inside workings of the camera too. It's not cheap expect to be in the 4-5K range out the door with all you need. Pro lenses are 1K and up and worth it. If you can afford the 8K for a pro camera body then by all means go for it and don't let anyone else brow beat you. But you'd better go out and use it and use it well. If you are not going to dedicate yourself to being the best then don't even waste your money.

This is not just smoke and mirrors. Look at what the pros use and there is a reason for it. They don't use point and shoot cameras.

I apologize for being the messenger of harsh reality here. However I blow no smoke and I tell it like it is even if it's not what you want to here. If you want to make money you must invest money. Thank you for the opportunity to share my opinion. I greatly appreciate it.

NiteTymeIlluminations
02-16-2009, 07:51 PM
how bout we get back to the subject!!!

BrandonV
04-09-2009, 06:54 PM
no night photos yet BUT! i have have devised a new method of hanging lights! the quick tie! HA! actually just used them to hang them up the first night before I started drilling and tapping. lamps are mounted w/ stainless bolts, thinking about painting the bases black what you think?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-09-2009, 10:53 PM
Well I guess someone has to ask, so why not me? Why are you using white fixtures in that application??? Why not black (or bronze or whatever the ceiling colour is) so that they blend in with the background?

It all comes back to the age old rule.... See the Effect, not the Source. In my opinion this applies as much to the fixtures as it does to the lamp. Beautiful lighting effects from hidden sources.

BrandonV
04-10-2009, 06:40 AM
that's why I shall pain the base black. if you however assume that for the most part the home owner are going to be looking out from the house I did not want little black lines showing up on the columns. you guys are just about as bad as the hardscapers.

Tomwilllight
04-10-2009, 09:24 AM
I would have selected black fixtures with 90 degree glare shields (to shorten the fixture and further reduce fixture brightness) and mounted the fixtures on the side of the that square pipe to further reduce the amount of fixture exposed in profile.

In my opinion, that the client will spend most of their time indoors is irrelevant in most situations.

If you don't want honest feed back, don't ask for it.

Tom

Pro-Scapes
04-10-2009, 09:54 AM
I gotta agree too this is NOT the fixture I would have chosen for this application nor is this the mounting I would have chosen. I would have used something like a vision 3 downlight with a side mount and a 360 shroud. I am sure there are a host of other fixtures that are suitible for this application but this is not one of them.

Like Tom said and I agree. That fixture needs to be up in there more to conceal it better then there would be no issue with using the dark color.

I do applaud your willingness to jump right into this project.

Mark B
04-10-2009, 09:56 AM
Brandon, I would agree with them as well. Here is an idea for you. Is there a way to mount the lights to the round support that holds the top up? Return the white lights for black, and maybe some custom U-bolts? I cannot see if the other post have a support on each side of it. If that is possible that would get you fixture higher to help you hide it better.

The other question I can you get a small light on top of the post or back in the corner and light the ceiling with a soft light?

JoeyD
04-10-2009, 10:04 AM
This is a great fixture for that application......Flush Mount COMET

http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb97/ulsjoeyd/lighting/CometFlush001.jpg

Mark B
04-10-2009, 10:09 AM
I can tell who is not working this morning..:clapping::drinkup::drinkup:

Tomwilllight
04-10-2009, 10:21 AM
Lots of ways to skin a cat. Lots of good ideas.

Tom

JoeyD
04-10-2009, 10:29 AM
here is the link for the Comet. The Flush Mount will eliminate all the mounting stuff you see on the standard Comet. The Comet can also be orderd as a hanging light with a brass chain. Like all of our products it will have Pre Di-Electric Greased Copper Beryllium Socket, 25ft of brown 16/2 cable, mounting hardware, and a MR16 Ushio or GE lamp of your choice! Available in 12 and 24v!!! And a Life-Time Warranty!!

http://www.uniquelighting.com/product_pages/COMET.htm

BrandonV
04-11-2009, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the link joey, I'll keep it in mind fir next time... The homeowner called yesterday and they were thrilled so I guess I'm not too terrible.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-11-2009, 02:15 PM
Brandon, it is not about you being terrible at all. It is about doing the best that you possibly can. You posted here looking for opinion and advice, you got that in spades... all telling you pretty much the same thing.

You are supposed to be the pro out there. Of course the client's are happy... they don't know what the alternatives would have looked like. You, however do!
Fact is, the fixtures you chose there do highlight the columns at night, but they stand out like sore thumbs all day long. You could do better.

I have a rule I try to remember every now and then. It goes like this: If everyone you present an idea or concept to seems to think you are wrong, then you generally are.

Have a great weekend.

BrandonV
04-12-2009, 07:32 AM
oh believe me I'm not too torn up over this everyone has their own opinion. i guess what threw me off was the fact I used white fixtures on advise from the first page.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-12-2009, 08:31 AM
Downlight grazing of each column could look nice with the fixtures positioned on the inside of the tenting. You could have Nightscaping Artisan fixtures powdercoated white to blend in. If you would like a fixed mount fixture, the Nightscaping Guardian in White is a very small format fixture that could work for this task as well.

Brandon... my original comments above were based on the concept of attaching white fixtures to the very top of the columns themselves... it was not my idea to position the fixtures onto the dark roof frame. Had I been thinking that, I would have suggested the use of black or bronze fixtures.

In any case... I'm glad your clients are happy.

Always remember: "See the effect, not the source."

Regards.

BrandonV
04-12-2009, 12:21 PM
Well how do you feel about maybe painting the bases? I likethe white fixtures becasue whenyou look out from the inside you don't see the fixtures at all, had they been dark it'd be like a little line. I see what your saying about attaching tithe collums, I figured it'd be more secure mounting to the frame, the collums are hollow. We drilled through the deck and ran the wire up through the columns.

BrandonV
04-15-2009, 09:35 PM
James just wanted to say thank you for all the advise and pics, I just got back from the job mentioned here and even though I know yall don't agree w/ the color choice for the fixture I just wanted to express my gratitude because it really looks great, I was even shocked myself. We finished the front of the house today, 5 downlights in trees and a few washes on the home. But the column/tent area in the back took the cake. It wouldn't have turned out as nice without your guidance. THANKS! I did forget to take pics, but I'll do it next time I'm down because we're adding a few more per HO request (mr-11s in some pots) the whole 7am-9:30pm shift ain't all its cracked out to be.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-15-2009, 09:51 PM
I am glad that you and more importantly your client is happy Brandon.

As for shifts...you put in only 14 hours and are complaining? Sheeesh buddy... buck up! I kid you not yesterday (Tuesday I headed out the door at 8am... and at 6:15 am (that is 22.25 hours later) I collapsed onto the office couch. Then at 7:45 am my wife woke me up, shoes still on my feet to start it all again.

It was worth it though... I picked up a 8 zone 160+ fixture job for my effort!