View Full Version : Street Lamps

12-07-2012, 04:56 PM
You know what I often overlook when I am designing an outdoor lighting system? The damn street lamps! I hate those damn things! They can totally ruin a photo shoot. Totally drown out the effect I was trying to create with my outdoor lighting.

Sometimes the lighting job I did actually still looks pretty awesome, despite the street lights flooding the yard a little. But the problem is when I go to take night time photos, the ambient light from the street light shows up a LOT more prevalent in my photos than it does in person.

Sometimes I just want to bring a BB gun with me to my photo shoots and shoot out that damn street light that is ruining my lighting job. Am I the only one who has ever felt that way?

I need to start to take those things into account more, as I am designing my systems.

12-07-2012, 05:15 PM
Yep, the worst are the HPS. I have seen some folks actually paint out the backside of the street light with a black paint on the lense because the light was too bright coming into they're bedroom windows.

12-07-2012, 05:23 PM
Kick them in the base doesn't take much any contact with them automatically cuts power in case some hits it. Comes back on the next day. Of course is in now way professional just a helpful hint better alternative then a bb gun haha

12-07-2012, 06:11 PM
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12-07-2012, 06:48 PM
Takes a lot of bb's to do the job, don't ask how I know :)

12-07-2012, 07:17 PM

Classic Lighting
12-07-2012, 07:18 PM
Last year I contacted the power company to install a shield on the lens that directs the light downward. After getting the run around, I was told they would not make an exception for 1 residence. Oh well, didnt hurt to try.
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12-07-2012, 07:37 PM
I have an HPS lamp in my front yard. I've called and complained and they did change the lens, which helped almost not at all. I hate the damn thing and the ugly yellow light it throws.

Jim, you need to increase wattage to compensate for them. Where you'd normally use a 20w (or 6W LED), use a 35W (or 8W LED), and so on. It's all you can do, unfortunately.

starry night
12-07-2012, 09:25 PM
There is an amber street light across the street from my home. The light it cast on my yard is not very noticeable to the eye but it really showed up to my photographer's camera. So I took a ladder and "installed" a temporary dark, wool blanket over the street light when we did the photoshoot.

12-08-2012, 03:24 AM
There is an amber street light across the street from my home. The light it cast on my yard is not very noticeable to the eye but it really showed up to my photographer's camera.

Yah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I had that happen at 4 different photo shoots recently. It really sucks.

12-08-2012, 10:06 AM
Color casting in photos can be extremely difficult to overcome in photography. If you take bracket white balance shots, you can layer in photoshop, and overcome some of the problems.
Also, ,most municipalities have ordinances against light trespass. If you can get the homeowner to complain (sometimes they have to complain lots!), usually you can have something done, although, even then, as Bernie mentioned, the solution is not always ideal. I complained to my municipality that the street light in front of my home was shining into my kids bedroom....they put duct tape on it!! I subsequently moved (not because of the street light), so didn't follow up on it. But, I have been on the receiving end of by-law enforcement more than once on light trespass issues when designing parking lot and roadway lighting...when pushed, they usually will act.

John Higo

12-09-2012, 07:57 PM
This is definitely a problem and I applaud those that complain to their municipalities though it seems often to be ineffective.

Regarding photoshoots. I have quite a bit of experience with this.

First, it's very difficult to color correct for HPS light in photoshop - but not impossible.

Second, on several occaisions I've used black foil (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/688227-REG/LEE_Filters_280R_Black_Aluminum_Foil.html) to cover these lights on photoshoots and black gaffer tape (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/20008-REG/General_Brand_Gaffer_Cloth_Tape.html) to secure the foil to the fixture. I keep both items in my photo case at all times.

By the way, I also use the gaffer tape to block unwanted carriage and entry lights when needed. This tape is designed for attaching to hot lights and doesn't leave a sticky residue.

Of course, it's not easy to get up to the light to put the foil in place. Be prepared and have a long ladder ready. But be very careful, balancing a ladder against a pole can be disasterous! Don't do it unless you have two strong people holding the base. Even then, I don't (for the record) recommend it. How about a cherry picker or scissor lift - much better.

Here's a neat trick that Duncan Fuller (of CAST) came up with - attach a long string to your foil shield so when you're done, you can pull the string and the shield pops off!

12-10-2012, 07:45 AM
Good tips. Thanks

12-10-2012, 09:32 PM
if it's post lights, 12-14ft high a rug has worked for us, if it's a pole light with glass lense around it, steves idea has worked for us, if its a pole light with a cupped lense...those are more difficult to cover temporarily but they are usually not as big of an issue because they are using the lense to direct the light. on occasion we have been able to locate the photo cell, illuminate it, and get the light to turn off long enough to get the shot.

The Lighting Geek
12-14-2012, 01:28 AM
I have used a metal trash can painted flat black, temporarily for a photo shoot before. The trash can worked to make the photo cell turn the light off. I have also used a rug too.

12-14-2012, 03:32 AM
Use a cloth tarp attached to a swimming pool leaf skim and vac pole.

You guys with the ladders and tape are lucky not to have been locked up, street lights are for public safety.
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