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Lamps

and Lighting

 

By "Tool Gal" Bobbie Ripperger

Hello All!  Welcome to our new adventures together!

My name is Roberta (Bobbie) Ripperger, your Tool Gal.

"Tool Gal" is a good nickname for me.  One thing I have

always done, is to collect at least one of every single

tool, implement  and accessory, for every new hand

craft that catches my fancy.

Each issue of Bears&Buds, I will be writing about gizmos

and gadgets associated with the teddy bear world.  You

can also write me with your tool related questions, if you

would like and I will try to address them as best I can.

Elements of Good Lighting

This issue, I am addressing good lighting.

Unless you’re blessed with a cozy, warm greenhouse

or a conservatory in which to work, chances are your

light is not as good as it should be.  Yet lighting is one

of the most essential ingredients to insuring your work

comfort and enjoyment.

PAR - NOT Just a Golf Term!

Lumens, flux and photopic curve, illumination, lux and

PAR, PAReff, PUR, CRI & CIE. Very techie and very

confusing.

However, all these aspects must be considered when

rating light bulbs, the basis for modern day lighting. 

Available types of bulbs include Halogen, Incandescent,

Fluorescent, Full Spectrum, Daylight, SADD, True Color

and Natural Daylight.

Then, there are the multitudinous common and name

brands available: Ott. Verilux, Ultralux, GE, - the lists

go on and on.

Fact Finding Mission

My job is to research and collate a large amount of the

available data, to arm you with options when you start

shopping

Since most manufacturers and distributors maintain an

online presence, that is where I start. 

I then compile and compare my findings and identify the

lighting choices I believe will be functional, well-made and

affordable.

Thse choices may be specialty lamps rather than typical

ones next to your favorite chair or that normally found

on your desk. 

I will also list my personal favorites, which I’ll present

at the end of this article

Types of Lamps

Breaking this down into 2 categories, there are dedicated

(single purpose) fixtures – Lamps - and the larger arena

of Light ‘Bulbs’.

Natural daylight would seem to be the most desirable

lighting, yet there are times that a ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’

color temperature is preferable.

This warmth and coolness doesn’t equate to heat from

the bulb itself: in that respect, Fluorescent is coolest

(to be next to), Incandescent is hot and Halogen instantly

becomes very heat intense.

Incandescent

Traditional choice with a ‘warm’ (color temperature) effect.

Halogen

A brighter, whiter light for the same or lower wattages. They have a much longer life than incandescent but produce a very high heat.

Fluorescent

The traditional ‘laboratory look’ offers the greatest array of color temperatures, simulates incandescence while using less energy and produces less heat. 

Also less sensitive to handling, vibration or shock

and lasts much longer.

The bulbs are safe for use in confined places (enclosed light fixtures), closets and similar spaces.

Compact fluorescent bulbs usually costs more than incandescents but the advantages above, outweigh the extra cost, which is, offset by longer fluorescent bulb life. 

These bulbs also have common screw-in type bases to fit most fixtures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background Basics

Some primary information and a few basic definitions

need to be explained to understand lighting basics. 

Beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiments,

electrical principles became gradually understood, as

the charged carbon of the first arc lighting through the

enclosed, oxygen-less glass light bulb of the late 1800s,

brought incandescent electric lighting into more and more

homes.

As photography developed in the early 20th century, it

became necessary to define how bright something was

(amount of emitted light).

Several countries adopted "the international candle" as

the amount of light something generated: how many

candles it took to generate a set amount of light.

Unfortunately, in the 1940s, someone figured out that

different candles produce different amounts of light.

Enter Lux and Lumen

The scientific definitions of Lux and Lumen (Brightness

factors) became the guide, providing a base of unit

measurements of light flow from 1 standardized

international candle, as seen within or from a distance

of 1 square meter.

Lux versus lumen: The difference between the lux and

the lumen is that the lux takes into account the area

over which the luminous flux is spread.

1000 lumens, concentrated into an area of one square

meter, light up that square meter with a luminance

of 1000 lux.

The same 1000 lumens, spread out over ten square

meters, produces a dimmer luminance of only 100 lux.  

Achieving a luminance of 500 lux might be possible

in a home kitchen with a single fluorescent light fixture

with an output of 12000 lumens.

Lighting a larger area with the same number of lux

requires a larger number of lumens.

Natural daylight – the truest color balance – can be expressed in these values:

Direct sunlight - 100,000 Lux
Overcast day -  1,000 Lux
Deep Twilight – 1 Lux
Quarter Moon - .01 Lux
Overcast, Moonless night - .00001 Lux

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial light supplies this amount of light:
Average Parking Lot at night – 10 Lux
Factory Assembly Lines – 200 to 3,000 Lux
Bank Lobby - 200 Lux
Bank Tellers - 500 Lux
Offices/General - 300 Lux
Offices/Accounting – 500 Lux
Hospital Operating Room – 18, 000 Lux

 

 

 

 

 


Given these statistics, it’s easy to see why our eyes

strain to see in low light situations.

Our Place in this Mix

Ott, Verilux, Ultralux and GE are large companies that

produce specialty lighting, from operating room lighting

through indoor gardening lights and automobile interior

lighting to deep space exploration lighting needs.

Our cozy workroom fits right in there about mid-center.

A few More Terms

How true the color of our projects will look under different

types of light hinges upon 2 more aspects:

Color Temperature and Color Rendering Index.

Color Temperature is how cool or warm the light source

appears and is expressed in Kelvin (K) degrees.

The higher the Kelvin rating the bluer the white light

will be while bulbs with lower K color temperatures

look red.

This makes sense if you imagine an iron bar being

heated.

First, it gets "red hot".  Then, as the temperature

increases, it becomes "white hot" and finally, "blue

white" hot.

Surface Color Shifts

Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a relative measure

of the shift in surface color of an object when lit

by a particular type of bulb, compared with how

the object would appear under a reference

light source of similar color temperature.

CRI is a numerical system that rates the ‘color

rendering’ ability of a source light in comparison

with natural daylight, which has a CRI of 100.

This means that a bulb with a CRI of 91 shows

colors more naturally than a bulb with a CRI of 62.

Commonly used as references are incandescent

lamps (warm light sources) and natural daylight

(a cool light source).

Incandescent lamps and daylight have a CRI

of 100, the highest possible CRI.

The higher the CRI of the light source, the "truer"

it renders color.

In Kelvin (K) terms, "warm white" is 2700K, more

"neutral white’"averages 4100K and "blue white"

(photo bulbs) are above 6000K.

 

Enough Science; here’s the nitty-gritty: using

an online search engine (e.g., Google) for the

above mentioned companies will exhibit most

of the bulbs available to retail consumers and/or

give distributor sources.

I do macro photography and need bulbs closest

to natural daylight.

The best bulbs for me have been those in the

blue-white, or high K range.

Some that I’ve purchased are touted as natural

daylight but were anything but; they turned my

digital images yellow or red/purple.

My camera has White Balance settings, by which

I can internally change how the camera "reads"

the warmth value of the light source and neutralizes

it.

However, I also spent good money experimenting

with every bulb I could locate that promises "Natural"

and "Daylight".

Observations

GE’s Reveal bulbs are one type that I’ve ended up

giving away. They looked pinkish in the fixture and

red in photography. Others have highly recommended

them so I guess it is a personal preference.

A little experimenting is needed for photography but

for task lighting, a pink or yellow tone works the best.

All of that science background above is there to help

the techies among us understand the package wrapping

on bulb choices, before investing.

Not all of these factors will be given but enough should

be there to tell you if it’s a warm, neutral or blue white.

When In Doubt...

It’s impossible to tell what color temperature will come

from an unlit bulb, so what I also do now is take my

hand-held fluorescent fixture into the store with me

to try the bulbs in my own equipment. 

Then, I hope the bulb is not encased in the sealed plastic

package or I’ll have to buy at least one!

There are plenty of spare outlets in the areas for lamp

sales and I plug in my equipment to test my choices.

The hand held fixture, (with its 15 foot cord) is a rectangle

that I hold in different positions to highlight different places

on the work I am photographing.

Multi-Tasking in a Bulb!

I want one bulb that does two jobs and if the bulb works

in the store, I know that it will also give the same blue-white

type of light I prefer for everyday use AND for photographic

purposes, rather than a warmer value of yellow.

Carrying my column with you and comparing it to the

information stated on the package will help you

determine if the bulb will suit your purposes.

A Special Preference

I’ve found a screw-in bulb with the same blue-white

color temperature at Home Depot.

For photography, it gives a neutral, true color image

and I don’t have to reset the camera’s white balance.

Buy More and Worry Less

I often had at least one of the three regular photo

bulbs used during a session go out (and always

when up against a deadline) and I’ve learned this

lesson: I will admit to buying 10 of these bulbs.

Cheap insurance. I’m also a klutz who breaks bulbs.

Let’s see…. 10 bulbs x 10,000 hours each …… I

guess I’m adequately covered….

Ott Lamps for Me

Here at the computer and in the studio, I use

a goose-necked Ott lamp.

The benefit of the model that I chose is that it

effortlessly converts from a table mount to a floor

mount, saving me the price of purchasing two

separate lamps.

The bulbs are the push-in rather than screw-in

type, but after 3 or 4 years, I have yet to replace

a bulb, and my bulbs are in use 8 – 10 hours a day.

Many of Ott's models include an attached, moveable

magnifying lens.

 

Wrap Up

We’ve barely skimmed the surface of this subject;

in a later issue I’ll coverlighting more thoroughly,

including the use of studio lighting for Photography.

By reading the future editorial feature for Gizmos

& Gadgets, you will see the month-by-month listing

of topics.

I invite you all to give me your product choices,

recommendations and opinions, especially those

not available in the States which I cannot readily.

 

Until next time!

Bobbie














 

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