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
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
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
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.
Traditional choice with a ‘warm’ (color temperature) effect.
A brighter, whiter light for the same or lower wattages. They have a much longer life than incandescent but produce a very high heat.
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.
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
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
This makes sense if you imagine an iron bar being
First, it gets "red hot". Then, as the temperature
increases, it becomes "white hot" and finally, "blue
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
However, I also spent good money experimenting
with every bulb I could locate that promises "Natural"
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
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
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
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!