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The Night Scene

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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, October 20, 2014 4:01 AM

mlehman
The new office is kinda bright,

Looks just fine. If the office guy is anything like me, when it comes to doing the paperwork I need lots of light. (not to mention inspiration to actually get the job done).Sigh

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, October 20, 2014 8:28 AM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

You should write an article.

Thanks, BRT. Maybe I should, but not until I finish the dissertation I'm writing. It's the editing that's the hard part. I write here to decompress from less happy subjects, but all my editing mojo is going there right now, so it'll have to wait at least a couple more months.

mlehman
The new office is kinda bright,

Looks just fine. If the office guy is anything like me, when it comes to doing the paperwork I need lots of light. (not to mention inspiration to actually get the job done).Sigh

Cheers, the Bear.

 

Bear,

Appreciate the comments. Only problem is it's a long walk from the Wilde Mine to the nearest bar for inspiration...Smile, Wink & Grin

Usually, they catch a train into Red Mountain to Maguire's...

The windows are a little steamy tonight, so everyone must be having fun.Wink

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by HO-Velo on Monday, October 20, 2014 9:07 AM

Hi Mike,  

Glad to see your thread restored.  Timely for me to review your lighting methods.  Recently followed your lead by setting some ambient "moonlight" with a blue bulb.  Structure and scenery lighting really brings a layout or scene to life and is well worth the extra effort, fun too.

Thanks and regards, Peter    

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, October 20, 2014 11:20 AM

I appreciate the comments, Peter. LEDs make structure lighting so simple once you've done it a few times, I now just design it right into the build.

And it's always a good excuse for another pic, here at the roundhouse in Durango.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 20, 2014 2:33 PM

 That picture bears a strong resemblence to John Allen's night shot of the roundhouse.

                 --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, October 20, 2014 3:17 PM

rrinker

 That picture bears a strong resemblence to John Allen's night shot of the roundhouse.

                 --Randy,

Randy,

Thanks! Now that you mention it, it sure does. On page 6 of the Westcott book, he's pictured in relation to the roundhouse about where I took my picture of my roundhouse. But I didn't see the one I think you're talking about and I'm hazily remembering. Must be somewhere else?

I'm certain his scenes influenced my work with structure lighting, as he utlizied a lot of it, considering the LED was still pretty much a dream when I joined the hobby (a sore spot these days locally after Nick Holonyak was skipped over for the Nobel in Physics for inventing the LED in favor of some folks who made it blue!) and everything was bulbs.

There's a nicely lit train on page 46, too. More night pics on 120 and 146.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by pt714 on Monday, October 20, 2014 8:42 PM

Mike, these photos are truly inspiring. I'm very interested in night operations and lighting-- it's a dream right now, as my layout is just getting off the ground, but I'm always looking for things like this that kindle future scenery ideas. Have you ever had snow in your night scenes, either temporary or permanent?

P

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, October 20, 2014 11:32 PM

pt714
Have you ever had snow in your night scenes, either temporary or permanent?

P,

Funny you should ask. Yes, to snow. Haven't done a night pic yet, but since you asked....

There was an avalanche up on the Silverton Northern a couple of weeks ago. The road foreman helped with out with some pics..

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/673/5stlKE.jpg

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/674/eKTXfZ.jpg

The engineer saw just enough to get the mixed stopped in time.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/538/mgE1ax.jpg

The work train and ditcher were up there for several days cleaning up the mess. Here's a pic from the first night they got the track reopened, with the lights back in the valley below shining.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/905/1GDmwC.jpg

The snowshed looks like a place of refuge for man or machine caught out in the elements.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/908/2kEQV9.jpg

 

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:23 AM

river_eagle

Check your camera manual, many have a night scene/nighttime setting that adapts to the low  available light without using flash

 

 for this pic, the only lighting is what's in the scene, streetlights and such, the room is totally dark, the camera picks allthe right settings

 

same basic scene without nightscene setting

 

 

Wow! Just by taking the picture without the nightscene setting, the locomotive changed. How'd you DO that?? Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:28 AM

 

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 3:32 PM

Medina1128
Wow! Just by taking the picture without the nightscene setting, the locomotive changed. How'd you DO that?? Smile, Wink & Grin

Marlon,

Not only "check your manual," as river_eagle recommended, but learn to use manual settings and you can make a lot of cool things happen. One is setting long exposure times for low light pics. You do need to have a tripod or other way (beanbag, etc) to immobilize the camera, maybe a timed shutter release could be helpful. Then you just add time until you get a long enough exposure to look right. The great thing about digicams is you don't waste a lot of time or money learning the settings that get you in the ballpark. Once you've done that, it's much easier to find the right settings to use.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 3:45 PM

 I can't remember where I saw it now. I checked some MR issues covering the G&D but it may have appeared in a non-John Allen article on lighting effects or something. Closest I can find is in January 1969 MR, Page 47 top. But that's not the one I'm thining of, the one I'm thinking of was from a viewpoint to the left of that one, and you could see some of the background buildings. I've found plenty of other G&D night shots, but not the one I'm thinking of. You probably know John used UV light and reactive paper in many of his building windows and signs to make them glow at night. The last set you just posted also could be of the G&D. The lighting effects are truly great, as is the modeling. There's something about the overall effect in your photos, something also evident in John's, that evoke a feeling that other well composed photos of top notch models somehow don't.

          --Randy

mlehman
 
rrinker

 That picture bears a strong resemblence to John Allen's night shot of the roundhouse.

                 --Randy,

 

 

Randy,

Thanks! Now that you mention it, it sure does. On page 6 of the Westcott book, he's pictured in relation to the roundhouse about where I took my picture of my roundhouse. But I didn't see the one I think you're talking about and I'm hazily remembering. Must be somewhere else?

I'm certain his scenes influenced my work with structure lighting, as he utlizied a lot of it, considering the LED was still pretty much a dream when I joined the hobby (a sore spot these days locally after Nick Holonyak was skipped over for the Nobel in Physics for inventing the LED in favor of some folks who made it blue!) and everything was bulbs.

There's a nicely lit train on page 46, too. More night pics on 120 and 146.

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:05 PM

Randy,

I appreciate the comments.SmileWow It's certainly a good feeling to find your work in comparison to a master like Mr. Allen. It wasn't particualrly even what I was aiming for, but maybe what I dredged up in term of an internal image of what I was trying to do contained memory of John's work. Those of us of a certain age were impressed by his epic work, so similar results in our work may not be so surprising, even if the must creep in subliminally.

I knew about the UV effects, but have tried to stay away from them myself. Nowadays, that soft glow is pretty easy to obtain with LEDs and most of my structures are near enough that the wierd daytime color is likely to intrude.

EDIT: Dug up some similar pics. Small image here, but the associated link takes you to a a large format version of the image.

 

Another shot of the Durango roundhouse. Needs some interior detailing.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/213/durroundhouse21.jpg

 

An overview of Durango from the ASARCO smelter.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/703/hu86.jpg

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/703/hu86.jpg

 

 

This link is a large format version of the original Durango roundhouse night pic.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1600x1200q90/163/durroundhouse23.jpg

 Hmmm, some of this isn't working out like it should. My computer is still on XP and it and the Kalmbach server haven't been playing well together on pics. Maybe you'll get large pics, maybe not.Sad

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:29 PM

Randy,

I may have located the pic you're thinking of or one very similar. Andy Sperandeo  wrote a retrospective on John and the G&D in the Dec. 1981 MR. On page 69 is a really nice night shot of the roundhouse.

I think I aced the light levels and color, such as you can get at night, but John's shot is a far more impressive effort. I've got the look, but not the detail. But it's kind of amazing that images like that floating around back in my hazy memory are apparently continuing to influence me below the conscious level. I sure never set out aiming specifically to use John's work as a guide, as it's been years since I looked at any of these pics before Randy mentioned it. It certainly demonstrates John's considerable influence on the hobby, more than we may even be conscious of.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, November 8, 2014 3:46 PM

I've added several more of the LED light strips as the budegt has allowed. While the light overall has been adequate with the original 10 of them, there were some spots that could use more light. Another factor is that the LED light is rather directional, so you sometimes need more than one pass through a scene that is deep in order to evenly illuminate the whole area. Between these, I set out to fill and enhance what is already very workable lighting.

The pics in the following scene are of Silverton taken from about 10 feet away on the opposite side of the Dunrago penisula. There were already two light strips passing over head, but they pointed mostly straight down. The side of structures and rolling stock wasn't well lit.

I added another pass through the scene, placing it on the ceiling past the layout edge slightly into the aisle. I tilted the strip so that the light fell at an angle, helping to illuminate the side of objects better. The way I plugged it in was to add it to the circuit that powers the light strips over the center penisula. The light of one light strip, plus the spillover from the center lighting provides what I'd call "morning light," a handy effect for taking pics.

Turn all the light strips on and you can see how the yellow sides of the reefers pop out more distinctly, etc with the added sidelighting.

 Silverton is definitely as bright as it needs to be

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 9, 2014 12:26 AM

Mike:

You have me absolutely convinced that LED strip lighting is the way to go. The different effects that you have shown are all really effective.

I think that I will try some of the RGB strips (Red/Green/Blue) where the colour can be adjusted easily. Lots of potential!

One lighting effect that I am trying to figure out is sunrise/sunset. I have contemplated leaving a small gap between the background and the buildings/mountains so that a light can be placed behind them with a bright orange glow to mimic the rising/setting sun. I originally thought of using an orange spotlight but I don't like the idea of that much heat below the layout. I think that using an array of variable coloured LED strips both behind the scenery and from the ceiling just might fill the bill.

The construction of my layout is still a ways off but I am definately going to explore the possibility.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, November 9, 2014 1:26 AM

Dave,

All my light strips are Daylight (~5000k), with the exception of a single 6' one that is Warm White I needed to fit a certain spot. The current supplier at Menards where I get them, Patriot Lighting, now offers that, plus Warm White and Cool White.

The "morning light" one was serendiptious. It was just easier to plug into the opposite circuit and was pointed the right way. When I saw the effect, I knew it was a keeper.

I've thought about using a few RGB ones like you're considering, but haven't taken the plunge yet.

Something I have considered also is electrolumisecnt wire. Radio Shack, among others, offers it. I really doubt it's bright enough for what you want to do. I was thinking about using some behind my Silverton town flats as "city glow" for the sky bheind and above it.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, November 28, 2014 10:13 PM

An update on the Patriot LED Strip Lighting at Menards may help avoid some confusion. For some reason, what has actually happened is that Patriot has changed the description of their Daylight white LED strip lights to Cool White. There were Daylight ones out there, as I bought two of them. Then I started finding only Cool White ones in that shelf space.

Initial inquiries to the Lighting Dept people didn't gain any insight to whether Daylight ones would be restocked. I talked to a fellow who pulled both that and the Warm White version from their boxes and plugged them in for comparison. I thought the Cool White one looked familiar, but in the previous version was definitely a bluer white. I went home, found a box for the Patriot Daylight version, and then found by comaprison it was the same SKU as the Cool White Patriot version.Well, how about that!??

I was pretty sure I had it resolved, but fought the crowds to pick up 3 of the Cool White ones, SKU 340-2510. Plugging them in here for comparison showed they were indeed the same color temp as the previous Daylight-labeled version.

Obviously, buy the lights in the color temp that works for you and you layout. Just be awere that Cool White is the new Daylight with regard to the Patriot LED strip lights only. I've not seen this done with other lighting yet, but maybe I just haven't bought it lately.

The icing on the cake was explaining to the new guy why I needed lights that matched -- I have a model railroad. Turns out, he's one of us! So left my contact info for him to come by and run some trains -- probably when Xmas is over, knowing how retail is this time of year. My offer to him is, of course, a standing one for other members of our community. Drop me a PM and we can arrange some operating time  or just come by to see things. Of course, I'll try to recruit you into the NMRA, but I promise not to be a pest about that.Wink The best example is a good example.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, November 29, 2014 3:02 AM

I took several hours this evening to reconfigure the LED strip lights in many places, then added the 3 new strings I bought today. Along with a few others picked up along the way, I now have 18 of the 12' or 13' strings in the main layout room and the light is INTENSE. The dim spots in a few places are replaced by even lighting throughout.

A pic from the door to the layout room.

The Durango penisula is now evenly lit across its 7' width

The engine terminal

The ASARCO smelter and mill

Cascade Falls

 

The Sunnyside Mill is totally sunnyBig Smile

Total energy use for the LED light strips in the main layout room? 173 watts.

Jim Hediger has an overview of layout lighting in the Jan. 2015 issue of MR. His take on LEDs was they're not quite ready for prime time in terms of cost and internsity. I pretty much agreed with that sentiment until I put the first of these LED strip lights up a little more than a year ago.

One concern expressed in Hediger's article was professional installation of lighting is the way to ensure it meets code and is safe. That's certainly something you need to do when wiring many lighting systems into the home. The LED light strips don't require that. Simply unroll, hang-up carefully, and plug in.

Another big plus, due to their limited energy consumption, is that LEDs don't create noticeable heat.

Other advantages are the flexibility of the light strip that allows it to follow the tracks; they work well for portable installations that are easy to move; light from the strip lights is all parallel, like sunlight; and they are available in several color temperatures.

 

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, November 29, 2014 3:25 AM

Mike:

Like I said before my friend, you had already convinced me that LED lighting strips are definately the way to go, and you just proved it again. Even lighting, no heat, low power requirements....what's not to love!!

Thanks

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, November 29, 2014 8:03 AM

Dave,

Appreciate your comments. There's even more to love, because I forgot to emphasize one more thing that Jim Hediger wasn't sure was there yet with LEDs, cost. At 18 times $40 (the usual cost at Menards) that comes to $720. If you bought them now on sale, with 18 times $25, that's only $450. Plug those numbers in and run them for virtually every other lighting product, most of which will require professional installation unless you have electrican skills. You'll find that number virtually impossible to beat. Even with plain ol' incandescents or flourescents, you'd find it virtually impossible to match either the cost or effectiveness of the LED strip lights like these.

Oh, another advantage is that these require no transformer -- the strip lights plug right in, unlike many of the other LED lighting products on a roll which do require a transformer.

I will note that the layout was adequately lit when I completed the initial install with just 12 strip lights as I documented previously in this thread. There were spots that could use more light, which is what I addressed by adding 6 more. But the lighting was still decent. A young person could've been satisfied with that, but the additions after that initial complettion really enhanced the ability of my older eyes to see everything well.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 8:05 PM

People sometimes complain about using LEDs in structures, because they tend to create pools or spots of intense light on axis, even when dimmed down. I mentioned one solution earlier in this thread. That was to punch out a circle of .010" styrene and cement it to the top of the LED, which in most cases points down in imitation of a light bulb. That helps and may even work best depending on the effect you're trying to achieve. I use thick CA to attch the diffuser.

A "fancy" diffuser that looks more like a ceiling fixture can be made from .250 ID styrene tubing presuming you're using the standard Xmas lighting ones that are 5mm diameter. Cut a piece as long as the LED. Cut a small square, circle or whatever shape works from .010" styrene for what you need and glue to one end of the tubing section.

As you can see in this pic, the improvement is drastic. No more hot spot.

In the daylight, you can see the diffuser better.

Look, Ma! No hot spot!

Along with using lots of resistance, the diffuser makes it easy to get nicely dimmed lighting that looks realistic.

 

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 10:38 PM

Hi Mike:

The 'lamp shades' are an interesting solution to the problem.

I have solved the problem by simply painting the LEDs with cream coloured paint:

I'm not trying to say your solution is wrong at all. Just suggesting a simpler method. Hope you don't mind.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 10:57 PM

Dave,

No problem, sounds like a good idea, too.

I suspect the shades I made could be fashioned to look more like a real lamp or fixture if someone had a need to take into consideration appearance as well as light modification. I think both methods probably have their advanatages, depending on the situation and more options are always a good thing.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, December 26, 2014 3:50 PM

hon30critter
I have solved the problem by simply painting the LEDs with cream coloured paint:

Dave,

I forgot to ask what kind of paint you used to get the results you did?

I know about Tamiya for certain special apps like coloring LEDs for marker lights, but those are translucent from what I understand. These here seem to have somewhat thicker coverage, more like a frosted light bulb you can't see into.

Also, have you tried this with SMD LEDs?

This has me thinking it might be as useful for making visible "bulbs" as it is for simply breaking up those "hot spots."

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, December 26, 2014 7:30 PM

Hi Mike:

The paint I used for the LEDs in the locomotive repair shop was Polly Scale SCL Hopper Car Beige. "Ya" he says - "Polly Scale - that's a big help!" Seriously, I think any beige paint would work. The LEDs I used were not quite 'warm white' but neither were they the harsh blue/white either.

I have also used yellow paint where I wanted to mimic yellow 'bug' porch lights on a general store. It worked well for that specific purpose but they are a bit too yellow for any other use. However, they were a softer yellow than straight yellow LEDs would have been. Kinda splitting hairs a bit though.

I have used Tamiya's Clear Yellow on SMDs that were too bluish, but not the beige paint. I'm not particularly happy with the final colour using the Clear Yellow because they came out with a bit of a greenish tinge to them. They do not look like older incandescent headlights as I had intended:

I think the key to the headlight issue is to start with warmer white LEDs. When I did these headlights a couple of years ago I don't think there were warm white SMD LEDs available. If you start with the right colour, regardless of the project,  then obviously you won't have to play with the colour at all. The main function for the paint would be to diffuse the light pattern as opposed to changing the colour. If you use proper 'warm white' LEDs then I think that plain white paint would work just fine as a diffuser.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, December 27, 2014 2:38 AM

Dave,

Thanks for the tips. The bug lights are great!Bow

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, December 27, 2014 5:07 PM

Thanks Mike,

Now you have me blushingLaughLaughLaugh

Actually, I am planning on taking two of the three lights out and just leaving the one in the center. I think that will be much more suggestive of the era. The parking lot will be illuminated by a wood pole street light.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, December 27, 2014 6:48 PM

hon30critter
I am planning on taking two of the three lights out and just leaving the one in the center. I think that will be much more suggestive of the era.

That makes sense to me. As you know from this thread, I like things dim, so it's also aesthetically more pleasing, too.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, December 27, 2014 7:15 PM

Aha!

Two great minds think alike!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaughCowboyClown

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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