April and May are very busy months on the farm with us planting our crops. It means long days sitting on tractors which isn't very conducive to getting any modelling done. It does mean that I have plenty of time to ponder about issues on the layout that are still annoying me.
Lighting is one issue that I have thought about for some time. I currently use fluorescent lights with daylight tubes which has both advantages and disadvantages. The light is bright and uniform with no shadows. They are also not that cheap to buy, they are heavy and when they are all on they do heat the room up. I still have about half the layout that still needs lights so I have been exploring options. I have tried the LED strip lighting but found the colours wrong and not enough light.
I recently found some LED downlights with a daylight colour (4000K) and I thought I would try a couple and see how they look. As you can see in the following photos the colour and level of light is good. What is different from the fluorescents is the shadows. Part of me thinks it looks more natural but because of having multiple light sources with more than one LED I am getting multiple shadows. They are reasonably subtle so I am not sure what to think. If any of you in reader land out there have thoughts or experience on using downlights, I would like to hear from you.
I find that the light from fluorescent tubes is just TOO even. I have used a 12-volt halogen lighting system on my layout and I'm really pleased with the results. Like your LED downlights, it creates shadows which - to my eye, anyway - help make the layout look more convincing. We see shadows EVERYWHERE outdoors - so much so that our brains edit them out. But if they're not there? We'd notice. And I notice their absence on layouts. I think your test looks great - as does the layout!
- Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)
thanks for your comments. I know what you mean about the fluorescent lighting making the light to even. To my eye it can wash out the colour on the layout too.
I like the shadowing effect that the LED's provide but the multiple shadows while subtle are noticeable. Do you get multiple shadows with your lighting and if so is there anything you do to compensate?
The multiple shadows are not too bad with my arrangement, but the lights are spaced a few feet apart and aimed so that I'm creating a partly cloudy day - there are pools of brightness (aimed a specific structures or scenic features) and then darker areas. Can you adjust the spacing between the LEDs with your system? Or is it something like rope lights, where the spacing is set in stone?
PS: Here's a post on my layout lighting:
It's from 2011 - so very early days of building the layout - but it does show the arrangement and the effect.
thanks for the link to the lighting page on your blog. I like the idea of using brighter lights on scenes you want to highlight. The lights I am looking are individual lights so I can vary the distance they are apart.
The photos look fine Murray, but always hard to tell and things may seem different under normal viewing. In the end, if you like the effect, then the lighting is probably fine!. I've used downlights (both halogen and LED) and don't like either much. In particular, the level of light differs greatly with a 'point' source, leading to hotspots and dullspots, which annoy me - even without obsessing on the topic while seated on a tractor for hours :-)ReplyDelete
I know what you mean about downlights making hotspots. I "borrowed" a couple led downlights that we were installing in the house 12 months ago. The light was terrible - very bright in one spot and then dark a few feet away. The difference is the angle of the light. The earlier lights had 90 degree angle while the lights I have just tried have 180 degree angle. The difference is huge!