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Author Topic: Night Lights  (Read 26788 times)
jonathan


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« on: July 25, 2014, 03:22:51 PM »

One goal, I've been working on slowly, is to have enough scale lighting on my layout so I can turn off the room lights and watch the layout run... oh, and still be able to see the action.

This is turning out to be a loooong-term project, working on little bits and pieces at a time. I know I have over 100 lamps and LEDs around the layout now, but it looks like it will take hundreds more.

Anyway, this is the head of one of my yards.  Using LEDs, resistors and scratchbuilt streetlamps, I'm starting to see progress in this area.

First is a shot, using flash, so one can see the contents of the scene:


Now a series of shots, looking at the scene using only the layout lights:












I had a tough time getting the camera to focus under these dark conditions.  One day I will get permission to get a fancy DSLR from she who must be obeyed.  Smiley

The lamps consist of 0603 SMDs, magnet wire, 1K ohm resistor, 1/16" aluminum tubing, and brass lamp shades.  My homemade lampshades just weren't cutting it, so I broke down and got the premade shades.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Doneldon

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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2014, 03:42:42 AM »

Jonathan-

Handsome work, as always. I envy your talents.

Lighting is a bigger part of the model environment than most people realize. I am by no means an expert, but I think there are two things which sell the product: ambient light and diverse local/detail lighting.

It's probably not possible to supply all lighting with on layout lights. But that's okay because that's how it works in the real world, too. There's a lot of light in the world even on the darkest night. To me, that's kind of like a basic well-made model. It let's you see what's going on but we need highlighting and weathering to lend our models their verisimilitude. With lighting, weathering is done by having different kinds of light -- e.g., incandescent, fluorescent, various LED shades -- coming from different angles, in various intensities and with different levels of release from the sources. So a little light leaks out from a bedroom window where somebody fell asleep while reading, the downtown district is brightly illuminated with flashing, animated lights even after everybody goes home, and neighborhoods have a low glow punctuated by porch lights and the vehicles which carry late night workers or people called out due to a crisis, large or small. Animate some of that and maybe throw in a few localized background sounds and, all of a sudden, it almost seems like our tiny figures are moving a little bit.
                                                                                                                          -- D
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jonathan


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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2014, 04:37:48 AM »

Thanks, Doneldon.  I get your point.  I agree it's not possible to put all the prototypical lights on a layout.  In reality, each structure could have potentially dozens of lights, if you work up the interior.  Still... it would be nice to have enough layout lighting to get that realistic nighttime feel.

BTW, I had to look up "verisimilitude". Cant' wait for an excuse to use is in a sentence.  Smiley

Thanks, again.

Regards,

Jonathan
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BaltoOhioRRfan


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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2014, 10:55:43 AM »

Jonathon - I have a DSLR and its still a bit hard to get it to focus in the dark, and you gotta be real steady while snapin the shot or it will be all blurry.
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Emily C.
BaltoOhioRRFan
B&O - America's #1 Railroad.

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WoundedBear
A Derailed Drag Racer


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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2014, 08:47:10 PM »

Jonathon - I have a DSLR and its still a bit hard to get it to focus in the dark, and you gotta be real steady while snapin the shot or it will be all blurry.

Using a tripod and the camera's timer will solve any instability issues.

Sid
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BaltoOhioRRfan


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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 08:01:05 AM »

Jonathon - I have a DSLR and its still a bit hard to get it to focus in the dark, and you gotta be real steady while snapin the shot or it will be all blurry.

Using a tripod and the camera's timer will solve any instability issues.

Sid

Yeah I've been using it a lot when takin photos of my trains. Works wonders
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Emily C.
BaltoOhioRRFan
B&O - America's #1 Railroad.

My Collection on FB - https://www.facebook.com/EmilysModelRailroad
My Collection on YouTube = https://www.youtube.com/user/BORRF
CNE Runner


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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 10:48:09 AM »

I just had to comment on your lighting project Jonathan. When I opened your thread my mouth fell open...wow!!! Lighting takes a layout to the next level - and adds untold interest to the scene. Don's input on 'weathering with lighting' was amazing as well...never thought of it that way Don.

As part of the building of the [new] Monks Island Railway 2.0, I intend to add a lighting component. Basic layout ambient lighting will be done with blue LED strip lighting for nighttime scenes and daylight/warm LED strips for daytime (I am still trying to find this stuff...yes, Micro Mark sells a similar product that is a bit too rich for my pocketbook. One of my UK pen pals procures his at a local English box store during the holidays for a low price...haven't found any in the States as of yet). All structures will have lighting (internal or extrenal...or both); but lacking your patience Jon I will buy wall lighting kits from N-gineering...not that they are a 'walk in the park' to build.

On several of the scrapbook pages on Carl Arendt's website there was an Australian chap who built a layout called "Brooklyn 3:00 AM"  that was absolutely amazing (he even had sound effects). [Note: I tried to give a link to his article. It is featured in several scrapbook pages (#74 as one); but the original embedded video segment has been removed.] In the June 2013 issue of the Hornby Magazine is an article on a layout called the Stratton St. George. The lead photograph is of a nighttime view that looks amazingly read. [BTW: I subscribe to Railway Modelling, and occasionally purchase the Hornby Magazine to garner ideas from our English comrades...these folks can really do model railroading!] Again, being able to 'move' your layout into the night hours puts a very different 'spin' on your work.

It is indeed odd that there is so little 'exposure', in the hobby press, on nighttime model railroad operations. Even in the 19th century, railroads did not stop at sunset...something to think about. Thanks to Jon and Don ('sounds like a singing group) for their input.

Regards,
Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Irbricksceo


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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 11:19:21 AM »

Beautiful as always Jonathan, Your work always Impresses me.

Ray, I do not know if this is what you mean but I seem to recall Target having strips of orange or blue LED's in plastic tubing that could be strung together in series during the holiday season. I happen to posses a few that was used for our Sukkah and they were only five bucks a pop, 6-10 feet long I think, since we bought them after Christmas, when all goes on sale.
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Jerrys HO
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 12:24:20 PM »

Jonathan,

I give up! I think I will send you my layout and when your done send it back Grin.
WOW you just take it to another level each time you post.

Jerry
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Irbricksceo


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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 01:47:24 PM »

He sure does, you know, I wasn't posting under Irbricksceo the time but I remember when he first joined. now, years later, he's one of the most frequent and talented modelers to post here, every project being astounding. I respect you Jonathan!
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jward


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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 03:02:34 PM »

ray,
regarding nighttime railroading in the hobby press.....

you have to remember that the primary emphasis is on getting that perfect sunlit shot you can brag to all your buddies about, and that the magazines will print. night time does not photograph well.

i know firsthand how interesting middle of the night railroading can be, i've done enough of it. with light levels too low to take photos, the experience becomes much more one of atmosphere. the sounds of a night train winding its way through the mountains, miles away slowly working its way towards you cannot be adequately described in print. it must be experienced.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
CNE Runner


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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 05:32:13 PM »

Irv, thanks for the 'heads up' on those LED lights. The only thing I have seen (and that was around the holidays) was LED rope lights...not LED strip lights [Confused?..check out Micro Mark's range online or in one of their [weekly] catalogs.]. At this point, I would settle for either. I will be sure to check out Target in the near future  - and keep a watchful eye during the holiday season. I just know that someone must sell LED strip lights and need to do a more thorough Internet check (heck, if they are available in the UK, they should be available here...as they all come from China).

Hold the 'phone...I just found the product at Amazon (is there anything that Amazon doesn't sell?). They can be seen at


Weirdly, the ad doesn't tall how long each 'tape' is (at ~$7.95/roll I will order a couple rolls when the time comes). Additionally there is no indication of the 'temperature' of the light produced. I quess I'd use a couple warm white strips (for daylight viewing) and one blue (for nighttime). You can even get a dimmer for these strips AND they can be cut every 3 LEDs. Like I said: Very affordable.

I spent the afternoon installing some Blue Point turnout controllers on the new Monks Island Railway. For most of the time I was working, I was thinking about Jonathan's night scene. There is still a lot of work to be done on the layout; but I am definitely planning on installing a plethora of LED lighting. [Am I becoming a Jonathan wanna-be?]

Take care everyone,
Ray
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 05:48:46 PM by CNE Runner » Logged

"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Irbricksceo


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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 06:00:28 PM »

[Am I becoming a Jonathan wanna-be?]

Take care everyone,
Ray

To an extent, I think we all are!
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jonathan


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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 07:52:30 PM »

Gents,

As always, you have been too kind.  I think the photos make my layout look better than it really is. Don't know why.  All these little scenic experiments are techniques I've picked up while serving as a member of this forum.  I've seen Ray move heaven and earth to get his turnouts to work perfectly.  I could never accomplish the work done on those double slip switches.

I've been trying all the techniques most of you have discussed over the years.  I'm just a guy obsessed with model trains.  Spent 40 years dreaming of building a layout.  Now I'm going at it like there's no tomorrow.

Thanks again for the kind words.

Regards,

Jonathan
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jward


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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2014, 09:38:30 PM »

i can't wait to see how you come up with lighted switch stands
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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