Saturday, November 30, 2013

Emsingen arrangements and color temperature

In the beginning the layout room was lighted by a torchiere with 300W ceiling flood light. Then I installed a single ceiling mounted fixture with 3 spot lights with daylight CFLs (7000 Kelvin). That worked ok, but was not satisfying either, since I was looking for a more consistent lighting across the whole layout. During our kitchen renovation I moved a set of fluorescent tube mounts into the layout room and installed Cool White (4000K) tubes based on the recommendations from Tony Koester's books. However, I found that the scenery felt flat in comparison to the daylight CFLs, so I picked up a 7000K tubes at Home Depot and lighted the room with that. Wow! It felt like daylight coming out of the middle of the garage, and in the first couple days I thought I left the side-door open whenever I went into the garage.
However,  7000K is a quite blue-ish light, which really brings out even tiny hints of blue in scenery colors. As I built up scenery I became increasingly unhappy with the color temperature in the room. The ballast has hues of blue-ish gray. The rocks are a little bit blue. I tried to compensate by not using brilliant white to make grey tones, as well as mix in some brown color as well. Still, it didn't quite work, and I increasingly got the feeling that the layout looks sterile.
One really neat thing is that I can take digital photos with the white balance set to sunlight and the color in the pictures captures the look just perfectly.

Galaxy Nexus, Sunlight white-balance, 7000K Phillips daylight fluorescent tubes
So, 7000K is great for photography. But not so good when actually being there.

Today I went the other extreme and replaced the 7000K tubes with 3000K warm-white tubes. Those are meant for kitchen & bath applications because they produce warm hues. And yes, the room feels much more friendly. Especially grayish colors are not as aggressive anymore.

But now I have trouble with the white balance when taking pictures...

Galaxy Nexus, sunlight white-balance, 3000K GE warm-white fluorescent tubes
Sunlight doesn't work at all.

Galacy Nexus, fluorescent white-balance, 3000K GE warm-white tubes
Setting the white balance to fluorescent is better, but the photos are still not great.

More experimentation is needed.

I have been building more houses for Emsingen recently, especially using relief houses to suggest depth were there isn't any. The two white houses with the red roofs to the left of the green house are have only the front-half built...

I'm starting to see an arrangement emerge for the left side of Emsingen that feels complete, and leaves room for the track to emerge from behind scenery.

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