Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What A Girl Wants!

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It's not only shoes and handbags that make my heart beat faster you know! I am a bit of a technic freak. I like gadgets and can figure out how to program the DVD faster than any man I know. My man knows exactly where to hit my soft spot and make me weak at the knees.

I have been dying to share this with you all. For my birthday he presented me with the most sensational present a girl could want. A girl like me who's passion for photography is growing at a rapid rate, turning into an obsession.

We have a huge attic - just a lot of space being used basically as a place to store our files, winter clothes, seasonal decorations hang out the washing that kind of stuff. But because it's so huge there is a lot of wasted space. I have always wanted to set up a little corner for myself up there but there is very little natural light coming through. How often have I wished we had larger windows up there, it would make the perfect little studio for me. A place where I could just spend time playing around and not having to clear up after myself.

When I started working full time again I was struggling to really experiment. Most of my photography was done on the weekend between lunch, homework and the washing. It was getting kind of tiring. Tom then put a worm in my ear - he asked "Why don't you just invest in studio lights! This way you won't be so dependent on the sun!" That was it! This little worm kept eating away in my head. I read about several lighting series and sets. Until I finally found the perfect one. The Lowel Ego was just perfect for my needs and I began my search to get it here. However, I was unable to find any retailers here in Germany that sold it. I could not order it from Amazon.com, where the exact set I was looking for can be obtained because it could not be delivered to Germany.

My motivation was a bit deflated and I left the topic to rest for a while.

It was finally gorgeous Jaden you gave me the final push. I read her article about the Lowel Ego Lights for Food Photography and found the perfect partner to deliver my lighting sets. I had a short discussion with Jaden and she confirmed that B&H Photo in New York were quite dependable. Not only that but the set was cheaper there than at Amazon! Well so began my journey - I contacted them and asked them for advice on their Lowel EGO set. They were extremely helpful in every possible way. They even pointed out that as I lived in Europe I should make sure I get the Lowel EGO 220-240V AC and answered all my questions promptly.

The only complaint I had was not being able to pay with Paypal. As I live outside the US they wanted my credit card. It was a bit of a bummer but in the end I still went with it. Once I had that decided and Tom got wind of it, what I did not know, he secretly together with Soeren went to work up in the attic.

Tom actually locked the attic and told me he had misplaced the keys!! I was thinking how crazy is that and planning on getting someone over to break open the door. But then Soeren told me "mum take it easy - you'll ruin everything!"

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I think he actually heard it go click in my head, because he just winked and giggled. After that he was like a hawk. If I even went anywhere near the staircase leading up to the attic he would come up and ask where I was going.

Well finally my birthday came and the wait was over. I was lead into the attic and this fantastic little place was unveiled for me. My own studio folks - I have my own studio now.

All my props, backgrounds and other bits and pieces are all in one place. No running around the whole house getting my stuff together. Two weeks ago my Lowel EGO lights arrived, delivered within four day. I was so excited to test them out. I quickly put them together and discovered that one of the bulbs was not working. A quick call to the service team at B&H and I had my new bulb in 3 days flat!! Perfect.

I could not test the lights out straight away as we had a few functions and workshops at work that week. The following week I spent a large part of my evenings in my studio. Here are a few of the first shots I took.

Figs in Cardboard Box (02) by MeetaK

Vanilla Caramel Figs (01) by MeetaK

Ever since then I have taken quite a few pictures. Playing and testing around. Jaden has been wonderful and is giving me several valuable tips on how to create different moods with just a few tricks.

I really want to thank you Jaden for the motivation and spirit with advising me on this.

To anyone who is thinking about getting a studio light system I can very highly recommend the Lowel EGO. They are light, flexible and look good. I love the fact that they can be adjusted in a few different positions to give a different light. They also can be screwed on top of any tripod to give your shot raised lighting, when shooting from the top. The set comes with 2 Lowel EGOS, four light bulbs, a sweep, two reflectors and 10 colored papers sheets to use as backgrounds. Furthermore, I would not recommend any other retailer than B&H Photo. They offer efficient service, are quick to respond to any queries and have a no hassle exchange process.

No, you won't only be seeing photographs using these lights on WFLH from now on! I still have over 100 photos in my archives that have been taken in natural lighting and I still plan to carry on taking pictures using natural light whenever it is possible. However, it's just great to know I can come up here in the evenings and shoot away.

I think I will caption the photos or posts in which I have used the Lowel EGO lights. This way you might be able to compare and see the differences.

I am still learning how to use the Lowel EGO so, if there is anyone out there who has more tips and tricks, or other resources I would love to hear your feedback and opinions.


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

57 comments :

  1. Now you've inspired me! I just sprung for a new camera, and I've been staring at it for the past few days, too frightened to use it. Now I know what I'll be doing tomorrow!

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  2. Lovely post. What a beautiful present. I look forward to your photos.

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  3. What a terrific gift! I envy you! My "photography Studio" is a counter-top in my kitchen! :-)

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  4. belated happy birthday meeta.. and what a fantastic gift! the pictures are awesome, congrats!

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  5. What a perfect birthday present! And I love that the men in your life conspired to make it happen. I wish you many happy hours in your new studio.

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  6. Such a sweet story. Always nice to hear about people doing things out of love. Sounds like you have the dearest husband and son. Thanks for sharing. And Happy Belated birthday.
    Happy photographing!

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  7. Hi Meeta - That's so neat. You have got me started on it..lighting has always been a problem for me. Looking forward to lots of awesome pics here!

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  8. That is so sweet Meeta, but you know lights or no lights your photos were so good, I always loved them.

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  9. This is good to know. Those are actually on my Amazon wish list.

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  10. What a perfect birthday surprise! Enjoy playing around with your new toys and space! I always enjoy checking in to see what new food photos you have up for us to see, always fantastic!

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  11. Wow! That's really sweet of your men! And the photos taken with these lights are brilliant! Happy belated birthday!

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  12. I could go ahead and say.., your husband is very romantic,, for coming up with such a big surprise.. awesome Meeta.. Belated birthday wishes!!

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  13. Oh Meeta, that is truly fantastic. I am eying Lowel ego for sometime now. I just don't have my own studio yet.

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  14. jaden had put the worm in my head too. i really want one but will be a while before i can afford it :)

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  15. I am gadget crazy too, apart from junk jewellery crazy:) And yes! P buys me those for annv. and b'days, and actually gets me to chronicle stuff for him too! I will have to wait for this one though - I am sure you are crazy over this one - Feels like a new toy? Enjoy playing and looking forward to more photography:)

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  16. What a lovely surprise! Enjoy the new studio and we look forward to seeing more awesome photographs.

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  17. what a fabulous gift!! enjoy it meeta...and so will we!! afterall i do drool over your pics!!

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  18. what a gift...enjoy,..belated birthday wishes...

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  19. thats such a wonderful gift for ur b'day meeta. who says diamonds, or shoes or bags is what we want;) i am eyeing at lowel ego since the day jaden has posted it in her blog. was researching if they ship it to europe or not. the cost at amazon including shipping cost is really realy expensive. i hardly get sunshine even during summer here in my part of the woods and end up taking pic using kitchen counter top lights which gives yellow glow:(
    can't wait to see ur photos taken using lowel ego lights.

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  20. Belated bday wishes Meeta and such a lovely gift to recieve. lovely one..

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  21. Wow, what a great gift and what an informative post. I would love to know more about the backgrounds you use. Have you or would you ever consider writing a post about them?

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  22. What a beautiful birthday surprise. I guess it couldn't get ant better, I guess.
    And we get to see more beautiful food.:)

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  24. Happy belated birthday, Meeta! I have the Lowel Ego lights, too, and I absolutely adore them for a "quick" photography fix. I keep some extra pieces of white foamcore or posterboard around and a few small round mirrors handy to add some extra reflection and brighten up shadows when I'm shooting. They really do the trick. Have fun experimenting with them!

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  25. U one lucky gal!!!!!!awesome post....I must say! as it is u r photos r gorgeous and now u r gonna drive us all crazy with ur extra gorgeous studio pics!

    good luck...and waiting to see more pics from you!

    Veda

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  26. Meeta, long time I want to do something like this as well... for now I take all my photos on little Ikea table in our bedroom with flash pointing at the celling to reflect the light... most of the time in hurry, just before we start eating.
    I keep suitcase full of different fabrics and place mats under our bed...
    Happy belated birthday Meeta!! :)
    Have a wonderful day, Margot

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  27. Ah this should be good--I can't wait to see the photos you get with this.

    My wife recently assembled a lightbox for me to start taking my final plating shots. I need to invest in better lights to really illuminate the box properly, but even with a desk lamp, the light box has yielded a tremendous boost in my photo quality as of late (compare some of my newer final plating photos to the older ones if you're curious about the visual difference). Now we're both pining for a macro lens...

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  28. How fun to have a little studio!! I looked into getting these lights last winter, and may do so this winter. I don't have room for a studio, but I'm sure they'd make a huge difference in the dark!

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  29. Wow...u got a fantastic surprise b'day gift!
    Lighting do play havoc on my spirits,when after slogging in kitchen to make that special dish,and after arranging it in best possible way in best available bowls/plates,evrythng looks perfect to eyes....but as soon as it get clicked...the poor light washes away all my enthusiasm...
    So now whatever i need to post on my site,i make it a point to cook in afternoons when natural light cud give me that desired effect .
    Enjoy girl....u now need not worry about abt this aspect of photography now!

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  30. Thats a wonderful gift from your hubby! Enjoy clicking dear :-)

    www.zaiqa.net

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  31. You lucky girl!
    I'm your opposite - 6 months, and I am still trying to figure out my 'new' camera!

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  32. great blog! I used to live upstairs from B&H (we even shared an elevator), and can attest that they are very reputable. The only problem was that living upstairs was VERY expensive, because I always wanted to buy more stuff!

    I've bought used camera equipment from them, and have always had good luck, too.

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  33. What a fabulous and thoughtful gift! Belated birthday wishes to you.:D

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  34. What a great gift!
    My birthday is coming up next week and the kids know I want a photo studio box with lights to hopefully they will remember to tell Daddy, though we don't have the space for me to have my own studio!
    Happy Birthday!

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  35. Wonderful gesture by your husband and son Meeta. Belated b'day wishes to you.

    Dee mentioned to me about these lights, and from then on my husband is so eager to get them. But staying in a rental apartment we don't have enough space to set a studio, so I'm postponing it.

    I think I guessed it right when I thought that you had these lights after seeing your the strawberry parfait pictures. My husband saw that too and again he has started the topic of buying it.

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  36. Meeta, this was my birthday gift too.. I am still working on finding the best ways to use them and yes B&H indeed is a great place to buy stuff... though Im not an avid photographer like you, I like playing with them on and off . Wonderful great and so sweet of your family !! Hugs :)

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  37. you mean men can program dvd players better than a woman? LOL!!

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  38. Oh my yes B&H they are grand! What a thrill Meeta. Having a space like this would send anybody smiling for a month of Sundays! Looking forward to all the fun will see out of the new "studio".

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  39. Glad you got those too! I am using Bill's old photo studio lights, very similar. B&H is where I got my camera and lenses. We traded in a bunch of old equipment and they even called us to say they had one of the items I wanted if we wanted to trade more.

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  40. I have one of the Lowel Ego lights as well and I really like it. I look forward to seeing what you do with them!

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  41. Oh my I am overwhelmed be the response here. Firstly thanks for all your wishes and complements it always warms the heart!

    Madam Chow - go for it it's a lot of fun. We all need our toys!

    Ann, my photos were also shot in the middle of the living room on a chair!!

    Lydia, yes those two are a sneaky but loving twosome!

    Pragyan, the Lowel Ego is really perfect the cool thing is you can simply set them up in your living room and they look good as normal lamps too!

    Medhaa - aww thanks but I am enjoy playing around!

    Pea - get them from B&H they are much cheaper there!

    Kalva - yeah I guess that'd be romantic for us LOL!

    Sug - go for it! YOu do not need a studio for the Lowel EGO they are not too large or bulky and look good as normal lamps!

    Sia, consider the Lowel more seriously if you really plan on taking your photography to the next level. As I have started to do contract work I needed to invest in something where I would not be too dependent on natural lighting.

    joanne, I have never felt qualified enough to actually give other people tips and advice. But I think Maybe I could write a post about what I use to take the photos - e.g. types of backgrounds props etc.

    Erika - great tips thanks for those. Actually before I got the reflectors with the EGOs I used white posterboard as my bounce LOL!

    Margot - yes that was me before too I had all my stuff everywhere in the house. A hassle but now I am happy to have it in one place!

    Mike - Macro! That is my magic word too. I am looking for a macro lens too but need to save up on that! It's amazing what a bit of lighting can do huh?

    Deborah, go for it! Winter would be the perfect time to get them I guess.

    Anita you crack me up!! Well maybe I should come over (with a bag of rice) and help you with that! LOL!

    ANON - living upstairs from B&H must have been cool - but I can imagine it must have also gotten expensive. I would have been constantly broke!

    Jenny - I am sending your kids and hubby a telepathic message "LOWEL EGOs for Jenny!"

    Madhuram - actually the strawberry parfait was shot in natural light before i got the lights. I have not posted any pictures using the Lowel Ego prior to this post. But in the future I intend on highlighting the pictures I take using these lights.

    Dee - hehehe! I am telling we are far to alike geminis and lowel egos!

    Tanna - my whole year is a week of Sundays! I love this place.

    Helen - they trade old stuff too! that is cool. I am looking into a few other things too and B&H will definitely be the place I will go to!

    Kevin, ahhh! so now I know the secret of your well lit shots. great!

    Once again thanks to you for all your wonderful comments. I hope I can meet your high expectations of me now!

    Hugs!

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  42. Belated Happy Birthday Meeta...I'm sure you had a blast...and congrats for your own studio...pictures looks awesome.

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  43. I am so envious, Meeta. I will immediately start my search here in SA and if not, I will just have to go for the Amazon option!

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  44. Hi Meeta,

    I’ve just tried grabbing your site’s feed and testing it here: http://wwx5.blogspot.com (click link to visit test site). The widget seems to be working perfectly.

    Just in case tip: When configuring HTML/JavaScript, be sure it’s on Html mode (just click Edit Html) when inserting the code.
    Also, don’t forget to insert your own blog URL into the code as mentioned in step#3 (just look for the line that looks like this: src=”http://yourblog.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default… and change “yourblog” with your own blog address).

    BTW, I love your site! I bookmarked it. Now I'm really hungry. :)

    Kind regards,

    Tristan (Mad Tomato)

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  45. I want some too!! What a great gift from your two men - its always lovely when they know what will really bowl you over!

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  46. I am insanely jealous! I would love to just have my own space... wonderful men in your life :)

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  48. Meeta, congrats on getting lights!! It's so sweet hat they were able to (somewhat) keep it a surprise from you! Your shots look beautiful! Hopefully you'll be able to pass on some helpful pointers to me once I get a set of lights : )

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  49. What a great birthday present. It's so fun to hear how they surprised you. I already had the photo-studio-in-a-box when I heard about these lights, so I just bought two of the Lowell bulbs ($20 each) and two inexpensive standing desk lamps, and I use the lightbox I already had to filter the light. Like you I'm only using it when I don't have any natural light, but it's working very well.

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  50. What a wonderful surprise! Your photos are always beautiful and this will raise the bar...I know we will be seeing even more beautiful photos. Sometimes obsessions are a great thing.

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  51. Wow! If I had a setup like that, I'm not sure my husband would ever see me again! (hee hee)

    But really, I thank you so much for sharing our present with us. I absolutely love your photography, and aspire to do as well. You've got the talent and the equipment. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

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  52. Hello
    First sorry for my english. I live in the french part of Switzerland. Not so far from you !
    So, just to inform you that I bought today the Lowel Ego Lights Kit ... in Switzerland ! I ordered them yesterday and received today !
    Price: SFR. 320.- but it's still cheaper than Amazon price + transportation taxes.
    So, I really enjoy to try them soon.
    Gute Nacht
    verO

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  53. What a great timing : I just bought a Pentax K20 and I wanted to find a lighting set to take beautiful pictures no matter what time it is. I immediately looooooved the Lowel Ego light when I discovered it but I was totally devastated to see that it was impossible to find it in France where I live ! So when I read you ordered it online and received it without problems, I was so happy ! I plan to buy the set, do you have any recommandation ? Well, thank you so much for giving me hope concerning the lights !

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  54. Thank you everyone for the wishes and comments.

    Valérie . I am very happy with the lights. B&H Photos were great and I can fully recommend them. The items were delivered in no time. When ordering the set make sure you check to see that it is compatible for the European vltage . There are two sets and one is 220-240V AC which is the one we in Europe require.

    Have fun with it!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta