Cliff Ferris's Light Box for Photographing Spread materal

Cliff Ferris,

 You are visitor number   since 3 December 2003 

Also see the settup used by Tony Thomas

How does Cliff get such nice photos (like the one below)?

I use a light box (dimensions 9.5" x 9.5" x 6" high). The front is open, and the top has a 5.5" hole located centrally. The inside is painted flat white. I have a ring-fluorescent light (cool-light - 8" O.D.) mounted against the inside of the top. I use an old photographic enlarger easel to support the camera, which is mounted above the light box.

The camera that I use is a Fuji SLR FinePix Pro S1. It uses Nikon lenses. I use a basic Nikkor AF 50 mm 1:1.8 lens with close-up lenses as necessary (+1, +2, +4), and occasionally an extension tube for very small moths.

To support the specimen, I have a wooden block with a square (5" x 5") of standard pinning foam glued to the top. For a background, I use a neutral gray or pale blue piece of un-patterned construction paper cut to the size of the foam square and pinned to it using label pins.

The Fuji software has various color (light temperature) compensation settings for illumination, and one the 3 fluorescent settings is a pretty good match for the light that I use.

I control the camera directly from the keyboard of a G4 Power Macintosh, and image post-processing is done in Adobe Photoshop.

I bought a digital SLR so that I could attach the camera body directly to the photo tube on my dissection microscope for genitalic photography.

Tony Thomas suggestion (, posted 5 Dec. 2003).

I used an almost identical set up as Cliff Ferris's light box for my latest images on the Fundy Park webpage (but this was a couple of years ago, I retired in March 2002!). Currently using an almost identical system but with incadescent lamps.

I find it easier to use the light box in the vertical position, rather than horizontal. I mount my camera on my regular tripod and can look through the eyepiece with my eyes in a more natural (horizontal) relaxed position. Saves getting a stiff neck!