Light Table

Over the past five or six years, I've noticed a resurgence in analog photography. There is usually one or two participants on my workshops who now have a traditional black and white darkroom at home, or are a colour film shooter. Some are pin-hole shooters but most of them are hybrid photographers. They have digital and film and like to experiment with all the mediums now.

An A2 in size LED 'light pad' used as a photography light table.

An A2 in size LED 'light pad' used as a photography light table.

This I feel, is greatly refreshing to note. For a long while, I was always being asked 'have you gone digital yet?' and this question seems to have abated over the past while because we've gotten over that uncomfortable period when everyone feels they need to throw out the old for the new. It is no longer an either / or situation and we are now living in a period where photographers are embracing multiple formats, multiple systems and along with that, different mediums such as palladium printing, traditional black and white as well as C41 and E6 processing.

For a while, it was becoming harder to find things like a good light table. I have a beautiful one at home by Gepe. It has the same colour temperature as my monitor and daylight viewing booth, but I wanted a larger area - something around A2 to help me do an 'overall' review of images I've shot. I like to be able to see the bigger picture, to understand what kinds of images I've made on a shoot and how I think they may be edited together into some cohesive final portfolio.

I bought this A2 light pad, as it's called. It was pretty inexpensive for what it is (£70). It's great for helping me spread out several sheets of transparency roll films for review! I just love looking at transparencies on a light table - the scene comes alive for me but most importantly, it allows me to reconnect. I find my imagination is awakened and I can step back into the scenes I was photographing.

The downside about using an LED light table though, is that its colour temperature is far too 'cool'. Images can appear more blue or cold than they really are. The other issue, which is the most important one for me is that when I return back to my monitor the colour temperature shift is noticeable. My monitor appears to look rather yellow in comparison. It's not really. It's just that the LED is far too cold. 

So I bought a Cinegel #3409: Roscosun 1/4 CTO A2 sized colour correction gel filter to help reduce the coldness of the LED light table. It's exactly what I needed to bring my 'lighted' into line with the colour temperature of my monitor and daylight viewing booths.