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Speaking of lighting...


Don Noon
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Recent topics of ground and violin color have kept this issue on my mind, and in cruising the internet on an unrelated topic, I stumbled into the virtual tour of the Museo del Violino.  And, wandering around, found myself in the violin display room.

230139845_Violinmuseum.jpg.0cb74b0a23606bd93691bb1aeb989de4.jpg

It appears that the lighting is from bright sources overhead, with reflectors at the bottom, both giving bright light at shallow angles, top and bottom, to make the flames light up.  But also, the room is fairly dim, and also a very dark red... which would give a deep red tinge to the darker parts of the flame.  Whoever designed this display room really knew what they were doing to make figured wood look as spectacular as possible (hey Ford museum... this is the exact opposite of what you have).

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It is helpful to think of figured wood as a wavy mirror, which it really is.  With a directional light, parts of the mirror will reflect the light to your eyes and look bright.  The parts of the mirror that don't reflect the directional light will reflect the ambient (room) light, if any.

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I think the instruments appear sooty green due to simultaneous contrast phenomena; the strong red surroundings make the enclosed violins appear to be green-ish.  Maybe all that red was not such a wise choice... 

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I believe curly maple looks best with directional light as Don mentioned and I think a single small point source is the best.  A common example of that is direct sun light.  Conversely the same curly maple looks duller and rather blah on an overcast day with its diffuse even light coming from all directions and it looks totally washed out on a rainy day.

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7 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I wonder how the museum got the photos of their instruments to look so sooty-green?

Automatic white balance in the camera?  That will do it.

Somewhere I have a print of someone in a green shirt, and of course the photolab turned the face green.

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