Arimecibo Island

      Arimecibo is a real island about 1400 nautical miles south by southeast of Honolulu, Hawaii (12 43' 51" N x 135 27' 12" W) (Lattitude: 12.730833 x Longitude: -135.453333). I 'discovered' it while working up the plot lines for Starship, my as-yet-unfinished novel. It is not much of an island, but more of a volcanic outcropping. It is completely submerged at high tide.

      Photography has always been one of my hobbies. Studio photography natually evolved over time. I was looking online for a mannequin to use as a studio model when I discovered the world of life-sized dolls. Inflatable dolls have come a long way since I first saw one way back in the 1970's. Since they are relatively inexpensive and easy to work with, I bought Trixie, a Private Secretary doll. I purchased a second Private Secretary doll, Dixie as a backup in case the first one sprang a leak.

      I saw a print of an island scene in one of our local department stores, and immediately got the idea to build a 'window' to use as a backdrop for the studio.
Island Window
Click on pictures for the larger images.

      I decided to put a 'window' in my studio to give the girls some possibilities for 'location' shots. I found some poster sized prints at Wal Mart and Meijer, 36" wide by 24" high. I built several versions of the window before I found one that I like. The lightbox frame is made just slightly bigger than 24" x 36" to accomodate the flourescent light fixtures. The fixtures are supported by 1" x 3" furring strips.

      The prints came with a stiff cardboard backing, so I covered one of these with tinfoil to act as a reflector and placed it behind the fixtures.

      I brought the power cord out through the middle knockout on the middle light fixture, and through the cardboard backing behind the window. There is safety hardware in the knockout hole to prevent electrical shorts. The light switch is behind the left leg (right in this picture).

      There is a plexiglass sandwich behind the woodwork frame. A 1/8" inch notch was formed by placing wooden yardsticks at the bottom and on both sides between the plexiglass pieces. This allows the scenery to be changed without dis-assembling the woodwork. The scenes themselves have some clear packing tape doubled over and placed at the middle top to facilitate easy removal and replacement of the prints.

Here is the window with the front woodwork frame, legs, and curtain hardware. This is what it looks like with the tubes turned on.

      Here is the window with the "Morning at Arimecibo" scene in place, and "Noon at Arimecibo" on the floor. I put some dark blue poster paper behind the valance curtains at the top to give the illusion that there is a transom window at the top. I should change to a light blue color for the daytime scenes. I placed the curtains so that the bottom cafe set would give the illusion that the window is bigger than seen.

Trixie and Dixie at Arimecibo with scene 2, "Noon at Arimecibo".

Trixie and Dixie at Arimecibo with scene 3, "Sunset at Arimecibo".

Esperanza and Dixie at Arimecibo.


      Esperanza (Spanish for "Hope") is a Tera Patrick doll from California Exotics. She has an outer air chamber of latex rubber over an inner air chamber of vinyl. Her head is a one-peice mold of some hard substance, probably plastic. The twins, Trixie and Dixie, have one air chamber of vinyl.

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