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My Photo Lab (*ATTN: Zulu Collector)

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Dock

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I just set up my tiny photo studio in my basement(see pic)The two other pics are of a Maenz blowfish...

*Neill,
I sent you a couple of pm's but they keep dying in my out box for some reason.My questions are, how do I get the annoying light dots out and do I have the light tripods too close to the light box?









Best,
D.J.
 

glpease

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Dock, I'm not Neill, but I may be able offer a bit of assistance. A few random thoughts:

Photographing shiny things without specular highlights is always challenging. It's the nature of small light sources, and shiny, curved surfaces. In the top photo, the most distracting hot spot is coming from the top light. (It looks like you're using a desk lamp to light the upper panel of the light tent.) I'd turn it off, and just use the side lights. Also, keep an eye on how the ambient lighting in the room changes things. When you're using small incandescent lights, room lighting can be a significant factor to the overall result.

You can move the lights around, and position the pipe and camera to minimize the hot spots, or at least place them where they'll not be too distracting, but unless you want to use a VERY large, diffuse light source, you'll have to learn ways to live with them.

Moving the lights farther away from the tent will increase the diffusion of the light to some extent, but it will also sacrifice brightness. You'll need increasingly long exposures as you move them farther back. In any case, you can achieve different results by placing one light closer and one farther away from the tent.

It looks like you used on-camera flash in the second photo, which is never going to provide optimal control, and will always result in hard shadows and hot specular highlights, unless you put a diffusor over the flash.

The first photo is very softly focused. Either the auto-focus didn't lock on the right image plane, or there is blur from camera shake during a long exposure. (I can't tell from the small pictures which it might be.) For close-up work like this, autofocus is more of a nuisance than a help. Focus manually, if possible. And, use the self-time on the camera to minimize vibration from pushing the button. (If you're using an SLR, using the mirror lockup can also help a lot, especially with exposures in the 1/15s range, where mirror slap is most problematic.)

For most of my work, I use a single light source - generally a medium softbox. The set is littered with little reflectors, scrims, bits of silver foil, and light-subtracting black panels to control spill. It can take a long time to get the lighting precisely where I want it, but I have very specific results in mind when I shoot pipes. The basic techniques aren't hard to get down. You can see some of the results here.
 

Dock

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Excellent advice Greg! Thank you! I was tinkering around with some of the suggestions that both You and Neill had this afternoon and came up with these. It's gonna take a lot more practice to get them right but HEY it's a start! :lol:




Best,
D.J.
 

Dock

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I took these today. I think they're still a bit too dark!




Best,
D.J.
 

pxlwz

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D.J.

About the light dots: Like Greg said, a softer (bigger, more diffused) light source will help.
Moving the lights around will help also. Imagine, if you could wrap some mirror foil around the stem, and another around the bowl: if you can find a spot, where the light is not visible in the mirror, you will not have any hotspots. In your example, the light would have to be more above the bowl. I am not sure, if you are using any light from the top, or only side light. It can help, if you stand right in front of the camera, head in front of the lens, close 1 eye, and start moving the light source around, concentrating on the reflection.
For the sandblasted Dunhill? Canadian, for example, a light from the top, slightly forward towards the camera, would accentuate the ring blast.

For ring grain, a light that is placed ~ 90º to the flow of the the grain, will bring it out nicely. Think Sunlight: around noon, everything looks pretty flat. Morning and evening sun, will bring out the smallest of hills, and makes them look more 3D.

Hope, this helps.

Markus
 

Dock

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ZuluCollector":dx0b8acm said:
Dock,

I'm not sure what's going on. I sent you PM responses.

Neill
Neill,

I received your pm and just sent you one back at 6:32 pm on Thursday night.Let me know if you DON"T get it....

Best,
D.J.
 

glpease

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Danish_Pipe_Guy":l071wzl1 said:
I took these today. I think they're still a bit too dark!




Best,
D.J.
Dock, you've got a couple things going wrong. First, and most obvious, is the white balance. Using auto WB will generate unpredictable results. Since your light source is relatively constant, you should set a manual WB for the setup, and use that. Your backdrop won't be going through weird colour shifts, then.

Second, manual exposure! The meter in the camera will do its best, but in high-contrast situations, it'll often be wrong. With a lot of white being metered, the camera will tend toward underexposure. If the meter's area is filled with a dark pipe, it'll overexpose. Setting the exposure manually will provide greater consistency.

Use a grey card. Or, meter from the same white card every time, and set the camera to 2 to 3 stops more exposure than the reading. (You'll have to experiment to get it right.)

Finally, use some fill lighting to get into the darker areas. Marcus made some excellent suggestions. I'd also suggest using some reflectors, just white cards will do, to spil some light back onto the front of the pipe.

When I shoot in a tent, I use a lare white foam-cor reflector with a hole cut out for my lens. It's usually just enough to open up the shadows a little.

-glp
 

pipedumb

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Doc~
Im impresse I have a light tent and all but ditched it. Gone back to more natural light. That all said, ... you with all your tobacoianna, I'd like to see more than the pipe (unless these pics were for ebay)

Also, nice pipes might make for nicer pics (OBVIOUSLY KIDDING)

~Tom
 
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