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View Full Version : How I took the picture of my model traction engine.


Don Hoey
16-12-05, 22:28
In response to a question from Andy I thought I would post here as I can include a picture.

I have 2 graduated vinyl background materials about 45 inches square. One green/white and one blue/white. They are very handy when taking pictures of small items as there is no background clutter. I have posted a few pictures using them in the BirdForum tripods forum.

I do not know if you can still get them today as mine are over 10 years old. When looking I found this link to UK Camera shops that some may find useful when searching for that elusive bit.http://www.ukcamera.com/welcome.htm

Other than physically placing the model ( 56 lbs ) the greatest problem was lighting it. On the move to Norfolk I have misplaced my flash slave so I could only use one flash. Luckily I have the SC17 lead so can use it off camera.

I set the whole thing up in the lean-to outside the workshop. This allowed for some natural light ( slightly overcast sky ) with the flash providing highlights.

For those that are unfamiliar with flash photography the primary thing in a situation like this is to diffuse the flash light as much as possible. I always think of flash as being a bit like the sun. Direct sun - harsh shadows, overcast ( diffused ) sun - soft shadows. In this shot the flash has a diffuser fitted and was fired though a lastolite white reflector, to give maximum diffusion. A secondary lastolite white reflector was used to bounce light back and fill the chimney and smokebox door.
In post processing I cropped and added a touch of lightness and contrast and sharpening. In my darkroom days this would have been a straight print.

For anyone wanting to try such photography polystyrene sheets make great cheap reflectors.

I attatch both pictures here.

robski
16-12-05, 22:40
Thanks for sharing that Don - You are a master of lighting with no doubt.

I loved your Nikon Camera shot too.

Rob

Don Hoey
16-12-05, 23:52
Glad you liked the Nikon shot. So here is pretty much what I did to get that one. The key was getting detail in the lens and could only be done in bright sunshine. Picture attatched.

Playing with light is where digital really pays off. A lot cheaper than polaroids. I wish digital had been around when I ran a works camera club. It cost a fortune in polariods as club members had a play.

Although I have a love of precision engineering I also enjoy doing things with the minimum of kit. Polystyrene sheets I got for free. One decent flash and the other is a 20+ year old Vivitar 283. I think the slave I have misplaced was only a couple of quid.

robski
17-12-05, 01:19
I am in the process of trying to setup a flash system to help boost the light for my garden bird shots. I first started looking at slave remotes for the canon eos system. This was looking very expense with a 430EX and STE-2. Then I suddenly realised under the rubber flap the Canon 20D has a PC connector. So far I have managed to get a 30 feet cable and PC to hotshoe adaptor. I was hoping to get a very cheap secondhand gun with a trigger voltage under 250 volts. The best I could find locally was a Sunpak 888AFZ for £30. Atleast it has a bounce and zoom head with a guide no of 21M plus the trigger voltage is only 5 Volts. If I get another short cable and a 3 way adaptor I should be able to hook my canon 380EX onto it as well.

Next job will be to knock up some cheap method diffusing and then calculate the lighting effect for exposure.

Rob

Canis Vulpes
17-12-05, 10:08
Excellent, thanks for sharing.

I now have lust over a SB-800!

Thanks

Stephen Fox

yelvertoft
17-12-05, 18:57
Thanks Don for this advice. You have great skill both as a photographer and engineer.

Don Hoey
17-12-05, 21:50
So I just signed in and was going to reply to Rob with economy tips when I saw your reply.

Checked out your site and ......... WOW !!!!

Planes are from my era in RAF - Lightning, Shack, Hunter ........

Must get back to my reply to Rob but I will look further ....

Don

Don Hoey
17-12-05, 23:30
I am in the process of trying to setup a flash system to help boost the light for my garden bird shots. I first started looking at slave remotes for the canon eos system. This was looking very expense with a 430EX and STE-2. Then I suddenly realised under the rubber flap the Canon 20D has a PC connector. So far I have managed to get a 30 feet cable and PC to hotshoe adaptor. I was hoping to get a very cheap secondhand gun with a trigger voltage under 250 volts. The best I could find locally was a Sunpak 888AFZ for £30. Atleast it has a bounce and zoom head with a guide no of 21M plus the trigger voltage is only 5 Volts. If I get another short cable and a 3 way adaptor I should be able to hook my canon 380EX onto it as well.

Next job will be to knock up some cheap method diffusing and then calculate the lighting effect for exposure.

Rob

Rob I am trying to work out your current set up. I still think in old mechanical camera terms even though I have a D100. Maybe a pic will help.

Anyway here goes.
For those not in the know but following this thread, a remote flash slave is either directly mounted or connected by sync lead to the remote flash. When it detects a flash it triggers the flashgun to which it is attatched. The only requirement in positioning it is the slave must be able to 'see' the MASTER flash.

If you use the built in or camera system flash as the MASTER you can have any number of remotely triggered flashguns. Robs mention of 250mv is important in that some old flashguns had considerably higher values and if connected to modern camera's could burn out the camera circuitry. I never connect an unknown flashgun to the camera for that reason. Other than the ability to use cheap secondhand flashguns that is the reason I favour this approach.

So back to your post Rob.
Jessops is probably a good place to get a slave.
Get the highest power ( GN ) flash you can secondhand.
Diffusion - again check Jessops or similar for propriety products ie STOFEN. You can provide some diffusion really cheaply by placing tissue over the flash tube, bouncing the flash off a piece of white card, or firing the flash through a material. For this the flash needs to be about 12 inches back from the material. Proprietry products from Lastolite, - or home made, a cheap frame or old picture frame about 20 inches on its longer side with a single layer of white pillow case stapled over will do the trick. For birds I think you may be better with tissue or Stofen - less disturbing as it cannot be camo.

When calculating exposure work on the master ( triggering ) flash first, then add your slave setup after. If your master is too far back from the subject and is only being used to trigger the slave, or you have more than one slave do them one at a time. To reduce exposure either move the flash further away from the subject position, set it on auto and dial in a higher ASA/ISO value or add tissue over the flashhead. As flash distance to subject doubles, light from the flash falling on the subject falls by a factor requiring an increase in aperture of 2 stops.

I will stop now until I know if this is any use to you.

Don