My first love... (not 56k friendly)

This is a discussion on My first love... (not 56k friendly) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Photography. It was my dad's first love, too, and the one hobby that he might pick over shooting. Seeing all of his old photography equipment ...

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Thread: My first love... (not 56k friendly)

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    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    My first love... (not 56k friendly)

    Photography.

    It was my dad's first love, too, and the one hobby that he might pick over shooting. Seeing all of his old photography equipment is pretty freakin' cool, and from when I was real little I've always loved photography. Anyway, after a conversation about photography a couple days ago Dad mentions getting a new camera soon so he can get back into it. I told him, "That's a great idea... know what we can start with?" He looked at me for a moment, and I went on. "Well, we wanted to catalog our guns and take insurance pictures, right?" He started grinning about the time mom started groaning (emphatically not a gun person). "And mom's getting more into picture-archiving the wines, right?" Mom ceased groaning. That sold it. We could combine hobbies, guns, beer and wine making (family drinks what it brews), and anything else we decide to do, with photography.

    Right now I'm stuck with a cheapy digital camera. Quality is limited. No better time to relearn the basics than now with the simple stuff.

    First, the setup.







    All the above took was a trip to the nearby Joan Fabrics for a yard of the flat grey fabric, some 3/8" wooden dowels, and a couple white Elmer's foam poster boards. The window is big and provides a lot of control in the amount of light, and the color of the fabric is such that using the flash only slightly washes out the foreground, not the background (the flash being necessary when taking pictures of Dad's Glock and the PA 63s) because of their darker color. Unfortunately, the setup is too bright for the stainless steel Mark II, and I'm thinking of another trip to Joan's for a yard of a dark red.

    It's a small set-up because I want to get the basics down with smaller stuff (handguns) before I try larger stuff (rifles).

    So what did my first go at this turn out?





    My Springfield Mil Spec, plus the new ERGO XTR grips. The lighting and limitations of the camera are the cause of that little "fuzz" around the grips, so it's hard to get a clear picture of their texture. Smoother surfaces come across nicely, and well-defined ones, but otherwise this camera can't quite catch nuances and subtleties. Oh well.

    To deviate a moment, these grips were to replace the Pachmayr grips that I received with the gun after I recently shot the medallions out of the rubber part. I also suspected that the finger grooves it forced me into were negatively affecting the way I handled the gun, so I opted for a grip panels of the non-soft-rubber variety. The XTR's are a hard rubber and don't catch clothing. They're also not uncomfortable against bare skin (to me, anyway). Most important, for the $20 I paid for them they are great grips and have a good solid feel to them. They've taken one accidental knock and you'd never know it by the looks. A handgun course is the only remaining measure of how these grips will perform, because at the range I noticed a distinct boost in my accuracy (groupings were a lot more consistent and a lot tighter than even my last session, and I doubt the dry-firing got me that much better between range trips).

    Back to photography. Time to add the holster.





    These were a little harder because I learned how "high gloss" the leather on the Versa Max was. Those are the best of the holster shots I took, and came after a bit of lighting changes (hurray blinds!) and fighting with the auto-flash on the aforementioned cheapy digital camera. The shadows irritate me to no end, and you can see at the edges of the image the white board backgrounds, but for not having a "half-box" setup I'd say these turned out pretty well.

    Another brief deviation: I like this holster. I'm still waiting on a belt (Liger en route), even with my current dress belt (not a gun belt) I've found that when in that "sweet spot" the VMII feels real comfortable and conceals better than I thought it would for me being small in stature and the holster being fairly thick. I'll still probably add a Max Con V, but I don't see myself getting rid of the Versa Max.

    Last picture is me playing with foreground and background.



    It's a little harder and the two firearms (my two pistols) both still appear to be on the same plane. This one was taken when the setup was moved to the sliding glass door facing our backyard, so there was a lot more light and angry looks my way whenever I tried to dim the lighting a bit. Gonna need to find a more permanent place, or at least a more purpose-built light box and photo setup that doesn't require me to take up space in the family room.

    Anyway, this is my reintroduction to photography. I'll continue to add to this topic as I progress, so that I have a time line and can share my work (and guns!) with you folks. Tips and suggestions are always welcome.

    Hope you enjoy.


    -B
    Last edited by BAC; March 23rd, 2008 at 11:46 PM. Reason: MS Word ate photo description of grips.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    I have always loved photography. You are starting out in good form.
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

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    JD
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    Looks good!

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    Interesting...thanks for the setup info...nice pic's!

    Stay armed...don't run out of wine...stay safe!
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    Member Array Weedy's Avatar
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    Man the pics look great to me! Out of curiosity exactly which camera are you using? Keep up the good work!

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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    very nice!
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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Fantastic tutorial on setup and use of light . Thanks for the effort . I have a couple of " bridge cameras " ( a digital that looks kinda like an slr but will not take interchangeable lenses ) and am slowly getting back on my feet photographly myself . I shot some when younger with a slr but never got into any " studio " type pics , more snapshots and this is where i still normally use the cameras ( wildlife, landscapes, old farm equip/houses ect.. ) . I think to a bunch of us any basic information about how to take pics is more than welcome .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    Senior Member Array Pitmaster's Avatar
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    Nice shots. I"m wanting to take some pictures of my guns. I found this site on setting up a lightbox.. I'm probably gong to get a Nikon D40 pretty soon. Lots of raves about this camera.
    Pitmaster

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    there are some basic tutorials on photography , cheap home built lightboxes ect.. for viewing here Instructables - exploring, photography - DIY & How To

    That site has more " projects " in a lot of category's that a fella can shake a stick at lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. And yes, JD, it is a nice holster, isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
    Man the pics look great to me! Out of curiosity exactly which camera are you using? Keep up the good work!
    Sitting outside of class right now I couldn't tell you off the top of my head, but I'll get back to you once I get home tonight.

    While I used to do a lot more photography, nearly all of it was natural settings and outdoors stuff. I've never played with light boxes before the time I took those pictures, and had my dad help me arrange the white boards to reflect light correctly. What I hope to do is make a three-sided box (floor and two adjacent walls) out of wood so that I can take pictures from within it. However, I think most of my setups are going to be improvised for a couple reasons. First, a light box is limited in size; I can't go from something smaller to something considerably larger (like a handgun to a rifle) very easily with a dedicated light box. Second, I can't change the "landscape" very easily within the light box if I make it semi-permanent (no raised areas for two guns, limited use of newer props, etc.).

    AR15.com (though I'm not overly fond of the site) has a good tutorial for taking pictures of guns specifically. I want to get good at gun photos first, but I definitely want to branch out and get good at taking pictures in general. Another limitation of the "light box" is that it's awful hard to take pictures of barrels, carboys, and wine racks unless I have a very big light box.


    -B

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    BAC see the link i posted , and specificly they have a home built lightbox that is adaptable cheaply for size of object with a little thought . Work lights ( the large wattage type to flood an area at night ) are cheap enough at a home depot or lowes , and stupid cheap at a cummins tool sale ect. With a digi cam you get instant gratification in the sense you can revew the shot and decide if its good enough for editing on the computer . If not change lighting or settings on the cam lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    VIP Member Array eagle5's Avatar
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    Nice! I got into photography thanks to my girlfriend. She rides in hunter/worker equine events. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to afford the best equipment for such events.

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    BAC Real nice job.
    It's sure not easy taking nice pics of guns and holsters. Lots of folks have trouble.
    Very helpful thread.
    Thanks for posting it.
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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    eagle you said
    Nice! I got into photography thanks to my girlfriend. She rides in hunter/worker equine events. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to afford the best equipment for such events.
    Well my daughter is there too lol ( i mean the equine training not the hunter issue ) however i can say that for about 200 bucks or so you can get a low end " bridge " cam which has a great lense and will take about any pic you want , did i mention it has a 12x zoom which depending on how you read lenses works out to a 300+ or even a 500+ mm lense . The only downside is the lag , and it like any digicam has lag .. a slr or dslr takes the pick when you hit the butten . However to duplicate the other features ( other than sports ) it would take me about 5k for a dslr when i buy lenses to compete ... now lest stand back and consider i posted this to compare to the kodak 712is which is priced at the most of 200 bucks . If your a pro i lost you when i mentioned bridge camera , if not look at needs , and cost then buy . hell buy a bridge now and figure that digi slrs are going to do the same thing they have in the last 10 years , they will come own , and maby by then the format of image will be standard lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Great start and a great hobby too! I too enjoy photography.

    If I may offer a few minor suggestions:

    White balance: Various kinds of light have different colors to them (i.e. sunlight, incandescent bulbs, florescent...). There is a setting on your digital camera where you can change to the various settings. In your photos, you use a mix of natural light through the window (bluer) and incandescent light from the bulbs (yellower). The camera cannot be adjusted for both lights very well. See the overall blue hue in the photo (from the outside light) except the yellow reflections on the ejection port and near the muzzle. You might be better off sticking to a single type of light source and adjusting the white balance to it.

    You don't honestly need that much light. It is more important that the light be even. Use a tripod and you can take long photos that compensate for having little light. The "light box" ideas posted above are good. Generally you want "soft" light. Soft light means that there is not a single point source of light (think a cloudy day there are no shadows). If you cover your lights with white fabric or paper, it will make it more even and remove the shadows.

    In your first photo (with the gun angled to bottom right) your focal length was very wide angle. I will do my best to try and explain this: By using the zoom buttons on your camera, you can change the focal length of the lens. This in turn changes the perspective that the camera "sees" with.

    We are used to seeing the world with a certain perspective because of the shape and focal length of our eyes. The first photo you took has a shorter focal length and the perspective is slightly different than what we are used to seeing. That is why the muzzle area looks larger and the grip smaller. (think fun house mirror)

    35 mm film cameras have a "normal" perspective when using 50mm focal length lenses. Most digital SLR's (canon rebel, nikon d40...) are "normal" at 35 mm. You can try and look it up for your camera, or you can just guess by looking. It will likely be in the middle of your zoom range. So back your camera up and zoom in a little.



    edit:

    there is a good site (i think it's bumper's) you could read (its also in the forum help)

    Image Matters

    and this guy has one of the best photo info sites on the net:

    KenRockwell.com
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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