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  #1  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:01 PM
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SharpByCoop SharpByCoop is offline
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A few new ones - critique welcome

Buddy always shares, and I haven't shown anything. My turn.

I had a fun day with Jerry Oksman this afternoon. He came by with a set of three swords. Oh, yeah. THAT was easy.

After stretching out my tent to fit the swords, I scrapped it entirely. i still coudn't get far enough away to fir them in the frame. I ended up laying the setup on the floor and directing the strobes at the ceiling. it worked just as well.



There is a LOT of stuff going on, but that's the point. This was a matched set over three years from Wally.

Jerry wanted a clean individual shot of the 'small' tanto (It's as large as a long bowie....!) I ended up using my tried and true (favorite) background on this (With FULL credit to Rich Slaughter for the gift of this piece. I can't keep my hands off it.... )

Getting light inside that guard took an outside strobe, and I oiled the steel to make the damascus jump out.



Lastly, he dragged out of his pocket this marvelous EDC folder. I stared at it for minutes trying to figure out the maker. (Don't uncover the credit line and try to guess)

I caved, but was thrilled to see it was from one of my faves. On top of the cleanliness, it is a D/A Scale release auto! Jerry works in NYC. I *don't* think he's letting on about this one....



Lighting was near-perfect for me on this shot. Doesn't always work this easily. I chose a fresh background from my new stash...

Any critiques welcome.

Coop


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  #2  
Old 03-30-2008, 11:27 PM
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RBSlaughter RBSlaughter is offline
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Outstanding Jim, and I mean every shot.. I can't even get my head around how hard that first shot must have been. It's well lit, layed out, and very clear. The other two are your usual top shelf as well.. I just love the light purple on the bottom of the sword sheaths, and you show it nicely in both shots... I am not real familar with Mr. Hayes's work but these are stunning..

I was able to get the maker on the folder even before you laid out the challange. It's one of Stan's very early designs but I have never seen a clip like that. It's cool, and if he made it today, you would not see a single screw.. I have become a big fan of his folders, but prefer his more traditional designs over the "Advisor" model that is so popular. Stan is a really good photographer in his own right, but he has never had one of his knives look as clean, and well lit as you pulled off..

Smokin' Photos from you and Buddy this weekend...

Best, Rich
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2008, 01:06 AM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Coop - These are all great shots. #3 presents (and this may just be my inexperience) a challenge with choice of background. Some people say use dark with dark (I'm talking handle of course, not blade in this case), others choose on a case by case basis - connecting background with knife using a certain color or something. While admiring #3 I became aware of wondering how it would have worked with a darker background.

In #1 I can certainly understand your frustration. I love the placement and arrangement of everything - very nicely done. The bounced light off the ceiling worked well and I'm sure you didn't just randomly aim your strobes upward to get such good coverage. However, in this case I wondered if the lighting turned out to be a bit flat (top blade, bottom blade, handles and fabric seem like they could pop more). How to get that done would be a challenge in using another light set low and bounced off reflector boards or mirrors and such. I'm not saying I could do better - just an observation and possibly a baseless one at that.

#1 gives me a chance to toot the Tilt/Shift lens horn a little. The background lines can be rendered straight up and down without changing perspectve of the blades. Sometimes (if I'm not using a T/S lens) if the background lines aren't too distorted I'll correct them with the crop tool, perspective box checked. But there is a limit to how successful that can be - best for minor adjustments. I like the lens correction tool - filter menu - distort - lens correction but it also has it's limits even though it's more forgiving that the first method I mentioned.

I took the liberty of applying each method to a copy of #1 just to see what would happen:

Crop/Perspective Tool


Lens Correction Tool


The Lens Correction Tool created less distortion in this example, by far.


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Old 03-31-2008, 09:52 AM
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Andrew McLurkin Andrew McLurkin is offline
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Nice images. I'm glad that I don't make swords just because I wouldn't want to try and shot them. I like how crisp and defined the folder is; nice defined detail and good depth fo field. A real beauty!


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Old 04-01-2008, 09:32 AM
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SharpByCoop SharpByCoop is offline
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Hi guys,

Hi Rich, thanks.

Yes, the purple on the sheaths is to balance out the purple handles when sheathed. They are VERY elegant. I agree about Stan. He doesn't do anything halfway good.

Hi Buddy,

Shooting a dark handle (or blade) with a light background is always a challenge. In this case I loved how the light blue and gold were complimentary. I had to use the shadow highlight/tool selectively to make the wood look as natural as the eye sees it. I also used a touch of polarizer.

Would it look better with a deeper background? We'll never know, because Jerry took it away from him. Would have been a nice example to work with. I'm not unhappy with the choice, and, yes, I have redone good shots and made them look EVEN better.

VERY nice work on the sword shots. Ya know, I did play with the lens correction tool on the image, but there was very little room, once done, to crop and I chose not to clone the bottom area. YOU did a bit of cloning and made it look easy. Nice.

Yes here is an area that T/S lens would have been worth it's value. Nice to have that tool in the shed.

Like all things digitally enhanced, it begs the question: How much is correct and at what point do we go too far. Is my uncorrected version incorrect or is it substandard or is it precise? How does the real eye view these things? Do we want the natural look or do we want it enhanced? I let it go more out of consideration of crop size, than perspective.

I don't have the answers, and I'm not expecting anyone to. It's always a balance, isn't it?

Thanks. Great stuff. I learned again.

Coop


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Old 04-01-2008, 03:00 PM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Fun discussion, Coop. Thanks for 'hosting' this one with your great shots. I also like how the polarizer worked its magic in the folder shot (and the shadow/highlight tool - best invention since indoor toilets!). The image of that folder is just gripping. I really like it.

I'm sure most, probably all, people wouldn't give two hooters about the perspective issue in the sword(s) shot. When time is money, it probably doesn't pay to fool with stuff like that.

Anyway, this picture taking stuff sure is fun!

PS: On the subject of 'going too far' - I've struggled with that all my life. "The perfect is the enemy of the good." per Voltaire. Knowing when good enough is good enough is a valuable skill. Wish I knew where I could buy some of that!


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  #7  
Old 04-02-2008, 05:37 AM
delander delander is offline
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Coop,

The old saying "where there's a will, there's a way" sure applies here.

Your creativity never fails to astound me - from one who is VERY linear !!
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