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Thread: Macro article on blog

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    Macro article on blog

    I posted a long article about shooting tabletop macro this morning along with a review of the EZ Cube. Go to www.everything-foto.blogspot.com

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    aboudd: I LOVE your architectural images and your stories about what it too to get them. First rate! Cheers, KL

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    RE Macro work blog article: Good work! ... and much better than what they were doing.

    Here are a few thoughts and considerations ...

    Hot lights have zero working advantage over strobes ... strobes have modeling lights from 100 watts to 650 watts and can be turned off once the light patterns are established, so no heat is generated. A two mono-light kit with stands and 24" X 24" softboxes can be had for under $200 these days.

    Tip: generally when shooting watches, set the hands to 10:09 ... or on a triple dial set them between the inner dials like at 10:40

    The EZ Cube is okay for quick macro work for lots of smaller items to show on something like EBay, as are the hot-lights ... because they are inexpensive and produce better results than not using them ... and are better than using speed-lights for the casual uninitiated photographer because they can see what's going on. I have a couple of the EZ Boxes ... the one you use and a much larger one. I also sometimes use a cone shaped light tent

    However, it tends to be a one-trick, one shape pony that works for some stuff, and not for others. The light is a bit flat and fails to show rounded shapes like a bubble crystal ... or produces what looks like a dent (like the back of the Altus Glycine watch you showed) ... and obscuring reflections (such as on the back of the Wright Brothers 100 Flyer commemorative).

    Watches are interesting to shoot ... they often need a really large directional light source, and large subtractive flags to look correct and convey the design and details.

    Here's one titled "Time Machine" with H.G. Wells' signature. It's of a rare antique Pink Gold Rolex worth more than everything in my studio, my entire art collection, and both of my cars

    -Marc

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Aboudd, Thanks for the thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    RE Macro work blog article: Good work! ... and much better than what they were doing.

    Here are a few thoughts and considerations ...

    Hot lights have zero working advantage over strobes ... strobes have modeling lights from 100 watts to 650 watts and can be turned off once the light patterns are established, so no heat is generated. A two mono-light kit with stands and 24" X 24" softboxes can be had for under $200 these days.

    Tip: generally when shooting watches, set the hands to 10:09 ... or on a triple dial set them between the inner dials like at 10:40

    The EZ Cube is okay for quick macro work for lots of smaller items to show on something like EBay, as are the hot-lights ... because they are inexpensive and produce better results than not using them ... and are better than using speed-lights for the casual uninitiated photographer because they can see what's going on. I have a couple of the EZ Boxes ... the one you use and a much larger one. I also sometimes use a cone shaped light tent

    However, it tends to be a one-trick, one shape pony that works for some stuff, and not for others. The light is a bit flat and fails to show rounded shapes like a bubble crystal ... or produces what looks like a dent (like the back of the Altus Glycine watch you showed) ... and obscuring reflections (such as on the back of the Wright Brothers 100 Flyer commemorative).

    Watches are interesting to shoot ... they often need a really large directional light source, and large subtractive flags to look correct and convey the design and details.

    Here's one titled "Time Machine" with H.G. Wells' signature. It's of a rare antique Pink Gold Rolex worth more than everything in my studio, my entire art collection, and both of my cars

    -Marc
    Very nice and very useful, Marc! Thanks a bunch and I hope to find more like this from you more often!

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Beautiful work Marc; I have shot a bunch of expensive watches myself for a dealer here; and I always start with a big not-so-soft box. When you say "large subtractive flags", is that what we mean when we use the term 'French flags'—i.e., to block light to cut a reflection or highlight, or do you mean something else? cheers, kl

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    FYI, I did this with my pal Irakly in my studio as an initial test we wanted to do with the Leica S2 and 120 Marco ... it is his watch. I could've done a much better job with the Hasselblad and HTS/1.5 (so I could have used tilt to gain DOF instead of stopping down to the defraction point.

    BTW, IMO, Aboudd did a great job given the smallish fixed angle light sources.

    For the Rolex, the key light was a 5' rectangular Plume Octa Wafer from above, tilted toward the watch. We used small scrims to decrease the intensity on parts of the subject and a larger flag behind it to kill the spill from the background which flared across the crystal obscuring some of the fine dial details.

    Your term "French Flag", as I understand it, and have heard it used on both TV commercial Productions and still shoots, means flagging (blocking) light from flaring the lens as opposed to controlling light on the subject.

    I once shot with a food shooter that heavily employed a "subtractive" method of lighting. He blocked-in a couple of very large soft light sources, and then proceeded to block light with some flags and scrims, all the way down to pieces of black gaffers tape on the front diffuser, and used a few shiny surfaces to create more specular areas ... it was amazing to watch ... never saw anything like it before.

    -Marc

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Marc; thanks sincerely. Film is my background; the industry uses French flags in two ways (and I still do now): one is simple arm-mounted plates of different sizes/shapes to block light from particular sources (so closer to the light sources, and the way your food shooter worked), and the other is between the camera and the same sources, to control lens flare. It is like magic to watch. Cheers, Kit

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    I bet it is, Kit.

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Hey Vivek,

    I worked with a brilliant DOP for about four years; watching do the build-then-subtract thing many times in interiors profoundly changed the way I see. I worked in our national television corporation for ten years; it had a very active 16mm film arm then, with three full-time crews, huge sound stages, and a host of smaller documentary crews. I worked as a "standby propsman", then second assistant director, then first AD, then five years as a director—and in those five years I made 6 x 30' film documentaries (episodes of "A Big Country"), a 16mm documentary starring Arnold Swartzenegger, 47' duration ("The Comeback") and about 290 x 30' or one hour live programs... it was a pressure cooker, and I loved it. The Arnold film was stolen at the FILMEX Festival where it was being shown (FILMEX was an annual 16mm film festival); and a TV network broadcast it four times... we took them to court and won, but the recompense was hardly worth the aggravation.

    I taught myself photography on the film sets and had a lot of help from that same DOP, and ended up doing a lot of candids on set. This is where my love of shooting "available" light came from.

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Kit, if you have any behind the scenes shots you should post them! Not only is it really interesting, it is very educational for those interested in lighting. Maybe post in the Lighting Forum so it doesn't get lost, and provide a link here?

    I'll do the same when I get done with my current table top assignment. I used to take my Leica M to most every commercial shoot.

    My background comes from the other end .... my career was in advertising for 40+ years before retiring 2 years ago. Started as an Art Director, then an Executive AD, then to Creative Director ... the most intense period of my career was as an Executive CD of Young & Rubicam where I supervised up to 150 TV commercial products a year, a huge amount of print ads and collateral material. Some 30 second TV spots were millions of $ and shot in Hollywood ... for one idea I had, the production company had to rent the Sony sound stage in LA, which was the biggest in the world, then build a lake and a sky inside it.

    For the last TV idea I did before retiring, the production company secured the huge motion control cameras that were used to make the movie Titanic. Now that was something to see in action.

    This experience put me in contact with an array of directors and DPs that instilled a love of light and lighting both available and "made available"

    -Marc

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Marc, if only.

    In a rash of mis-directed 'cleansing' I not only got rid of both my Nikon F2A bodies and lenses but all of the negatives of the images I had shot up until then when, just before my 30th birthday, I decided to go to Japan and immerse myself in my martial art study....

    I lived there for four years, and ended up in a Zen monastery. Before I went, I had made a pact with myself that I would try to directly experience my time in Japan, instead of making images about my time there.

    The Arnold film survives; I have it on DVD if you'd like to borrow a copy (and the young just-out-of-film-school DOP I engaged for that project was none other than Andrew Lesnie—he of "Lord of the Rings" and Oscar fame). It was actually the horrendous experiences I had on that project (far more than the stealing of the print and the law suit) that led me in the Japan, and total cleanse of my then life, direction.

    I am very familiar with your background, BTW; I researched you after reading your truly excellent wedding photography with the Sony bodies analysis. And seeing your images was the major force in me getting out of my Nikon setup a year or two ago!

    And your description of your work above, especially in the years before you retired, makes my output look modest indeed. It's an interesting life, to be sure.

    Warm regards, Kit

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Marc, if only.

    In a rash of mis-directed 'cleansing' I not only got rid of both my Nikon F2A bodies and lenses but all of the negatives of the images I had shot up until then when, just before my 30th birthday, I decided to go to Japan and immerse myself in my martial art study....

    I lived there for four years, and ended up in a Zen monastery. Before I went, I had made a pact with myself that I would try to directly experience my time in Japan, instead of making images about my time there.

    The Arnold film survives; I have it on DVD if you'd like to borrow a copy (and the young just-out-of-film-school DOP I engaged for that project was none other than Andrew Lesnie—he of "Lord of the Rings" and Oscar fame). It was actually the horrendous experiences I had on that project (far more than the stealing of the print and the law suit) that led me in the Japan, and total cleanse of my then life, direction.

    I am very familiar with your background, BTW; I researched you after reading your truly excellent wedding photography with the Sony bodies analysis. And seeing your images was the major force in me getting out of my Nikon setup a year or two ago!

    And your description of your work above, especially in the years before you retired, makes my output look modest indeed. It's an interesting life, to be sure.

    Warm regards, Kit
    Odd similar paths Kit. I spent 20+ years intensely involved in the Martial Arts, but modest compared to the true path you took. I now bare the scars and wounds of those days ... the sins of youth visiting themselves on my later years of life. I used to teach Detroit Homicide Detectives and DEA entry teams "real" fighting, and sustained some injuries that now dog my days. However, looking back, it did save their lives on occasion, so probably worth it in retrospect.

    What I accomplished in my advertising years wasn't mine alone ... as you know, a film production takes a village. What many do not know is the amount of team work it also takes just to get an idea to that pre-production stage. Then the production itself is indeed magical ... it's like watching a symphony orchestra that's making a film or a still image.

    To bad you've lost your behind the scenes shots. I have a few that I scanned ... but the ones I really would like to show are in large print form and were used in the lobby of my ad agency ... I will pull them out of the frames and shoot them with a MFD camera and make a little story to share. There's a location shot showing all the semis lining the street in LA where we were shooting ... to this day I marvel at all that goes into just making a 30 second TV commercial.

    When I look back at all the stuff I was simultaneously involved in, I honestly don't know how the hell I did all of it Today I can barely manage my little studio and a few weddings a year.

    Best to you,

    -Marc

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Kit and Marc: Thanks!

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    With all due respect to the fine shot by Fotograz. I shot that series of watches for myself to show a quick solution for macro shooting using a specific technique for posting images of watches for sale. Position of the hands was not a consideration of mine for these shots. Had I been shooting for a client I would have spent hours building a set, polishing the metal surfaces, making sure all dust was gone and more. This whole series was shot in under two hours. As to the hot lights versus strobes, each has its application. Yes, there are modeling lights on my profoto system but I find the hot lights easier for me to read in this situation and I do like, in the case of the small set-up the smaller light point than I would get with a large soft box. We all shoot in our own style for our own vision. There is no one way to shoot anything.
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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Thanks Kit, architectural images are always challenging, I'll be posting more shots and the stories related to them in the future.
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    Re: Macro article on blog

    Quote Originally Posted by aboudd View Post
    With all due respect to the fine shot by Fotograz. I shot that series of watches for myself to show a quick solution for macro shooting using a specific technique for posting images of watches for sale. Position of the hands was not a consideration of mine for these shots. Had I been shooting for a client I would have spent hours building a set, polishing the metal surfaces, making sure all dust was gone and more. This whole series was shot in under two hours. As to the hot lights versus strobes, each has its application. Yes, there are modeling lights on my profoto system but I find the hot lights easier for me to read in this situation and I do like, in the case of the small set-up the smaller light point than I would get with a large soft box. We all shoot in our own style for our own vision. There is no one way to shoot anything.
    Sorry Aboudd, my apologies for any offense as none was intended.

    I thought this was a photography site for open discussion of techniques and sharing of experiences related to the subject at hand.

    My error.

    All the best,

    -Marc

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    Re: Macro article on blog

    And it is, you discussed what you thought and I discussed what I thought. No offense was taken, I wanted to put the photos in their proper context.
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    Photographer profile: Antonio Chagin

    I just posted another photographer profile on www.everything-foto.blogspot.com. You can see a selection of Antonio Chagin's beautiful architectural and landscape images as well as his bio.

    Regards,

    Aboud
    Last edited by aboudd; 16th January 2012 at 11:29.
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