Tuesday, 6 July 2010

lights camera .......static poses

I was ruminating (good word that) on my one man legion, and the relevance etc. of detail regarding figures and the finished paint job, and the role the camera and macro photography play in rudely highlighting both (that's a lot of ands). I thought I would put up a short post detailing the camera I use and the hassles and joys of photographing my lil chaps. No not the sort of chaps that certain chaps wear without trousers, and indeed even without 'Y fronts' at times!

Let me just say right now my photographic knowledge is lower than a snakes cod piece and less so regarding digital camera's...........

The camera I use is a Fujifilm (finepix) S7000, I'm pretty sure that it is around 6 years old ("she who must be restrained" will no doubt have the receipt of purchase somewhere) and has seen some heavy use. I bought it at a boxing day sale for around $800 (au), a bargain at the time! It has a macro feature, which I insisted the new camera must have for obvious reasons and a 19X zoom (6x optical and 3.2x digital) and an 'SLR like' feature (once again insisted upon) which was a god-send for photographing motor-sport events and my fishing trip adventures. It was a pretty smart machine for the time but no doubt it is of mediocre quality nowadays. It has 4 resolution settings 1, 2, 3 and 6 Meg with an additional 12 meg setting which uses an intercombobulation of the perjurba flange sensors found on the 6 Meg setting, this interwhatsing in the end is purely academic as I find the 1Meg setting satisfactory for posting quickies online.

I found this pic and the meta-data states year 2004, it wouldn't be far of one of the first sessions with the fuji fine pickle. It might show today's date now as it has been cut and pasted. Before uploading I trimmed the photo and knocked the resolution down (it was a big file taken on the 6M setting, a jpeg of around 5 MB of file space) and tried to lift the brightness a little with the rudimentary software I have on this computer.

My biggest bug bear is lighting, I just cant seem to get enough to have a reasonable shutter speed (to reduce movement blurring) and jolly up the depth of field (I think that is the right terminology). I have been playing around with lighting quite a bit just lately, using desk lamps and a portable outdoor lighting system (pass the sun glasses please). One of the desk lamps uses a fluorescent tube whilst the other has a array of leds (or back in the day when I was involved in the electronics industry L.E.D.'s), as some of you are no doubt aware different lighting sources can tint the photo, maybe I'm a bit dim (I heard that!) but I always assumed that  light source tinting was a film (fullum for you Kiwi's) issue, not the case digi's suffer also.

I caught theses guy having an assembly, they thought I was out of the house, silly blighters! I managed to obtain a reasonable depth of field with this shot, the lads in the background have missed out and the voltigeur in the foreground was moving too fast for the shutter speed ;-).  It needed another 100mm (plus and minus 50mm) of focus, the focal point was probably around about the fallen grenadier in the second column. Yes I know, the standard is coming, promise.

Getting back to depth of field, it isn't normally an issue if your happy snapping a solitary figure but is a real pain if your wanting some decent shots of your army having a parade as above. In fact if you take a look at my one man legion (hard plastics posts) you can see depth of field blurring on a solitary figure. Part of the miniature is in focus and anything much outside of 10 or so mm either way (towards or away from the camera) has blurred. I'm a bit snakey about this because looking back over the older photo's I had pretty much solved the problem, I'll be jiggered with a thingummy if I can remember how I solved it though, if there are any knowledgeable shutterbugs out there I would be happy to be learnt up some.

That is an example of the beast in question, roundly criticized at the time for being too big (it was smaller than my Olympus 35mm SLR I was using at the time for gawds sake).  I don't know about you guys but I do not like small cameras, I want to be able to grip the thing not have it disappear in the palm of my hand, I feel it makes using it easier.

There you have it, that's a little about my camera and some of the issues I have with photographing the troops. I hope some of you found this interesting and maybe others with a bit more knowledge on the subject might like to add some comments either on the blog or by email. I personally think it is an interesting topic, particularly when you take into account the amount of quality wargames painters there are on the interwebble, and something I would like to learn more about. There is no doubt it is a subject I'll come back to at a later date. Oink oink!


  1. I have trouble taking photos too - especially with the frequent cloudy (sunless) days here in WA State, USA. BTW, I really love those French - what make are they? Are they 28mm? Again, they look great. Dean

  2. g'day dean thanks for the kind words.

    We are having our mandatory 6 weeks of cloudy winter weather at the moment, not much fun for indoor photography, and my feet are freezing.

    The Frenchies are AB 15mm which I have a love/hate relationship with, fantastically detailed, for a collector, but to what end for a gamer gaming in 15mm? ...yet I feel compelled to buy more go figure.

    For a good look at the detail and understanding of my dilemma try here (http://figvfig.wordpress.com/) scroll down until you find the "voltigeurs at last" post. I'll turn the voltigeur gallery back on (most of those pics are still there, I think) ...80% of the site and galleries are being stripped for a rebuild should be finished in about a year ;-)

    oink oink....

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  4. Depth of field is related to aperture. To quote a photography blog I visit:

    "Small f number (e.g. f/2.8) = big aperture = shallow depth of field"

    So if you want a deeper depth of field, you need to use a smaller aperture (i.e. high f-stop). The challenge here is that smaller apertures let less light in so you'll need longer exposure times to compensate and that brings in the risk of fuzzy images caused by camera shake. To solve that typically involved tripods and remote shutter release gizmos. Or you can add lighting.

    The best thing to do is experiment with varying aperture and shutter speeds until you get the results you want.

  5. Thanks Martin

    Aperture... the magic word. Top shelf old boy!

    I knew from my rudimentary knowledge of photography the amount of light was critical to shutter speed (hence camera stability) and I was pretty sure the depth of field, but I could not for the life of me remember how the two where connected. Photography is a tricky subject once you move the camera indoors and up close.

    If anyone would like to see some photography, and dare I say paint, put to good use go and visit Bfk aka Martin's blog if you dont know of it already. Befreiungskriege and a certain WI article has done more to put me straight on Napoleonic Prussians than anything else over the last (cough cough) years.

    thanks again


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