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  #1  
Old 04-12-2009, 02:38 PM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Jambiya photo for comments & discussion

This blade and scabbard by Hanford Miller pose numerous challenges including mirror polished surfaces, large size (18 inches), some fine detail, atypical placement of maker's mark, the need for a little 'makeup' here and there, etc. Thanks in advance for your observations!



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Last edited by Buddy Thomason; 04-14-2009 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:56 PM
Barbara Turner Barbara Turner is offline
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Buddy, that knife picture is done very well. I can just imagine the difficulty with the highly polished reflective surfaces and the overall size of the knife. I know it must of been difficult keeping everything sharp from the tip to the handle. What F stop were you using and did you use a tilt shift lens?

To me it looks like you may have been shooting the knife in a more horizontal position from above and a little in front of the knife.


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Old 04-12-2009, 05:42 PM
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Thanks, Barbara. I did use the tilt/shift lens to help with end to end focus. F stop was 8 at 1/10th sec. I placed a lift under the handle and a small spacer between the blade and the scabbard, which lay flat on the table. Because the blade and scabbard are not highly embellished I felt I could use a figured and textured background (fabric) to provide visual contrast and help the blade/scabbard to stand out. I also chose a background that has in it both red and yellow as secondary colors. Hopefully this creates some subtle unity between the subject and the background. The camera was above and in front. The size of the blade and its propensity to pick up reflections from almost everywhere in the room meant that once I got the lighting angles (4 lights in this case) set so the blade looked good I literally had one single camera position that would work. If I moved the tripod/camera a single inch in any direction, reflections, shadows and all manner of gremlins came into play. Also, my T/S lens is 90mm so I had the tripod at max height and I stood on a small ladder to see through the viewfinder. It was a bit of a flail. This is not my blade so I had limited time to shoot it before it goes on to the new owner. It's this kind of challenge that makes me wish I had more lighting, lens and diffusion options as well as a much larger room to shoot in. I'm glad you like it. If the overall response is positive I think I'll call it good and not try to shoot it over again.


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Old 04-14-2009, 09:55 PM
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Actually, that's a pretty bad picture. It took me a while but I think I improved it in several ways. Any reactions?



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Old 04-14-2009, 11:17 PM
Barbara Turner Barbara Turner is offline
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Buddy,

First I am not sure why other people have not commented on the knife as of yet.

My observations on the second picture. The backround is a little bit brighter and it looks as though you have slightly warmed the colors up. I like the fact that the red/burgundy color looks like it has been darkened slightly, along with a warming of the Ivory handle, but personally, I like the bolster of the knife on the first picture better because the overall contrast gives it a little more punch, plus the color is more accurately represented on the first (pertaining to the silver). The above improvements do look better overall with the exception of the second picture re-touch to the bolster. I like the way you have removed the shadow in the front of the bolster. I think I would like to see that small section of shadow remaining, on the flat part of the knife removed altogether.

I really have a hard time finding any negatives with your work as it is always top notch.


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Old 04-15-2009, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara Turner
I think I would like to see that small section of shadow remaining, on the flat part of the knife removed altogether.
I thought about that too but here's what that looks like. To me it doesn't look right.


This one was shot out side. I love natural daylight but all those reflective surfaces are still a challenge. Still, it's kind of an interesting image.


And here's a nice detail shot.


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Old 04-15-2009, 01:49 AM
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Sorry I haven't been around to comment, I really do like these threads. I'm running a little late here so this will be a quick post.

I think I'm missing some rich colors that are actually there, it's most likely my monitor but the red, copper, and gold colors are a bit subdued on my end. The colors show up much more vibrant in your outdoor shots, the copper has a much richer copper color in those shots whereas in the other shots the copper looks like a blend of copper and gold.

I think the guard needs the shadow or reflection, not having it there makes the guard area look like a painting. In my opinion the outdoor shots are the best, and that outdoor detail shot blows me away.

You're a lucky guy Buddy, having the opportunity to see all these fine works of cutting craftsmanship up close and personal. You did a great job of taming the reflections!

Brad
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:24 PM
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Thanks Brad. Of all the metals, copper is most hard to duplicate or rather translate digitally. I like the outside images better too, but the knifemaker wanted something that clearly showed the important features of the blade and scabbard. Everybody likes the detail shot and so do I. Part of what I think makes that shot work is the adjustable focal plane feature of a tilt/shift lens. You can see that I tilted the plane to maximize front to back depth in focus with less regard for other areas which, as you can see, are out of focus. It's a subtle way to create depth and/or emphasis, in this case drawing the viewer's attention along a line featuring the important detail areas.


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