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  #1  
Old 05-16-2008, 12:50 AM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Old photo/New photo comparison

Here's the first old photo from 2/14/05:


A year or so later I tried again on 3/21/06:


This is the most recent photo from 5/14/08:


Looking at this progression helps me think about exactly how the time, energy and effort expended over the past 3+ years played out. If I was a knifemaker I'd probably be doing the same kind of old/new comparisons. Seems like gains could be broken down into the following general areas:

Lighting - shadow control, highlighting and contrasting
Color - understanding and controling white balance
Resolution - optimizing detail and sharpness within the limits of current monitor technology
Composition - creating "a pleasing arrangement", cropping for emphasis, compositing multiple images
Post Processing - gaining familiarity in use of basic, intermediate and advanced photo editing software tools


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Old 05-16-2008, 08:33 AM
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Well, Buddy, please keep in mind that this isn't from a photographer, as a lot or the comments to your posts are sometimes. To me, the handle in the first photo is what I'd call a little washed out. That, plus I'm not crazy about the Craola markings. The blade and bolsters show pretty good though.
In photo two, my eyes are imediantly drawn to the colorful joker character in the cards. I do like the red though, and the knife by the way is fantastic, as I'd expect from J.W.Randell. The blade and bolster show a lot more character, even though the brightness seems differient than in picture 1. This 3rd photo really does it for me! It's sharp, the "earth tone" background works really well with the handle, and although the MOP isn't as colorful and bright as in pic #2, it's probably more like it is in real life. The composition in #3 outshines #'s 1 and 2, and reflect more of how you've been photographing knives for a while. BTW I like the contrast in #2 the most. There, that'll teach you to throw a picture at me )


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Old 05-16-2008, 07:46 PM
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Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Robert - Thanks for your observations. I'd say we are in agreement and I'm glad you can see the progression. Your point about the contrast in #2 hits on one of the main problems in knife photography - capturing bright metal. You can't just take the picture assuming the metal will look just like it does to the naked eye. Depending on the angle of the light, the number and placement of lights, the distance of the light source from the knife and the focal length of the lens, the metal can look anywhere from bright white to very dark grey. So you have to decide ahead of time how you want the metal to look, then set everything up to get the desired results. With #3, trying to apply what I've learned over time, I decided to make the metal relatively brighter compared to #s 1&2 (in 1&2 I was winging it because I didn't yet understand about light and metal beyond the obvious basics). I wanted brighter because I felt it would balance the knife better given the very light colored ivory. Then, having the blade, bolster and handle in balance (as regards brightness or luminence) would allow for a darker (relative to the knife) background which would in turn allow the knife to visually 'pop' off the page, making for a stronger, yet still balanced image. I chose a complex strong background because I like that kind of thing, but challenged myself to not let it overpower the image (in part by having the knife be a bit brighter). I would say that in reality the 'actual' blade brightness in average light is somewhere between what you see in #2 and #3. With color the photographer can reliably and accurately capture it fairly easily, but with reflective metal (esp. as you approach a mirror type finish) the photographer must choose how to represent it. In some cases darker is more appropriate, in others brighter is better. If you look at quality magazine ads you'll quickly see what I mean. It's something that most people don't think about if the photographer has been smart about dealing with metallic reflective surfaces.

More than you wanted to know, I'm sure. To me it's fascinating stuff and I could blabber on about it all day. Best wishes - I know you're dealing with the back issues so I try to send healing vibes your way every now and then.


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Old 05-19-2008, 11:40 AM
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