Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I’ve moved – redux

Update: How ironic that Posterous decided to close down. I think the writing was on the wall when they were acquired by Twitter. Ho hum.

Anyway, Snaptophobia has moved again. Now, it's on a proper Wordpress site, on a server where I generally know what's going on.

I mentioned it before, and I am mentioning it again. All my blogging activities take place at the new new place. Apart from this update, the blinds are down, the shutters are up and the furniture covered in dust sheets.

See you in the other place. Try not to disturb the cobwebs and dust too much if you visit here again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Photographing the smallest things

Another quick link.

Back in the 1990s, in the pre-digital dawn, you had to feed reels of light-sensitive material into your cameras. Very often, you would be lucky to get 36 frames from a reel, which then had to be processed and developed. You’d end up with prints in a little wallet, smelling faintly of chemicals.

Happy days.

Anyway, a handful of shots taken using an Olympus OM10 and a prime wide angle lens, Ilford 400 Delta black and white negative film, some patience and Boots the Chemist. Proper old skool.

Istrane – pronounced “eye strain” – was a Z scale model railway, a scale of 1:220, and to date the smallest scale models I’ve had the privilege to photograph. Images taken at the Chatham & District MRC’s exhibition held in Anchor Wharf, Chatham Historic Dockyard, probably before the doors opened to the public. The models are based on proprietary mechanisms and chassis, with scratchbuilt upperworks to represent the LNER of the 1930s. I can’t really begin to explain quite how small these models actually are.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Recent Posts elsewhere

While my main bloggage focus is now over at my Posterous account, I shall link to posts over there when I remember.

Here’s a couple to start with. How to photograph your models, part one and part two. Both articles were originally published in the ScaleSeven Group Newsletter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Has it gone quiet?

It does appear to have gone quiet here, doesn’t it? That’s because I’m directing my blogging focus to a new Posterous account instead.

Why? Because it’s easier to use. If I find something blogworthy on the internet I can blog it right there and then. If I feel in the mood to vent, I can do it via an email to my account, and it’s there. Working with Blogger, even with ScribeFire, is just so much effort these days.

So, will this blog die? I don’t know. It was originally an experiment, tied to Softpress Freeway. Now it’s on its own, and I’ve transferred the useful content over to Posterous anyway. I’ll leave the final decision for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LNER K-2 Class 2-6-0 No 1742

There are regular open meetings of the ScaleSeven Group around the country. This past weekend saw the Thames Valley Group host a meeting in the delightfully-named Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire.

I've posted this image to illustrate two of the problems you can face photographing models in a public environment. The first is the lack of control over the backgrounds, despite this model being posed on a test track with a nice tall white backdrop. The second is the variable lighting conditions.

The hall is a light and airy venue, with tall windows high in the walls. The day was sunny and clear, yet we also had the hall’s fluorescent lighting on. As you can see, on a slightly shiny model, the reflections from the surroundings can be a little distracting.

I tried to counter the light spilling from the bright window above and behind me to the right by using a board as a block, and moving my own body around to act as a baffle. Under some circumstances, I’ve even used several bystanders to act as a shield!

Still, it’s all good fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Is it really a year?

A “studio” shot from the 2010 Ally Pally show. Shot under the hall lighting, with a little reflectivity from a sheet of A4 paper. The technical stuff is much as previously noted: Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, set at 20mm, aperture at ƒ/22, and exposure worked out by the camera.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tilt-shift reprise

You may recall some time back, I posted about the tilt-shift fad sweeping the online photographic world. This is where a photograph (and increasingly video – no, really) of a real place is manipulated to make it look like a photo of a miniature.

Well, I’ve been fiddling about in Photoshop:

These images were taken last summer, with this experiment in mind, at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road, Bucks. There’s a distinct knack to getting the blurred areas looking right, and rather too much time spent with layer masks and soft-edged brushes. Working out the detailed areas where the depth of field ought to be sharpest is fun, too.

Will I do it again? Not really. It was fun to try, and the effect can be stunning when done properly, but it’s not something I feel will enhance my work. I’m definitely not about to rush out and buy a proper TS lens, either!