Archive for the ‘digital photography’ Category

Toy dinosaur: Brachiosaurus

January 18, 2021

The following toy dinosaur was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. Raised letters on the belly of the toy say it’s a Brachiosaurus. The toy is ~4.8 cm tall.

17 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy Brachiosaurus

The Backstory

Regular readers of my photoblog know odonate exuviae is one of my favorite subjects for macro photography. Each specimen must be photographed from several viewpoints including dorsal, ventral, and lateral views that illustrate field marks used for identification.

This makes it impractical to “pin” each specimen the way many photographers do (see Related Resources, below), thereby eliminating “table-top” macro photography rigs where the camera, subject, external flashes, and white background are arranged in a line along a horizontal plane such as a sturdy desk or table.

My solution, albeit ever-evolving, is to go vertical. Small clear plastic trays are used to stage subjects between the camera rig and the white background. One of the bigger challenges of a set-up like this is to devise a way to increase the distance between the white background and the tray where the subject is staged so that fine details like legs and eyes aren’t “blown out” by the strong background light.

Long story short (too late?), I have been experimenting with a new vertical rig that enables the stage and background to be separated by 15″ to 20″ without the need to stand on a step ladder in order to see the camera. I plan to post “behind the scenes” photos of the new rig after I switch subjects from small toys to odonate exuviae, that is, assuming the set-up works as well as I hope.

Tech Tips

The photo featured in this blog post was taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, Fujinon XF80mm macro lens, and an array of external lights.

The toy dinosaur is nearly as large as the small plastic tray used to stage the subject, resulting in a photograph that was poorly composed. Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to expand the photo frame and reposition the subject — a relatively easy task given the “clean” pure white background.

Related Resources

Two excellent videos by Allan Walls Photography…

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Dino the Dinosaur, revisited

January 15, 2021

There’s only one cartoon character named “Dino the Dinosaur” but there are two Dinos in my collection of toy dinosaurs! This one is Dino the hipster roller-blader.

15 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy “Dino the Dinosaur”

Tech Tips

The preceding photograph was taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens. The toy is ~6.0+ cm tall.

I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the face of the subject. Most of the subject is acceptably in focus at an aperture of f/16.

One external flash unit was used to create the white background and another to light the subject. The exposure was increased by 0.1 stop during post-processing in order to attain a pure white background. A Sunpak LED-160 — a continuous light source — was used to assist in focusing on the subject in low light.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Dino the Dinosaur

January 13, 2021

Of course no photo gallery of toy dinosaurs would be complete without a guest appearance by the one, the only “Dino the Dinosaur!”

13 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy “Dino the Dinosaur”

Tech Tips

The preceding photograph was taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens. The toy is ~5.3+ cm wide.

I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the face of the subject. Most of the subject is acceptably in focus at an aperture of f/16.

One external flash unit was used to create the white background and another to light the subject. The exposure was increased by 0.2 stop during post-processing in order to attain a pure white background.

What’s up with all the pictures of toys?

I’ve been experimenting with yet another reconfiguration of my macro photo “studio,” with the goal of improving the lighting for photographing subjects against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. I might have had an epiphany today. More later after further experimentation.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy dinosaur

January 11, 2021

A toy dinosaur — probably a Tyrannosaus rex — was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is ~4.7 cm long from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail.

11 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy dinosaur

Tech Tips

The full frame photograph (that is, uncropped) shown above was taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens.

I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the right eye of the subject. Most of the subject is acceptably in focus at an aperture of f/16.

One external flash unit was used to create the white background and another to light the subject. The exposure was increased by 0.3 stop during post-processing in order to attain a pure white background.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy dinosaur: focus-stacked composite image

January 8, 2021

The following toy dinosaur was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is 2.96 cm long.

11 photographs were taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens. A single focus point was moved to 11 places on the toy.

The photos were edited using Apple Aperture, exported as TIFF files, then loaded into Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 in order to create the focus stack.

07 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy dinosaur

It’s been a while since I created a focus-stacked composite image. All I can say is it’s a good thing I keep good notes related to the experimentation that I do in my “photo studio,” because I had forgotten many of the steps in the workflow!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it? It’s a toy Monoclonius.

January 6, 2021

Congratulations to Sherry Felix, a regular reader of my blog who seems to have correctly identified my toy dinosaur: It’s a Monoclonius. Good work, Sherry!

20 DEC 2020 | BoG Photo Studio | toy Monoclonius

Tech Tips

The toy Monoclonius was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is 2.42 cm long.

The full frame photograph (that is, uncropped) shown above was taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens.

I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the right eye of the subject. Notice the entire subject isn’t in tack sharp focus despite using an aperture of f/16, but hey, at least the eye is in focus!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

January 4, 2021

OK, here we go again — it’s time for another toy dinosaur related episode of “What is it?”

We know it’s a toy dinosaur (and this time I’m fairly sure it is really a dinosaur). Question is, what kind of dinosaur? When I was a young boy, my collection of toy dinosaurs included at least one Triceratops but I can’t recall any toy dinos with only one horn.

Good luck!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

To 2021 and beyond!

January 1, 2021

Is there someone who can lead us from troubled times to a brighter future? Of course, he was right there all along. His name is Lightyear, Buzz Lightyear.

Buzz Lightyear: “To 2021 and beyond!”

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Best Photos of 2020

December 30, 2020

The following gallery shows my “Best Photos of 2020.” 16 photos are presented in chronological order beginning in January 2020 and ending in September 2020.

29 JAN 2020 | Richmond, VA | Tramea sp. | exuvia (face-head-dorsal)

31 JAN 2020 | Richmond, VA | Tramea sp. | exuvia (dorsallateral)

24 FEB 2020 | Aquia Creek | dragonfly exuvia (lateral)

13 MAR 2020 | Northern VA | Anisoptera | exuvia (face-head-dorsal)

26 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Splendid Clubtail (female)

27 MAY 2017Riverbend Park | cicada exuvia (face-head-dorsal)

08 JUN 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Cobra Clubtail (female)

10 JUN 2019 | Polk County, WI | H. adelphus exuvia (dorsal)

13 JUN 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Gray Petaltail (male)

13 JUN 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Gray Petaltail (male)

25 JUN 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Dragonhunter (male)

18 AUG 2020 | 12:02:18 PM | JMAWR | Swift Setwing (male)

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

New Life List additions in 2020

December 28, 2020

The anticipation of the hunt and the thrill of discovery — the adrenalin rush from finding the target species is ever more elusive as one gains experience and expertise. Accordingly, the number of additions to my Life List is fewer year after year.

Both species were discovered on the same day when Mike Powell and I were exploring a new location for hunting odonates in Northern Virginia. In fact, both dragonflies were found relatively close to each, roosting in waist-high vegetation.

Umber Shadowdragon (Neurocordulia obsoleta) [observed only]

Mike discovered this one. Mike called to me and I worked my way to his location as quickly as I could, braving stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and thorny vegetation. I got there in time to see the dragonfly from the side. Regrettably, it flew away before I could shoot some photos. See Mike’s photo of this uncommon species in a post he entitled “Umber Shadowdragon.”

Splendid Clubtail (Gomphurus lineatifrons)

It’s good to be wrong! What? Initially I misidentified this individual as a Cobra Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphurus vastus). Sincere thanks to Rick Cheicante and Mike Boatwright for setting the record straight!

26 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Splendid Clubtail (female)

26 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Splendid Clubtail (female)

Related Resource: Splendid Clubtail (Gomphurus lineatifrons).

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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