Archive for the ‘Sunpak LED-160’ 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.

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.

What is it? It’s a toy Dimetrodon.

December 23, 2020

The following photo shows a toy Dimetrodon, but I stand corrected — it’s not a toy dinosaur.

Dimetrodon is often mistaken for a dinosaur or as a contemporary of dinosaurs in popular culture, but it became extinct some 40 million years before the first appearance of dinosaurs. Source Credit: Wikipedia.

Who knew? Not me!

20 DEC 2020 | BoG Photo Studio | toy Dimetrodon

I discovered the identity of the toy be refining my Google search to focus on its most prominent feature: “dinosaur with large dorsal fin.” Again, the toy isn’t a dinosaur but the search string I used was close enough to find the answer to my question (and more).

Tech Tips

The toy Dimetrodon was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is ~1 3/8 inches 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 this time!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

December 21, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?” Well, what is it?

No, really — what is it? It’s a toy dinosaur. Question is, what kind of dinosaur? When I was a young boy, my collection of toy dinosaurs included at least one similar dino but its name is long forgotten. I searched Google until I reached my frustration threshold.

Good luck, and thanks for your help in refreshing my memory!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Living the dream

December 11, 2020

I know a few odonate enthusiasts who photograph birds during the “off-season” — it seems I like photographing toys. Undeniably true. Some toys, like the toy monkey featured in this post, are made of hard plastic that is highly reflective and can be challenging to light using artificial light sources.

08 DEC 2020 |  BoG Photo Studio | toy monkey

A toy monkey was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is ~1 7/8 inches long. “Living the dream” is one of my nicknames for the monkey.

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. The camera was mounted in portrait mode on a sturdy tripod using an “L” bracket mounted on the camera body. I love me some “L” brackets!

I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the body of the subject. Like the toy dinosaur featured in my last blog post, the entire subject wasn’t in tack sharp focus despite using an aperture of f/16. For example, look closely at the monkey’s eyes compared to its body. That’s on me because it’s so easy to move/set the focus point using my Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera. It goes without saying I should have moved the focus point to one of the eyes.

In my defense, the main purpose of this test shoot was to experiment with my set-up for white background macro photography by testing using two flashes to backlight the white background in an effort to eliminate “hotspots” on the background. I also tested eliminating “flaring” around the outline of the subject by adjusting the power ratio of the external flash units used to backlight the background, and by increasing the distance between the subject and pure white background.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy dinosaur

December 9, 2020

A toy dinosaur — possibly an Ankylosaurus — was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is ~1.25 inches long, or ~3.2 cm (~32 mm).

08 DEC 2020 |  BoG Photo Studio | toy dinosaur

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.

The macro lens/extension tube combo was set closer to maximum magnification than the photo of a toy mini-lizard featured in my last blog post.

An array of flash photography gear was used to light the white background and orange subject separately. Notice the face/head of the toy dinosaur is a little “hot.” The exposure was increased by 0.5 stop during post-processing in order to attain a pure white background.

Also notice that focus on the head and tail of the toy dinosaur is a little soft. I prefer using single point focus in most situations. In this case, the focus point was centered over the body of the subject. The little round toy dinosaur has just enough “relief” that the entire subject wasn’t in tack sharp focus despite using an aperture of f/16.

The Backstory

It’s no secret I love toys. True confessions aside, remember the primary purpose of photographing toys like this one is to take test shots that enable me to experiment with gear and techniques in the hope of improving my macro photographs of odonate exuviae.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy mini-lizard

December 7, 2020

A toy mini-lizard was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. The toy is ~1.5 inches long, or ~3.8 cm (~38 mm).

05 DEC 2020 |  BoG Photo Studio | toy mini-lizard

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.

The X-T3 features an APS-C sensor (23.5 mm x 15.6 mm). The sensor measures ~28.2 mm diagonally. Since the subject — oriented diagonally, relative to the rectangular sensor — is smaller on-screen than in real life (~38 mm), we can infer the macro lens/extension tube combo wasn’t set for maximum magnification.

An array of flash photography gear was used to light the white background and green subject separately. The exposure was increased by 0.5 stop during post-processing in order to attain a pure white background.

The Backstory

Don’t be fooled by the lack-o blog posts recently. Rest assured I’ve been busy behind the scenes experimenting with new gear and new techniques.

In particular, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working (with mixed success) to refine my set-up for white background macro photography. Like the rock band U2 song says, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

White background macro photography is about as challenging as it gets. Source Credit: Allan Walls Photography.

Allan is spot-on, as usual. Allan’s latest video (see Related Resource, below) has given me several ideas I need to test.

Related Resource: Mastering White Background Macro Photography, by Allan Walls Photography (50:37).

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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