Sunday, September 28, 2008

getting the shot

Odd how this electronic world of ours has changed so much of our life. I lived for years in isolation as a modeler, not knowing what was happening outside of my workbench. Now with this magnificent window on the rest of the world of modeling available to us all, it behooves us to share all that we've done with each other. I am truly amazed and inspired by what I see accomplished by modelers from around the world. Photographing our models has become an art in itself and there exists true artists at the craft. I myself am totally ignorant of such things as composition and lighting and photography itself is as alien to me as fine wine (I prefer a cold beer). But I manage with my ancient Sony along with a 60W incandescent bulb to convey the images of my modeling in what I think are accurate renditions of the work. The digital thing certainly helps since one can take literally hundreds of photos and we are bound to get at least a few that are acceptable. Above is an example (as are most here) of a stroke of luck with the camera. The small cast metal racer with a few minor alterations from the Innovative Designs kit, caught the light just right and I couldn't have done better had I planned it. The workshop interior here is one of my first attempts at a diorama. You may have noticed many of the photos on these pages taken both in front of and inside of the garage that I have called "Junior's" (I am Junior by the way). It was the purpose of the diorama to take photos of my models in a scale environment as I believe it adds credibility to them as I have mentioned before.

The photo above shows just how well used and abused Junior's Garage gets with the bent metal roof. It also gives a good impression of this International R230 heavy haul tractor offered by Sheepscot Scale in a solid resin kit. The chassis is scratch built and I have added many extras including the knobby off road tires. Taking photos outside offers someone like me the opportunity for the best kind of lighting since as I stated before, I have no knowledge of this sort of thing. This was taken in full midday sun.

It's been said that taking photos in direct sunlight isn't particularly the best method of displaying a model. The shot to the left above is one taken just as the sun is dipping down over the horizon and I really like the light here on this pattern shop I built out of Manila cardstock. The photo above right is the opposite of the previous in that the sun is just starting it's day. The shadows presented by this low sun whether starting or ending the day present a good way to distract the eye slightly to the fact that these are models and I believe give a bit more realism to the photo.

This late afternoon photo of the water side of my boathouse allows the details to pop out pretty well. The water gives a nice reflection here. Staying with the boathouse for a moment, I gave a shot of the interior a try and came up with this shadow box type effect you see below. This was taken indoors and I now wish I had placed a better backdrop on the other side of the window.

Having an inexpensive camera does have quite a few limitations. I get a terrible field of focus and can really only give an accurate image of what's directly in focus in front of the camera. This is only a problem when trying to portray a large scene and if I'm trying to present just a vehicle is acceptable. I should point out that in addition to not knowing much about photography, my skills with photo manipulation with software like Photoshop are equally devoid. I do however bump the brightness up on some shots to compensate for the problems I face when using the camera settings. I have also learned how to crop an image to eleviate unwanted surroundings. The photo below was done at a distance of about 8 inches under a 60W incadescent bulb as are most of my indoor shots of vehicles. This one of the Jordan Miniatures Model T touring car with family of Preiser figures.

The parting shot here is of a Mack B875 which is from a resin kit of Don Mills Models. The trailer is a beam lowboy kit from Sheepscot Scale and the dozer is the terrific diecast First Gear International TD25. This model was part of a vehicle feature of Model Railroading Magazine before it's demise. The shot was taken in midday sun on a diorama base.

Breifly I'd like to thank all that have visited here for the kind words and encouragement. Presenting this material to everyone and spreading the news of the hobby is much of what it is all about to me. I am often asked how I could possibly part with my models as I sell many of them but I am truly gratified to know that I am promoting the hobby and that my work is ending up on layouts and in collections around the world. So thank you for visiting and I do hope you all are enjoying.

1 comment:

Jaime said...

Very nice work and great narrative. Your photography is equally appreciated.