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Post 29 Oct 2008, 15:00 • #1 
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Joined: 02/21/08
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Location: US-MN
I've seen this question come up before, and in the current Orvis thread Cofisher was talking about building a set for reel photos this winter, so I thought I'd share my set-up that I have had pretty good luck with.

As is the case with many things, there is more than one way to get the desired results, this is just what works for me.

I picked up several black boards with foam core approx 20 x 30 inches and about 1/16th inch thick from a craft store (they are usually only a couple bucks each). I score one from the back side in half so that I can fold it and have a display area approx 20 inches wide and 15 inches deep. I then set up a flat work area (a kids card table on top of a cat toy) next to a window with good light.

I use the folding black board to form somewhat of a "cave" that the reel sits in and use a small box (to adjust the angle of the "V" to get the desired light. It's imparative to use a tripod, and when I am shooting something that I really want to be crisp I also use the timer on the camera in addition to the tripod. I know a few of you that take GREAT photos with flash, but I never like to use flash and I am always in close and personal using a macro setting from not more than a oot away.

In addition to having the reel set in the "V cave", I always hold a black board just in front and off to the side of the lens of my camera to cut down on reflection from what ever shirt I have on or in the case of where I take most of my shots the window shutters. It doesn't show in the photos below, but I also choke out additional light with a black board in front of the window to get the desired effect.

I used this "fancy set" Imageto take the raw photos that ended up being part of a print of early Bogdan reels that Stan Bogdan was kind enough to sign a limited edition of. It was pretty neat when the gallery that printed it thought I'd had the photos taken in a studio ... I sent the guy a couple photos of my set-up. ... cat toy and all, and it cracked him up.

I think Ron and several others on the forum that take alot of great photos can attest to the fact that trial and error and making minor adjustments to your lighting and camera angle can make a HUGE diference in the results. The print that I spoke of used a front, back, and innards shot of 5 different reels, so 15 total photos, and I know I took well over 500 shots to get the "15" I was happy with.

Enough rambling ... and I'd be curious to see what set-ups other people are using.

Mark B

The "Baker Set" with a Bogdan 200 ready for a drag plate photo (Note though not shown below I choke out light on the open side of the "V" closest to the window):

Image

Image

The resulting photo:
Image

And the front and innards shots of the same reel that were used in the print:

Image

Image


EDIT: 10/30 ... I should have mentioned, but I do the same basic set-up with white boards for certain reels that don't photo well against black. When doing the shots on a white board it's very important to use white props (i.e - the black and blue box in the photos above holding the "V: would be a no no ...

Also, the reason I use a "V" shape set is so there is no seam line that shows as may be the case if the boards were at a 90 degree angle ... the "cave" softens the background.

Here is a reel that needed a white board vs black:
Image


Last edited by turtledoc on 30 Oct 2008, 01:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 29 Oct 2008, 15:37 • #2 
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Joined: 06/08/07
Posts: 2512
Location: Superior, Colorado
Thanks Mark, I'm glad I inspired you to post this. You should pin this. I love great pictures of reels but don't frequently take them. One question, I've got all the stuff I need to make a setup like yours. Do you have a preference on cat toys? Thanks again.


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Post 29 Oct 2008, 16:37 • #3 
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Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 6722
Location: Holly Springs, NC
I agree with Howard, so I pinned it! Great post. I like your black foam core technique for cutting out unwanted light. I assume you put the camera on the tripod and let it use as long an exposure as necessary?

This fall, the guest room will be converted into a den/fly tying room/computer room/photo studio (the guests just left!). My wife would also use the photo studio, so I have hopes for getting the project done before hell freezes!

It would be great if Ron could post about his setup too!

Tom


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 00:46 • #4 
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Joined: 02/21/08
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Location: US-MN
A cat toy the correct height to be level with the window sill works best ... Image

Oh, and yes camera on tripod with flash forced off in macro setting, and using the timer if I really want things crisp. You'd be surprised how much movement you an get even on a tripod if you don't use the timer. I couldn't take a photo of the camera on the tripod since at the time I only had one camera. I'm pretty sure Ron had told me about using a timer ... not certain though.

I agree it would be great to see the set-ups people use ... there are a lot of great photos that show up and it would be neat to see how they were taken.

Mark B


EDIT ALSO ABOVE ... I should have mentioned, but I do the same basic set-up with white boards for certain reels that don't photo well against black. When doing the shots on a white board it's very important to use white props (i.e - the black and blue box in the photos above holding the "V: would be a no no ...

Also, the reason I use a "V" shape set is so there is no seam line that shows as may be the case if the boards were at a 90 degree angle ... the "cave" softens the background.


Last edited by turtledoc on 30 Oct 2008, 01:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 30 Oct 2008, 00:56 • #5 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 16310
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Here's my photo notes that I posted on Clark's board a couple of years ago

I cut this over from another thread (where I was selling some reels), and I was asked to share some of the details of my reel photos.
I use an 18% gray card for the background: it helps the camera grab the right exposure and can always be used by the viewer as an exposure and true color reference (i.e. hold one up to your computer screen, using your photo software adjust the brightness, contrast and color balance until it matches, then you know exactly how the subject really looks).

Need a macro mode on your camera - the "tulip" icon (or better a good macro lens w/ your SLR)

Tripod - manditory, remote shutter release or timer if you can.

Flash diffuser - some macro lenses come with Flash diffusers that snap onto the lens in front of the Flash. Otherwise, cut a milk jug in half (split it right through the handle and around) and hold it over the Flash - works just great. And don't worry, every photography professional has a pair of these.

You want to shoot with a high f number (stopped down) - "A" icon or aperture-priority mode on auto exposure.

You don't have to zoom in too tight (but you do need good focus and good depth of field). Since your image size is 1000 to 3000 pixels wide, and you only need 400 to 600 pixels wide to post, you will be cropping the image and sizing it down, anyway.

May need a little exposure compensation on the image before you crop it. If you have a "gamma" adjustment on your software, this works better than a brightness adjustment (our eyes see light differences in gamma - not linear).

I'm generally working on a stool or table top, with the tripod on the floor. I will minimize the down angle of the camera to where my view of the photo gray card is just a bit larger than the subject.
this is before crop (although this photo has been sized down to 500 pixels wide)
Image
Image

Image

Image

Image

Of course, for the disassembled shots, the tripod is tall and the view is steeply downward. Flash reflection off the spool or back plate is always a problem, and it takes several trial and error shots making small rotations on the spool and frame.
Image
See?
Image

For real close-ups, like makers marks, I use a copy stand and photofloods (halogen with an 80A filter plus color balance).
As a metallurgist, macrophotography is part of my work and I've been doing this for a long time.
Image

Image


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 01:00 • #6 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
the nice thing about using a flash is getting those little reflection stars which add to the whole jewelry aspect - you know, shotguns and fly reels are jewelry for men.
Image

Image


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 02:02 • #7 
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Joined: 02/21/08
Posts: 486
Location: US-MN

Ron - Your shots are always GREAT and knowing that you use flash to me makes them more impressive ... I have not been able to get good results with flash and it is not from a lack of trying, mine just don't turn out like yours. The camera I use is my little Pentax W30 so the flash is not a mounted hot shoe and maybe that is the problem. There isn't a good way on that type of camera to get a even spread of the flash? Are you using a digital SLR?

Mark B



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Post 30 Oct 2008, 02:25 • #8 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
I'm using an old Olympus C2500L with a macro attachment. It has a flash diffuser that mounts on the front of the macro lens. I'll also use a milk jug half behind the flash diffuser - up closer to the pop-up flash if I need to widen the light even more.

I hunted one of these down because it is such a GREAT macro set-up, even with just 2.5 Mp - we used to use these in my office.
Now at work we have have Olympus E330 with macro lens, ring flash and modeling lamps, but I still like the C2500L macro setup best of all.
This was one of the first professional digital cameras, and cost about $2000 with the macro setup when new in 2000.
I put mine together for $200 from eBay and catalog close-outs not long ago.


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 02:33 • #9 
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Location: US-MN
Thanks for the info Ron, if possible, could you post a photo of the camera with the diffuser sometime to get a better visual of what you are dealing with.

Mark B


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 02:38 • #10 
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Joined: 08/10/05
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
will do ...

set-up
Image
flash diffuser
Image
result
Image
parking with my hair on fire
Image
if I only could ...
Image


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 06:04 • #11 
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Joined: 02/21/08
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Location: US-MN
Thanks Ron ... a case of a picture being worth a 1000 words ... after seeing the photos of the set-up your prior description makes sense to me now, but I wasn't following what you meant until I could see it ... I'll have to keep an eye out one of those ... my prior camera was a C2040Z and I loved it with the 1.8f lens

Mark B


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 06:14 • #12 
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Joined: 08/10/05
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
You may want to check, the macro lens and flash diffuser may fit right onto your old camera
It did require a step-up ring to fit onto the C2500L

Image
this was shot with a 1' working distance, and cropped out to actual image resolution.
The camera in macro mode with the macro lens will focus at about a 2" working distance, where the full width of the field is about 0.8 inch.

here you go, it's the Olympus B-macro http://www.amazon.com/Oly ... tal-Cameras/dp/B00004Z81E

I'll trade my Varden for a '56 1900 CSS GTS6 Zagato
Image


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 11:15 • #13 
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Joined: 06/08/07
Posts: 2512
Location: Superior, Colorado
Thanks to both of you for your expertise. It's a shame when beautiful reels (or anything for that matter) can't be shown off to their best advantage. We have many talented photographers here, but I'm sure there are more than a few who will appreciate the primer.


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Post 30 Oct 2008, 22:14 • #14 
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Joined: 07/17/06
Posts: 5576
Location: South Carolina
Great setups fellows and excellent to have them push pinned here for future reference.

I'm with cofisher ... this looks like a worthy winter project for me too.


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Post 01 Nov 2008, 04:35 • #15 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Image




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Post 02 Nov 2008, 03:34 • #16 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/12/08
Posts: 353
Location: US-TX
Will technology alow a person with the older non digital SLR cameras with quality lenses take pics and with the use of a scanner download a pic to didgital quality?

Yall go way out there on reel pics. Very nice indeed. I do enjoy looking at the pics just like I did as a kid with the Sears catalog before Christmas.

Ray ...


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Post 02 Nov 2008, 04:47 • #17 
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
Ray,

Yes. Most film processing shops offer the option to scan your film negatives after they are developed and they will give you the files on a CD. The cost is cheaper than an extra set of prints. Those files can be manipulated with photo editing software like PhotoShop Elements, Picassa, or IrfanView to give you images you can use on the web.

I've yet to meet an affordable digital camera that has picture taking ability of my film Nikons or Sinar. But most digitals are very convenient ...

Tom


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Post 11 Jan 2009, 19:41 • #18 
Master Guide
Joined: 12/11/07
Posts: 563
Location: Driftless Area & Great Lakes Tribs
Great information guys thanks for sharing! I'm always so impressed by the photos I see you guys post!

Bulldog, maybe I'm just dense but I am really having a hard time visualizing how eaxactly you are using this 1/2 milk carton diffuser - would you have a photo of of how you are using it?


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Post 06 Feb 2009, 05:35 • #19 
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Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
BH, sorry for the late reply.
I'm not using a milk carton here - instead, my macro lens has the white plastic diffuser that you see attached to the top of the lens.
Although occasionally, when I need to make the light source even wider, I will hold the milk carton half above the lens in place of the factory light diffuser.


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Post 22 Mar 2009, 16:56 • #20 
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Joined: 03/21/09
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Old fly reels and excellent photo tips in one forum, this found site is now a new favorite. Thanks once again to all involved!


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Post 06 Apr 2009, 21:53 • #21 
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Location: South Carolina
Last night, along with taking photos of gear, I took a few photographs of my light tent and thought that I would share how easy they are to build. I found a step by step tutorial on Mojorizing's Yuku profile which was a big help.

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I ended up gluing the the PVC pipe frame together for ease of setup and store it under our bed.

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This plastic bin holds the legs, four lamps, king size white sheet, four 100 watt CFL light bulbs in the natural white color, and a hanger to hold the paper in place.

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Light on top and both sides with a fourth light that I can place wherever more light is needed.

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These lamps cost about $8 a piece at your local hardware store. Bulbs are $8 for a two pack.

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I like that you can clip them wherever and the heat from the bulb won't burn the sheet since they are CFL bulbs.

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Use the cheapest white sheet you can find. No reason for 2000 thread count here.

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All set up and ready to start popping shots!

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The results. Now ... there is still much for me to learn on the effective use of the light tent but I'm having a great time and it certainly takes a better photo than me using my leather ottoman and reading lamp as a studio. HA ...


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Post 12 May 2009, 16:16 • #22 
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Joined: 05/10/07
Posts: 79
Thanks Cameron ... was just here a few days back. Guess it was before this post Image


Great thread ... Barry


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Post 01 Sep 2009, 07:55 • #23 
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Joined: 06/11/05
Posts: 3341
Location: US-TX
you can just pick out a married guy in a crowd can't you:
Quote from Tom:. ... so I have hopes for getting the project done before hell freezes!
(I'm a little late reading this thread)

That was very funny! ... -p-


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Post 31 Mar 2010, 13:14 • #24 
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Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 2429
Location: Seattle, WA
Now I see why my pictures suck. Should have looked at this before my last post w/pics. Great info. thanks


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Post 04 Nov 2011, 20:33 • #25 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 934
Location: Branson, Missouri
Bumped. .. Just for "good informations" sake.
Brian


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