28 January 2018

A Vastly Improved Depth of Field. . .

 The slightly better of the two latest photographs.

The slightly less good (a wee bit too overexposed and bright) photo.

Monkeying around yet again with the large Sony A100 again just now between finishing a homework session with The Young Master and returning for a bit to the painting table.  I think I have it worked out now with the two test shots above: 50mm lens, tripod, f22, ISO 400, and a shutter speed of between 1/8th and 1/16th of a second plus the 10-second self-timer to prevent camera shake.  

This complex brew of settings seems to produce nice, bright images in which (almost) everything is in sharp focus.  Just have to figure out how to adjust the white balance, and then I think we're there with markedly improved close-up photography here at Stollen Central.  

What I am after is photographs of my painted vignettes, units, and occasional games where everything within the frame is in focus (depth of field. . .  hence the small f-stop setting), something that is beyond the capability of my tiny point and shoot Sony Cybershot.  The photographs accompanying my recent article in the 2018 Wargamer's Annual are not good, and the fault is mine.  Poor Lighting + Incorrect Camera Settings = Less Than Stellar Pictures for Publication.  

So, time to get this sorted out to avoid similar issues the next time I submit an article and photographs somewhere, or just to share here on the GD o S blog.  Now, you can read all about close-up and miniature photography and how to do it in books and online, but there is still a fair amount of experimentation necessary dependent on one's precise equipment and set-up.  As steep as the learning curve seems to be, I am, however, enjoying the journey so far.

Further experimenting will, unfortunately, have to wait until next Friday evening I fear, however, as another busy week is coming, and I'll be lucky to find a spare hour most evenings even to venture down here to the painting table, much less experiment with the camera and light tent.  I know, I know.  Poor me!  Poor, wretched me!  Woe is I, tiny violins, and all of that.

-- Stokes


Norm said...

f22 is very closed down for this kind of shot. I would tend to want the aperture to be more in the f5.6 (f8 at most) range, with spot focus on the figure that you want to be centre stage, which will at least give the benefit of a faster shot (or bring the ISO down - your choice) and improve photo quality.

Moving slightly further back (and then cropping the picture) or bringing the figures into a narrower band will also help.

As for white balance, your colours have a slightly yellow cast, suggesting your WB setting is too warm for the lighting conditions that you are using. As part of your experimentation to get the best settings, playing with a LED light source can bring some interest into that mix.

Paul Robinson said...

Depth of field was one of the criticisms laid against the recent "Wargamers Annual". But since the photographs are all done by amateurs and probably with a smart phone I thought it wasn't too bad. Certainly compared to the recent quality offered by some, more mainstream, magazines.
Quite enjoyed following your progress here.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Thank you, Norm. I've been experimenting with both LED lighting and daylight bulbs with the light tent. These were just quick snaps to try a few things out as I find my sea legs with the big camera. I find that the Sony always seems to give a yellow cast regardless of the lighting situation and camera settings. Still need to work that out to correct everything.

Thanks Paul. My own photographs in the latest Annual came out far too dark and unevenly lighted, which is a big part of the reason I am trying to improve my skills on this end.

Best REgards,


Simon Millar said...

I'm finding this very interesting Stokes. I look forward to more posts on your progress.


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