macro glare

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by dbahn, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. dbahn

    dbahn TPF Noob!

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    First time poster with a frustrating problem.

    I need to photograph decals on old wooden propellers. Most of them are about 3 or 4 inches and are covered by and adjacent to regular wood varnish. With rare exceptions, the surfaces on which they are mounted are curved, not flat.

    I can't seem to get a close up without high amounts of glare. I've tried digital cameras using macro with and without flash, I've tried using photo flood lights with and without polarizing filters, and I've tried natural light and a tripod in cloudy conditions. My most recent frustration was with a new Vivitar 5000 ring flash (using a 50 mm Minolta macro lens on an old XD11 body). All of the photos still have annonying glare somewhere.

    Is there a trick of some kind that I'm missing? I've seen other photos of decals like the ones I'm trying to photograph and they don't have the same problem.

    Thanks for any help.

    Dave
    (photos can be seen at www.woodenpropeller.com )

    Edit: Sorry, the URL contained the comma. This one goes right to the decal page, http://www.woodenpropeller.com/Decals.html
     
  2. Galaxy_Stranger

    Galaxy_Stranger TPF Noob!

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    Are these planes outside or in an air museum? The glare has to be comming from somewhere, meaning from a specific angle. Can you see the glare before you take the shot?

    Can you post examples?
     
  3. dbahn

    dbahn TPF Noob!

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    They are inside my house (I collect the props as a hobby). I can see the glare to some extent through the lens, and I've tried to move the subject and the camera around to reduce it, but it always seems to be coming from somewhere that I can't control, which is why I went to the ring flash. With the ring flash, the glare is most noticeable centrally, whereas with indirect lighting of various kinds it tends to be near the edges.

    I guess the closest I've come is with exterior, cloudy day diffuse light, but even then there is some degree of glare, and it's a time consuming process to move the propellers out of the house, set up a tripond and fiddle with the exposure for each one.

    Is there a way to use a polarizing filter and the ring flash, or is there a benefit to increasing the distance from the lens to the subject? I'm obviously not an experienced photographer, and using a roll of film to try each option is costly and time consuming.
     
  4. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    Your best bet would be to locate every stray light source and block it with opaque material. Then you can control the lighting on the props. It probably will be just as time-consuming as it sounds. :wink:

    A good softbox in addition to blocking all other light sources should help. One inexpensive way to achieve this effect is to use a white sheet as a backdrop, and have it fold over the top of your shooting area. This will diffuse the light from unwanted places. You may have to use 2 or 3 thicknesses in some areas if you have strong unwanted light.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Galaxy_Stranger

    Galaxy_Stranger TPF Noob!

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    Duh...didn't see the link at the bottom.

    Ok, you need to be able to move the light source around. Find a way to separate the flash from the camera. Or you can use flash heads. I'd use 200 watts or more, (but that's just 'cause I've got 'em!).

    Smaller light sources give you flatter images. Larger ones tend to get you better looking, warmer fotos. I realize you're probably not into investing heaping great wads of money on this, heheh. The important thing is to be able to move your light around.

    You're obviously getting the reflection from the finish of the propeller. That's gonna be an issue no matter what because the propellers twist. But you shouldn't have a problem getting just the decals.

    I wish I lived closer. I'd love to shoot those.
     

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