Tricky Lighting Setup Question....

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by airgunr, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    I posted this in another forum but I thought I might post it here too.

    Here's a problem/setup I'm contemplating on how to approch.

    I want to photograph a antique "Air Cane". (made in the 1850's, shot round balls, more of a novelty....) Anyway, it looks mostly like a cane with the top half a steel cylinder with an inscription running down the length and engraving all around the cylinder. It has a "patina(sp?)" to the steel as well as having a damascus "twist" to the steel. The cylinder part is probably 24 - 28 inches long and the inscription about 12" The diameter is probably about 2 - 2/14 inches a the top and tappers only slightly down to the middle part.

    The problem is getting the inscription and engraving to stand out and be viewable but still see it around the curve of the cylinder. Looking at it normaly you have to rotate it slowly to see each plane or small section of the curve as it's catches the light at the right angle. It's been suggested I try "rollout" photography but that is way beyond my equipment & capabilites.

    Anyway, I'm thinking of trying a ring flash with two regular flashes glancing down either side of the cane and as small an appature as possible on a 60mm macro lense. I'm thinking a black cloth background would be best.

    Should I forget the ring flash and just have a weak fill-in from the top, side, 45 degree angle? Should I try a straight from above shot or slightly angled? Different type or color background?

    TIA for any suggestions. :D
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I've never actually done this, but one thing you can try is using some black board to remove light in key place in the same way that you would use a reflector to add light. If you start lighting from too many angles, you lose definition. By using the right combo of white and black board, you can make the embossing stand out. Replacing a white reflector with a gold one will change the light quality coming from one direction enough that it will help too.
     
  3. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Sounds like fun anyway....do you get to fire it?
     
  4. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    marc,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Sounds interesting and should be within my limited capabilites... :) I'll try out using the boards and see what happens. I was worried about washing it out with the ring flash or some other "accent" lighting. I was pretty sure I needed to get some good contrast between shadow and light on the engraving to make it stand out and be visible.

    mrsid99 ,

    Actually I collect antique pneumatic arms, rifles, pistols, canes, shotguns, etc. (my main hobby). I collect air rifles like Lewis & Clark took with them on their explorations. The earliest one I have is from around 1714- 1730. This cane in particular is interesting because of the inscription. "Capt. R. Palmer, South Mayo Royal Rifles 1856"

    You almost never can tie an antique like these to the original owner. Not only does it have his name but a date, his rank and the military unit he belonged too. Turns out he actually fought in most all of the major battles of the Crimean War including the famous "Charge of the Light Brigade". He obviously survied because it was presented to him in 1856, two years after the battle. I find that kind of stuff facinating.

    And yes, I do get to shoot some of them, this included as it still works. :D
     
  5. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Interesting stuff, I never realized they made a pneumatic shotgun...that must have been huge, particularly the air cylinder or whatever they used for a storage device.
    BTW, I always thought the "Charge of the Light Brigade" was the Edison bill I get each month.
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    That's really, really cool!

    I remember reading that Napolean put out an edict that any enemy soldier caught with a pneumatic rifle would be put to death. Some of them were up to .50 caliber and had round speeds of 1000 fps. They had these canisters that went on the end of the stock. They weren't much bigger than a softball if I remember right. Took like 1000 pumps to get them full, but they would do several shots before it needed repumping, and you could carry several canisters.

    Napolean feared them because they were quiet, had no smoke, and were very fast to reload (until the canister ran out).
     
  7. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    They are pretty interesting. The complexity of them is amazing considering the technical capabilities needed to hold those kinds of air pressures back then. Usuall around 800 - 1000 pounds per square inch. It takes forever to pump up one of these guns. Depending on the size of the air reservoir and type it could take 1000 to 1500 pumps but then you'd get anywhere from 8 - 15 or so shots, again depending on the size of the reservoir and bore of the barrel.

    The reservoirs came in Butt , Ball (which screwed into the bottom of the reciever) and Barrel (actually had the reservoir around the barrel, very rare). The calibres usually ran from about .30 to .40 but I have one that is .62 calibre. Quite a "BOOM" when it goes off.

    The Napoleon story is often repeated but may be more "myth" than fact although it is a good one.. :D It is true that the Girandoni guns used by the Austrians against Napoleons armies did upset them. They were 12 - 15 shot repeaters in a day when all armies were equiped with single shot muzzel loaders. If they weren't so tempermental they may have changed the course of warfare. The distance claims are a little exagerated also. From shooting the ones I have I would say it is more likely they would have been effective at 50 yards at the most. Accuracy is terrible after that although if you did connect at 100 yards they would still do considerable damage.

    I seem to have taken us way out of the photography thread here, sorry. I've got some flash accessories comming and then I will try the suggestions you folks have so kindly shared with me. IF they come out (I hope), I will see if I can post a couple for you further suggestions. Wish me luck! Thanks again for your help. :)
     
  8. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    Ok, here is the results of my most recent efforts. I did leave in one of the original photos at the end.

    http://img48.photobucket.com/albums/v148/airgunr/

    Let me know what you think. I haven't tried a light tent but did use floresents on either side with a white plastic tub lid and piece of white cardboard to bounce the light some.

    I'm not sure how this url will work. If it takes you to the main site look for the Antique Air Guns folder.
     

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