Photographing ship models inside display cases

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by wirewolf, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. wirewolf

    wirewolf TPF Noob!

    Feb 4, 2006
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    Professional photographer I'm not, but a model shipwright. I've taken photos of my own models, but before they were put in to a display case.

    I'll be starting a project soon of creating a photographic catalog of the ship models from the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY (I also work there as an Electrician). Their collection of ship models, maritime art and nautical artifacts is quite extensive (approx. 250 models alone, most in the American Merchant Marine Museum, and the rest spread through out the Academy in various locations). The images will be for viewing on the web and the Museum will keep a copy of them (on CD’s) for future archiving and possible publication.

    All of the models are in display cases (mostly glass, but a few are plexi-glass) and can not be removed from their cases for photographing (most are antiques and very valuable).

    I’m looking for advice on the best way to photograph these ship models. The museum’s lighting is subdued, with the windows facing towards the North. Changes are that I won’t’ be able to even move the cases and I’ll have to take the photos with the models in place.

    A friend told me not to use the flash on the camera, not even a remote flash, use a polarizing filter and background indirect lighting.

    Equipment I have:
    Olympus Camedia Digital 4000 Zoom Camera
    Tripod (with full tilt control)

    Equipment suggested I get:
    Olympus Conversion Lens Adapter Tube C-4000 Zoom Cameras
    Olympus SUR4355 Step Up Ring 43-55mm
    Olympus C7AU AC Adapter for Olympus Digital Cameras (to save on battery power)
    Opteka .45x HD2 Wide Angle Lens for Olympus C-5050 C-4040 C-4000
    Tiffen 55mm Deluxe 3 Filter Kit
    Photoflood light stands (not sure of the amount of stands to get, the correct wattages, type of bulbs (incandescent or halogen) or should they have “umbrellas”)

    Do you think the above equipment is adequate and what advice could you offer for the type and placement of the photofloods?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance, John

  2. j_mcquillen

    j_mcquillen TPF Noob!

    Oct 3, 2004
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    Northumberland, UK

    I'd agree with that... any kind of flash will cause a big reflection to cover most of your subject.

    If there's enough space in the cases, and you have a wide enough lens, you could photograph with the lens pressed right up against the glass (make sure it's clean first...)

    If you can't do that, make sure there's no obvious reflections on the glass, and set up your tripod and camera with a polariser. If you can get hold of a big piece of black cloth or card, cut a hole in it just big enough for your lens to fit through (you might need to sew a piece of cane along the top edge of the cloth to make it easier to hold), and hold it up when you take the shots - this will mean any reflections will just be of the black cloth... ie invisible :D

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