Photographing Miniatures with an SRL Camera – Part I

My education in photography was with 35mm film on an srl camera.  It was completely manual.  You needed to set all the settings according to the type of picture you wanted.  Since the advent of digital cameras, my photographs have not had the same quality.  Most of that is because I’ve always purchased cheap point and shoot cameras.  They’re pretty good for family gatherings and some vacation trips, but they’re no substitute for a good srl.  For Yom Kippur, I treated myself to an entry-level digital srl camera (a Canon Eos Rebel Xsi) and a 50mm macro lens.  The lens was specifically to take macro shots of miniatures.  In the last few weeks, I’ve been shooting and reshooting photos for Cavalcade Wargames (www.cavalcadewargames.com) and it’s been a learning lesson.  Really, all the technology has changed since I last seriously picked up a camera.  Light bulb technology has changed, digital cameras are even more affordable and many things are easily obtained online – such as light boxes.  I’ve also learned the limitations of digital point and shoot cameras.  So, in my first experiments with my new dsrl camera, I’ve found immediate results.

The new camera is great, but the macro lens is a real boon.  To illustrate the real world differences of a regular lens and a macro, here is a two close-ups of my dog Crumpet (some might also refer to her as a miniature).  The first is Crumpet on the regular lens with auto settings and a flash.  The second is with a macro lens on the macro setting and several other manual setting changes.  I chose her because she’s black and white on a black chair.  It’s not easy to photograph black and white things and I wanted to test the waters.  The macro shot came out great.  The lighting on the regular came out too dark.  Some of that can be alleviated with the manual settings. Click on the Crumpets to get the full size photo.

Crumpet Macro

Crumpet Macro

Crumpet Regular

Crumpet Regular

Crumpet - Regular (Full)

Crumpet - Regular (Full)

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Cavalcade Wargames Officially Launches

Cavalcade Samurai Orcs

Cavalcade Samurai Orcs

Cavalcade Samurai Goblin Wolfriders

Cavalcade Samurai Goblin Wolfriders

It’s officially day 5 of the launch of Cavalcade Wargames and only now am I making an announcement on my blog!  So, we’ve made our first sales, we’ve had some positive feedback, and we’re very excited for the things to come.  While this will still be my personal blog, I’ll be posting Cavalcade-specific news items on the Cavalcade website at http://www.cavalcadewargames.com/cavalcade/news/news.html.

We’ve officially opened business with Bob Olley’s Samurai Orcs and Goblin Wolfriders.  Here’s a few shots of what’s currently on offer.

Grenadier Miniatures Boxed Sets

Here’s some photos of some old Grenadier boxed sets I’m offloading, back from the early to mid-1980’s.

Shops – Hanoi, Vietnam – Thai Duong Fine Art

While on vacation, I ran across this shop in the Hoan Kiem section of Hanoi, Vietnam.  The girl behind the counter was bored and playing video games, but she did let me take some photographs.  The ships are (seemingly) made of all natural materials and range in size from the small to the very large.  In fact, you can see me standing next to the biggest one in the store (very sweaty from the midday August heat and humidity of southeast Asia).  The Store is called My Nghe Lu’u Niem Thai Duong (or Thai Duong Fine Art in English).  There are some details which are not so accurate, such as the backwards flags and things, and I am sure there are more detailed and exacting shipbuilders out there, but these are pretty detailed and fun nonetheless.  I didn’t enquire about prices.   Thai Duong does maintain a website at http://www.thaiduongfurniture.com.  The address is 22 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hang Trong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi, Vietnam.

Thai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - HanoiThai Duong - Hanoi

Angkor Wat

I recently returned from a vacation in Cambodia and we visited Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world.  On the sides of the building are bas reliefs featuring many Hindu epochs, but it also features a military procession of Suryavarman II, king of the Khmer Empire.  Here are some photos I took while at Angkor Wat.  I hope to have the pics of the military procession as well as from some of the other temples in the complex up shortly.  Angkor Wat - SunriseAngkor Wat - Third LevelAngkor Wat - August 2009Angkor Wat - From the Second LevelAngkor Wat - Devatas

Sash and Saber – Native Americans

A shot of Sash and Saber’s 40mm French and Indian War Native Americans ready for battle.

Sash and Saber - French and Indian War

Minifigs – Sharadan Lords of Darkness

These are some new castings of Minifigs’ Sharadan Lords of Darkness from the Aureola Rococo line originally produced in the 1970’s.  I think they hold up pretty well considering.  I painted these in a quick and dirty manner with lots of washes so they would, in fact, look dark.  They are photographed outside in natural light with a flash.  To me, they look like they could come out of a Frank Frazetta comic book.  GFI Miniatures has remolded some of these golden oldies and a small selection are available for purchase.

Minifigs - Sharadan Lords of Darkness