Playing around last night

Tips and techniques for taking the best possible pictures of your timepieces.

Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:39 pm

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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Joseph T. Collins » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:18 pm

Tom, I think you're bragging. ;) but with the ability to take pictures like these I think a little bragging is in order.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Seymour » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:53 pm

Nice going Tom!!
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby richiec » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:51 pm

My question is how, what type of camera, what settings, etc.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:16 pm

richiec wrote:My question is how, what type of camera, what settings, etc.


Nikon D50 (used, $350 on eBay) with a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro lens ($90, also used on eBay)
copy stand for camera
light tent
1 15W 5000K CFL light on left & right side about 24" away from the tent
2 15W 5000K CFL lights in the ceiling fixture
gloss black acrylic riser from tabletopstudios.com (to set the watch on)
camera is about 10" from the watch

Camera settings
aperture priority mode
aperture set at f9
exposure is set to -0.7
custom white balance (I let the camera measure a white card)
I use the timer to release the shutter

I use an old copy of Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE to do a bit of post processing. Always set the photo to 100% before doing anything. I crop, then use Unsharp Mask set anywhere from 50-150 depending on what looks best. Then, I resize to 640 X 480 or as close as possible. Finally, I use a bit of contrast. I always use the Save As command to preserve the original in case I want to try some different processing.

I was also able to get the same results with an older Nikon 990 swivel-body camera (only 3.34 mega-pixels) with the same settings except the exposure was +0.7. You have to try different exposure settings so the shot is neither under nor over-exposed. You should be able to get similar results with this setup using any digital camera with a macro setting.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:30 pm

Joseph T. Collins wrote:Tom, I think you're bragging. ;) but with the ability to take pictures like these I think a little bragging is in order.
Joe


Thanks, Joe. Not bragging, but rather showing what any of us can achieve. Lighting is the key. I've gone through at least a dozen setups with different types and wattage bulbs, and where they are placed.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Stephan » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:32 am

I checked out the link to tabletopstudios and they have some great tips and lots of information for anyone playing with photography.
Thanks for the link Tom.
Learning all the time.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Cary Hurt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:49 pm

Thanks for sharing Tom.

I'm continually frustrated trying to get repeatable results, so this sort of hard data is always helpful.

My real question concerns the second picture. What sort of lighting arrangement did you use to have the luminous figures glow while the bezel details are still so sharp?

Thanks again,

Cary
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:10 pm

Cary Hurt wrote:Thanks for sharing Tom.

I'm continually frustrated trying to get repeatable results, so this sort of hard data is always helpful.

My real question concerns the second picture. What sort of lighting arrangement did you use to have the luminous figures glow while the bezel details are still so sharp?

Thanks again,

Cary


You're welcome, Cary. When I was trying to get better shots, no one I asked would give me specific information about camera settings and lighting. I'm happy to share what I've learned over the last few years. It's been quite frustrating until recently, as I've been able to get consistently decent shots now.

To answer your question, the photos were taken before dusk. I turned out all the lights in the room, left the blinds turned open, held the watch in front of a light for about ten seconds, turned the light off, placed the watch and shot the photo. There was just enough light coming through the window (which was behind me) to get the resulting shot. The final shot was the same except for closing the blinds. The camera shutter was open for over 20 seconds for that shot!
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Seymour » Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:58 pm

That's super Tom. Thanks for sharing the hard data.
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby watchwldr » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:59 am

I was reading these excellent tips on photography and saw the Hamilton pics. Question-I am thinking the luminescent dial and hands are new or redone. If so, can you share your source for refinishing? While I have used some of the refinishing services with mixed results, I haven't had any luminous ones done, and have some that need it. Great pics, and thanks. George
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:53 am

watchwldr wrote:I was reading these excellent tips on photography and saw the Hamilton pics. Question-I am thinking the luminescent dial and hands are new or redone. If so, can you share your source for refinishing? While I have used some of the refinishing services with mixed results, I haven't had any luminous ones done, and have some that need it. Great pics, and thanks. George


Hi George,

I've only used International Dial in Ohio. They've always done a fine job for me and their prices are reasonable.

International Dial Company Inc
58 W Sugartree St, Wilmington, OH 45177-2226
Contact Phone: (937) 382-4535
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby watchwldr » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:04 pm

Thanks for the reply. That's who I use as well, just never had them do a luminous dial. However, yesterday I sent one off to them (a modern one fron a quartz watch) so I'm looking forward to seeing the results. George
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby Tom Diss » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:42 am

watchwldr wrote:Thanks for the reply. That's who I use as well, just never had them do a luminous dial. However, yesterday I sent one off to them (a modern one fron a quartz watch) so I'm looking forward to seeing the results. George


They can also do a luminous dial in "aged radium" if you specify it.
Attachments
aged radium.jpg
photo from Art Deco Wristwatches
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Re: Playing around last night

New postby watchwldr » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:48 pm

Neat! How's that look at night?
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