Sunday, July 26, 2009

What the Camera Setup Looks Like

Mid-range good day. I was feeling a little low-energy, so I thought I'd wait until afternoon to go to the gym. Big mistake. I was right in calling that I was having an "I need rest" morning. But when the day started, I never got back to working out and the gym closes early on Saturday. I blew it for the day. That sucked.

I did manage to get in some play time with the camera this evening, though. First, this is my actual unit, through Craig's camera.

The picture looks a little nicer than the real camera, thanks to good lighting. Below is a front picture of one of my cheap $9 lighting units ($12 with cool flourescent bulb)

This is the back:

In order to reduce glare on the item to be lighted, Chad suggested I fit a round defuser cloth around the opening of the lamp's bowl. My central difficulty is that the top of the bulb is at about the same level as the rim of the bowl. I was afraid that the heat from the bulb might eventually begin to burn the cloth. I solved this problem by innovating with binder clips. This also gave me a chance to show off just what a macro lens can do. Click onto that binder clip and really look at that detail. It blows me away

I attach four at right angles to the rim of the lamp.

I put the lever in the "down" position on the outside of the bowl, like so...

...but I leave the lever "up" on the inside of the bowl, like so... (you can see that in the picture above, but click on the detail for that shot. This lens is amazing!)

...finally, I put the cloth over the top of the extended levers of the binder clip so that it doesn't touch the bulb, like so...

When I was done with the close-ups, I began to have trouble. The combination of using this lens and a busy background (my bookcase) was far too much for the autofocus to handle. It went haywire. In order to take a photograph of the tripod, I had to switch to semi-manual, which I'd already set to take pictures in black and white:

Here's how I connect the lamps to a TV tray.

I'm going to have to hope that the Press Archive furniture at the Moshe Dayan Center is conducive to this sort of "clamping." If not, I may have to waste money on purchasing some sort of substitute and hope they have a small space where I can store whatever I buy, as hauling this sort of stuff from our apartment in Arlozorov Street to the university would be quite tiring.

I also played with a fun black and white feature this camera has. Some of you who like to take pictures may know that photographers frequently use colored lenses in black and white photography, as this changes the texture of the picture. I wondered if that might bring out the text more clearly. Here's the plain black and white photo of the area that was blurriest with Craig's camera:

Red, depicted below, made the image a little sharper, but caused the letters to fade

Orange was better, but basically had the same problem.

Yellow sharpened the letters, but did not darken them

Green, depicted below, darkened the letters and sharpened them. I will definitely bear this in mind when working in Tel Aviv.

I have to play with manually setting the white balance tomorrow. I also ought to stand up on a chair and see if I can get the whole sheet. I'm guessing that will be counterproductive, but a good scientist is thorough in testing all options.

How is this for the most boring blog entry ever?

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