Turning Archive 2006

Re: Dyed Maple Burl (WC Secret Santa gift)

John Lucas
>Diffusers over the light won't help. All they will do is even out the tonality of the panels so that you don't have as bad a hotspot. You will still see the panels. Really glossy pieces like we are all starting to do are going to be really difficult to photograph. The piece "sees" anything you put in front of it whether it's a panel or a small light. The difference is the size of the reflection. A very large panel will produce a very large soft edge reflection with a soft shadow. A very small light will produce a very harsh very small reflection( and a hard shadow)

So how do you use this to your advantage? First is to try what was stated earlier. Photograph the piece before you make it really glossy is the best solution.

Next is to get away from multiple panels or most photo cubes because you see every joint and corner. If you need to use the photo cube try to light it as evenly as possible. You can bounce light off the ceiling (if it's white) and maybe bounce a light off the walls. You will definitly have to use a tripod then because the light will be very low in power.

The way I shoot these things is to use a very small light source in line with the camera but a little higher. This produces a small harsh highlight on the piece and a hard shadow behind the piece. Then I use a moderately large soft box above the piece. The softbox produces a larger highlight on top of the piece and reduces the harshness of the shadow. I move the softbox around until the glare is the least objectionable.

I've tried using cross polarizion but the affect is similar to the above except the small harsh glare is now a more subtle blue dot. You still have to deal with the harsh shadow.

For home use with quartz lights I would try bouncing one or more lights off the ceiling. You may have to move the piece deeper into the cube to get the front and underneath to light up. That's why I use my photo booth instead of the EZ-cubes and that sort of thing. By booth doesn't have a back so I an move the piece and the background as far forward or back as I need.

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