Daily Archives: February 20, 2017

notes on the photos



I’ve had many requests (1) for information on the photo posted on lightscatter a while back.  I’ll try to make this as brief as possible but usually when I get talking (or writing) about photography I can’t help myself and go into too much boring detail.

The photo posted on 2/16/17 is a cropped version of the original, which I can’t show here since I didn’t shoot it.  The photo was a published ad in a pennysaver newspaper and was about twice the size of a postage stamp (as was the photo above).  For many years I’ve taken photos of newspaper and magazine pages (most of them macro shots) over a lightbox to show the complexity of a printed page and the texture and transparency of the paper.  When there is printing on both sides of the paper there are some interesting patterns.

The setup to take these photos was not complicated.  The camera (with a 90mm macro lens) was mounted on a tripod with the lens pointing straight down.  The subject is placed on a lightbox below the camera and the shutter is tripped remotely.  This is the technique I’ve used for years and you can see some results here. It works well but it’s very inconvenient since my tripod (a great 33 year old Slick) isn’t very flexible with the camera pointed down.  To help things out I purchased the 3Pod Orbit tripod from Adorama, which allows the center column to pivot 90 degrees.  This is a well made, sturdy tripod at an excellent price and I’m very happy with it.

I also downloaded digiCamControl, a free program that supports tethering a Nikon to a PC (a Dell laptop in this case).  There are other cameras the program can be used with and there are other programs available for Apple computers and tablets.  I also bought a 10 foot cable (you can’t have too long a cable) to tether the camera to the laptop.  The camera can be tripped by the software but I think you can use a wireless or wired remote.  I used the software to focus and trigger the camera.  The software also saves files to the PC and to the SD card in the camera.  I used the files on the card since I don’t edit on the laptop.

Everything worked very well.  If I could change anything it would be my lightbox, which is an old (early 1970’s) x-ray viewer I bought in 1985 for $2 (US) at auction.  The new LED ones are so much nicer and brighter.  The camera did a good job in auto white balance but there was a little tweaking in Lightroom.  This was an enjoyable project to work on and I think I will get a lot of use out of the setup.  If anyone wants any more information, please feel free to ask.  I love talking (or writing) about this stuff.