Saturday, May 18, 2013

Meeting Blog -- May 14, 2013

     This will be the second part of this months meeting blog, I've already sent out the Jamie Challenge to all of you and hopefully the wheels are turning in your heads to figure out what you may design from that 2 x 4.  Fantastic turnout last Wednesday, seems as if every time I went around the room to count a few more of you snuck in!  Last count was close to 40 so you must be taking Jamie's' advice and handing out the business cards to folks you meet on your wood related outings!
     Of course, we began with the round robin introductions which I need to refresh my memory.  Then, Jamie brought up the table that I've entered in the Design in Wood competition in held in conjunction with the San Diego County Fair.  Here's a LINK to that competition.  The fair opens on the 8th. of June and runs until the fourth of July.  It's humbling to think that my work was accepted and I feel pretty honored.  On the other hand, Ali my cat, isn't too crazy about giving up her place in the sun!

Ali's Place in the Sun
     Other business brought up by her was regarding the dues of $20.00 which are voluntary and good for the year.  Internet costs and Christmas party is what the bulk of the dues go for.  Jamie also pointed out a stool that Lupe has been working on.  Hopefully you took the time to check it out and if you've ever made a stool or chair you'll know that they're one of the more difficult projects in woodworking.  It'll be great to see it complete and I'm sure Lupe will give her typical, stellar presentation when it is.  Personally, I'd like to see her enter it in next years Design in Wood competition. San Diego isn't that far away (5 hours or so) so delivering a piece is fairly painless.  Plus it's a great excuse to get out of town in June and spend a little time at the ocean.
     A final item brought up business wise was the need for presenters at out meetings.  You can contact Dennis or Ted to set this up.  Here's the view you'd have if you chose to do a presentation:

Presenter gets to see Faces!
     Not only do you see the fronts of peoples heads you also get an extra chance to score for the gift card drawing at Christmas.  Besides presentations, it would also be fun to go on a field trip to hold our monthly meeting at your shop too.
     Before I begin with Richard's presentation, we had one person bring in some of his work for Show & Tell.   That was Pete who brought in these cutting boards:

Cutting Boards

     As you can see they have quite a complicated looking pattern to them.  He uses many species of wood but these are predominantly white Oak and Wenge.  A discussion followed with how you figure out the pattern and glued them up, flipped, etc.

     Although I wasn't in on all of that discussion, here is a LINK from Joe regarding software available to help you figure this out without going cross-eyed!  Pete also sent me a number of links with information about these cutting boards but I was unable to link that on this blog.  You may want to contact him directly.

So, You want to take a picture; eh?

I'm really thankful that Richard had an extensive hand-out to go along with his presentation.  Saves me a lot of blogging time trying to recount all he shared with us.  I hope you picked that hand out up.  At the end of this blog post though is the links from the last page of it.  Rich sent that to me and it's been added so you can just click on any one of those items you're interested in rather than having to type them into your search bar.

     The talk began with the importance of good lightning.  Fortunately for us, most of our pictures can be done inside with controlled conditions.  This started a discussion about lighting in general, not only for photography but also for ways to light up our shops.  As promised, here is a LINK to the Bulbman which is where I've been getting high quality fluorescent tubes that give me the best light I can get in the shop.  Of course, depending on your age and eye sight you'll probably need some type of task lighting too.  Why I prefer them over the big box store is because they actually know what they're talking about and you can compare different bulbs.  Website isn't the greatest but they're on Cameron just south of Flamingo.

     For openers, Richard began his talk by presenting these photographs he'd taken when he was involved more with landscape photography rather than photographing our work.  He used them as examples of how to arrange your composition and the effects of lighting.

Examples of Different Focusing Techniques

Example of Composition

Rich's Kodak
     For our work our concern has to do with how we set up the subject, where and how it's lit, and controlling the camera settings for success.  Two terms to consider are the aperture (opening of the lens) and the shutter speed (how long the lens is open).  The longer the lens is open and the larger the opening is you'll get a better image that you can manipulate IF the camera is held perfectly still.  Enter the tripod.  No matter what kind of skill you employ to hold that camera still, there's no substitute for a firm tripod and either a timer or remote cable to take your shot.  This is Rich's camera which is a premium one but most cameras that you can attach to a tripod will probably work for you.  It's what referred to as a Single Lens Reflex meaning you actually see what the lens sees.  Less expensive camera's (like mine) don't allow for that, instead there is a separate view opening that is to the side of the lens.
     Lighting up your subject is important and can be accomplished with artificial or natural means.  Since you control when you're going to take the pictures it's easier than landscape photography.  For myself, I only take pictures in the morning in a room that faces west.  Light just surrounds my subject naturally so nothing else is required.  If you want additional lighting there is a brand of lighting called Ott Light.  These are very popular with crafters because they give a light that is as close to natural light as you can get.  Here is a LINK to their website, I know they're available locally from JoAnnes and Lamps Plus.  Flash photography tends to flatten the picture plus it'll create shadows you probably don't want.
     The other thing you'd like to have to showcase your work is a neutral background of some sort or another.  My own preference is burlap, my wife uses a neutral fabric, and you can also get royalty free clip art and tile them together to create a background.  Diane once needed a brick wall for a photo shoot and that's what she did.  There are a couple of you that make construction toys and if you went on line and found building site pictures you can print them out, paste them onto some mat board and that would be a cool back drop for your models!
     The last of Richard's hints had to do with how you position your work for the photo shoot.  Generally speaking, coming at it from an angle is more interesting than a dead on shot.  Be careful of how far above the work you are so that you do not create a lot of distortion.  What I mean is that if you take a picture of a table from above it, the legs will appear to angle inward and nothing is square.
     Thankfully, we no longer take a roll of film, bring it somewhere to be processed, and then see what we did.  Now you simply use a digital camera, take some shots, upload them to your computer and see what you did.  Once you tweak things around and get it to how you want it's comparatively easy to replicate that each and every time.

     Here are the links from Richards hand out so you won't need to  copy and paste the ones you want to check out:

Handy Links:
String Tripod (this is cool!)

Natural light home studio

Studio quality product photography with a $12 setup
Notice how the lighting setup diffuses the light and creates light and shadows so the product stands out and the background disappears.
Magic Clerk Easter Chick
This has nothing to do with this presentation but it’s funny as heck!

Three Point lighting for 3-D rendering
Nice little tutorial on lighting.

Studio Lighting – Really Cheap homemade DIY studio – no lighting needed
This is another cheap option.  Check out the very nice photos taken with this setup at the bottom of the page.

Elements of Composition:

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