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Thread: Shooting reflective surfaces

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    Shooting reflective surfaces

    This will probably seem strange, but I need some tips on photographing fishing rods.
    My wife & I custom build them and include decorative thread art like these below.
    They are done by weaving threads back and forth whilst wrapping another thread around the rod.

    They're a real bugger to photograph, because the epoxy is very reflective.
    Also if you get too close you can see details that you can't pick up with the naked eye.
    Gaps between threads etc.

    The best lighting for colour detail seems to be direct sunlight, but then you have to worry about flaring and reflection lines across the shot.

    As the weaves wrap right around the rod we have to make a composite photo in the end, so it's important the lighting be consistant.

    I've tried diffusing the light with white paper and making a reflector from foil for the underside, but it's not really any better.

    I'm only using a Canon Coolpix 4300 so my options are limited as to the camera.

    Any ideas?

    If I was to look at a digital SLR, what should I look for to do this kind of work?

    Thanks,
    Owen
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    Member Briancd's Avatar
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    Try a circular polarised filter. Theye are good for reducing reflection form metal and glass and may help with your problem.
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    Can you get a CPL for a coolpix - rembering they are a P&S camera??

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    Member Briancd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    Can you get a CPL for a coolpix - rembering they are a P&S camera??
    Some P&S cameras allow for an adapter that fits over the lens and enables lens converters or filters to be screwed onto the front. At least some of the Canon models can. You should check your manual.

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    If you cant get a polariser, i would suggest maybe a small lightbox to try and stop any specific glare points by providing a very even light source.

    Not sure if that will work, but its an alternative. maybe someone else here might have thoughts on whether a lightbox would work?
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    Thanks for the tip.
    Just to show my ineptitude a bit more, it's actually a NIKON coolpix 4300
    I don't see any way of putting a filter on the lens.
    The lens cap actually connects to the camera body.

    Might be time for an upgrade

    cheers,
    Owen

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenD View Post
    Thanks for the tip.
    Just to show my ineptitude a bit more, it's actually a NIKON coolpix 4300
    I don't see any way of putting a filter on the lens.
    The lens cap actually connects to the camera body.

    Might be time for an upgrade

    cheers,
    Owen
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    you can always hold a 50mm or 55mm circular polarising filter infront of the lens and rotate it until you get the desired effect then shoot, holding the filter as close as possible to the front of the lens assembly to reduce the lens reflection.

    Lightbox idea sounds good, although it would be large considering the object you are imaging.
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    G-day Owen, before I got my 400d I used to hold my polarised sunglasses in front of the lens. My wife says I looked funny, but it worked.

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    polariser idea sounds good, but the lightbox idea is a better option I reckon, the cylindrical shape will respond better to several light sources, a tripod and slow shutter speed with a few desklamps or maybe even LED torches a la Ricktas might work?
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    Other option to consider is instead of using a polariser and lots of available light(as in outside) try th emore diffuse light of your kitchen, or study, as long as there are no direct light sources to cause these reflections, and use a tripod and remote or timer(if the cam has either) so you don't get camera shake blur.

    Of course the camera set to auto mode wil pop the flash and all that stuff, so you have to figure out how to manually use the camera so that you control shutter/aperture/flash/ISO etc...

    OR! alternatively get someone else to do it that may be looking for a project!

    Give them 'a few bucks' for their effort/time/travel as a thanks, and they could then use the images in some kind of portfolio.
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    OK,
    So now I'm off to discover exactly what a light box looks like LOL
    I'm imagining something like white melomine with lights aimed at that rather than directly at the subject?
    Google is my friend!

    Working inside does cut down the intensity of the reflections, but the colours lose their punch.

    thanks again

    Owen

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    Colors are always editable with software!!
    If you shoot in jpg mode(I have no idea if the coolpix can shoot in RAW or tif mode?) then change the camera setting to saturated for color(check the manual)

    Alternatively download the trial version of something like CaptureNX, and edit you images with that and bump up saturation an dcontrast a little you wil be amazed at how much color is actually there!

    An alternative to a light box could be something as humble as one of those portable shade thingy/gazebos you put up the back garden, preferrably in white with white walls all round! On a sunny day I can imagine that these things would produce a nice diffused glow of light bright enough but not glary at all??
    Never tried it, except that having sat in one, that's how it feels.
    A direct light source(or reflected like from a window or mirror) that produces glare on shiny surfaces. diffusing that to make the light appear to 'come from everywhere' eliminates shadows and glare.

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    Just a quick thanks to all those that replied on this thread.
    I knocked up a light box today from some white corflute and it makes a huge difference!

    I haven't perfected it yet, but I'm on the right track.

    Just need a better camera to give me a bit more flexibility

    cheers,
    Owen

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