Rin goes out

As I mentioned in my post last week, I live fairly close to a nice botanical garden. As a member, I get unlimited general admission and discounts to events and classes. After doing some scoping last week, I made plans to do another session this week. This time, Rin go to go along. I don’t have an actual carrying case or bag that will fit a Dollfie, however I did discover that one will fit in a backpack when placed in a sitting position. To keep the hair from going too out of place, I took a small towel and wrapped it around her upper body.

I figured I’d go with an early morning session, hoping there’d be less crowds to contend with, cooler weather, and generally less embarrassment over carrying a doll around in a public area. The garden is open 9am-5pm, so I got up early today and arrived shortly after 9. Of course, I didn’t make the direct correlation that today was Mother’s Day and the garden was offering free admission to mothers today. I was greeted with a small line waiting to get in. Scratch that last item off the list. Fortunately, it was still early enough where there weren’t a lot of people inside yet and I quickly set to work.

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I started with a couple test shots of some flowers in the orchid greenhouse. Confident that everything was fine and I’d established to onlookers that I was taking pictures, I opened up the backpack…

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Weekend visit to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

The weather was gorgeous in Charlotte this weekend, with temperatures slowly creeping up past the mid 80s. Summer isn’t quite in full swing yet, so I decided to take advantage and make a trip out to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. I grabbed the D50 and headed out.

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Sadly, one of the things I forgot to do was grab a shot of the front entrance. On the grounds, however, I did snap one of the greenhouse which is home to the garden’s fine collection of orchids. It wasn’t a completely cloud-free day, but I really enjoyed the cool breeze that came through.

 

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My first DSLR

Yesterday I brought home my very first DSLR camera. Someone at work had a used one up for sale and I jumped on the opportunity. Even though it’s an older model, it still has enough features to get me started.

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Behold, the 5-year old Nikon D50. The set I picked up included two lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm), external flash, filters, and a bag. It was lightly used by the previous owner (~1400 shots total) and is in very good shape.

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Yoko Real Image Ver. review and Loot from January

Yes, I know, it’s almost February, so isn’t it too late to do a loot post for January? Nonsense! all of the new toys featured here arrived after the new year (despite shipping in December).

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I got two packages in earlier on, one from HLJ and one from AmiAmi. It was my first order from the latter, so was curious to check out their service level. So without further ado, let’s get to the goodies!

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Merri Kurismasu!

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Merry Christmas from Charlotte, North Carolina! Sadly, no snow here today, only rain. As with last year, some coworkers and I went to the Daniel Stowe Botanical garden to see the holiday light displays. I keep saying that I’ll bring a tripod or something with me to steady the camera, but alas, I forgot. It’s a step forward from last year, however, when I forgot the camera all together…. >.<

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Sleepy cat + glass desk = win

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My cat has a tendency to nap on my computer desk. Since I’d cleaned it recently and it has a glass top, I snapped a couple of photos while she napped. On a couple of shots, I got some really nice reflections of her face in the glass. Then there’s the shot from under the desk…

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There’s plenty more where that came from… Check out the rest of the shots!

New lighting setup

I picked up a couple of interesting photography tips today from comments over at DannyChoo.com about various ways to do lighting for figure photography. I’d recommend checking out this tutorial for some hints on constructing a cheap lighting setup.

Good photography is good lighting. A lot of people think that good lighting is expensive. Wrong. The best light source for photography is free. The sun! If you’ve got a backyard use it. Shoot in the morning or an hour or two before the sun sets for the prettiest light. Those looking for the quickest and easiest way to take pics of your figs, well there you go. But if you’re in the city or in an apartment and feel a little too funny about taking a half naked anime babe outside for a photo shoot while people walk by wondering what kind of freak totes a half naked anime babe out in public, this means you’re shooting inside.

It takes a little setup, but really all you need for an indoor lighting setup are two desklamps, a couple of big sheets of construction paper in different colors, a cardboard box, some tracing paper, and some tape. Many of you have tried the desklamp thing and gotten results you weren’t that happy with, but if you use them right, you can get some good results. The best type of easy indoor lighting is a daylight balanced (aka, full spectrum) light source, because it’s close to daylight in color and it burns relatively cool, which is a plus when shooting PVC. You can use normal lights, but just watch for overheating your figures and calibrate your camera’s white balance settings accordingly.

With that in mind, I hit the local Target for supplies. I picked up some tissue paper from the gift wrap section, some tape, a $10 desk lamp, a large white piece of craft board, and two 6500k fluorescent bulbs (one 60w equiv, the other 100w equiv). I’d also picked up some thumb tacks so I could finally hang up the flat sheet I was using as the table cover to make a uniform background. Once I all the stuff home, I found a medium sized box and set to work. The setup itself was fairly easy. Taking a couple sheets of tissue paper, I taped it to the ends of the box to create a diffuser.

IMG_1517 The end setup (opened up a bit to see properly)

I’m pretty happy with the results. The only tweak I’ll have to make is with the bulb size, as the 100w bulb I used for the main lamp is a bit too bright for such close proximity. I’ll need to step it down to a 60w and also take the overhead lamp down to 40w. I should also cut the craft board in half for a smaller reflecting surface to make it easier to manage and shoot around. In total, everything cost me under $30, with the bulk of the cost being for the desk lamp and the bulbs.