El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

Quarantine Failure (0)

9:05 PM by , under

Quarantine Failure

This is what happens when I'm left home alone on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Most people would do cool stuff like watch sports or solve world hunger or whatever, but there I was building a little 8" x 8" stage for my little miniature creatures to fight over all for my amusement. I am a cruel creator, given to whim and flights of fancy not beholden to any cosmic rules other than, "This is fun" or "I'm bored".

I wanted to build a little cross section of a space ship, and my original plan was very similar to how this turned out. Everything used in the construction (minus the models and plaster of paris) could be considered "found art" in that I found the various pieces while out walking. I have a whole drawer full of cool little bits and pieces that will eventually end up used for something like this. Those column things in the middle of the frame? Ink pens. That black door-looking thing in the monster's hand? Found that in the parking lot (yes, I wash everything when I bring it inside!). There are two wall lights mounted higher up, just out of frame that I made from a tea light container, cut in half. The one on the left has a hole drilled through the board so I can run an LED bulb through, while the other is smashed and broken looking.

It is so easy to make little dioramas like this. This thing took all of, what, 3 hours? Something I learned was that I painted the monster specifically for this picture. That means he's only half done. His other half? Completely not done. The Space Marine was painted years ago and has been waiting patiently on my shelf for a chance to go in front of the camera.

Before you ask, yes that is a poorly painted bunny on his shoulderpad. Some Space Marine Chapters take names like the Ultramarines, Blood Angels, White Scars, Blood Drinkers, or what-have-you, but my Chapter is named the Emperor's Cutest. Their Chapter symbol is a smiley sun face (think the Raisin Bran box) and his right shoulder identifies him as a member of the Fluffy Bunnies squad. Normally he would be backed up by 5 buddies (one with a Heavy Bolter, another with a Plasma Gun) and cruising around in a Razorback APC, but that's really expensive and I just don't have the cash to special order all the parts I would need to finish the army. Some day though...

...

What was I talking about? Man, I have GOT to stop writing these just before bed.

Suffer not the EXIF to live.

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 4 sec (4)
Aperture: f/18
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:06:22 23:02:29
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Manual
Date and Time (Original): 2008:06:22 22:45:25
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:06:22 22:45:25
Shutter Speed: -131071/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 1748 pixels
Image Height: 1244 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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Protectorate of Menoth 1

8:01 AM by , under

Protectorate of Menoth

From Wikipedia:

The Protectorate of Menoth, formerly part of the Kingdom of Cygnar, is a fanatical theocracy. Currently led by the charismatic Priest-King Hierarch Garrick Voyle, the Protectorate recently began a great crusade to convert all the human nations of Western Immoren to the worship of Menoth above all other gods, and destroy all heretics who do not share their devotion or lack the necessary respect for Menoth as creator of mankind.

Protected and infused with the holy energy of the ancient god Menoth, the forces of the Protectorate are every bit as capable as those driven by arcane energy. Protectorate troops are sometimes individually weaker, but their abilities combine to great effect, and they are often designed for hard-hitting suicidal attacks. Menites also have a penchant for setting their heretical enemies on fire. Prominent Menite warcasters include Grand Exemplar Mikael Kreoss and the Harbinger of Menoth. The most powerful Menite, the Avatar of Menoth, is guided directly by Menoth's divine power.

It's been awhile since I've played, but my Warmachine faction of choice was always the Protectorate. When we were trying out the four starter boxes, Menoth seemed to fit my style best. Not only did they play intuitively, they look fantastic. I'm a sucker for religious iconography (grew up Catholic), and the Protectorate has it in spades. But don't just take my word for it, check it out!

Visually speaking, Warmachine is a non-stop barrage of ideas. Each and every illustration would look great printed out and framed on my wall. The battle scenes are the greatest source of inspiration, and my only regret is that the miniatures aren't poseable. I know I could break out the exacto knife and modeling putty, but my talents don't extend that far. I can give someone a hood, aaaand that's about it.

So, about today's picture. Since Warmachine: Prime was first released, I've been infatuated with this image:

Clearly awesome, right?

When I sat down to plan out how to recreate this, I noticed a few things right off the bat. The Temple Flameguard, due to the size of the base they're on, cannot stand shoulder to shoulder. I could remove them from their bases, but I didn't want to risk damaging them (and having to buy new bases). Also, the Crusader just isn't as tall as he appears in the illustration. Most of the Warjacks have stubby, comical legs, and there really wasn't any good way to just raise him up. His knees aren't that far below his chin. Finally, and I didn't find this out until later, the smoke machine just wasn't going to cooperate at this scale.

Since I was going to play with smoke, it was back to the trusty stovetop studio. No lightbox, just the lamp above the stove and the lamp above the sink for illumination. I tried a few shots with a more pulled back perspective, trying to capture more of the army fading into the distance, but I wasn't really happy with it. I tried using the smoke machine, but that didn't look good either. Finally, I brought the focus in tight and hoped for the best.

Cleanup in Photoshop was pretty straightforward. Tweaked the color a bit to bring out the golden tones, added a soft Gaussian blur, and tweaked the contrast a little.

Now if only I had thought to dust them before I took the picture...

If you didn't believe in the EXIF before, you will today:
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 10 sec (10)
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:06:15 09:57:09
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Date and Time (Original): 2008:06:15 09:32:54
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:06:15 09:32:54
Shutter Speed: -217705/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
White Balance: Manual
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 2816 pixels
Image Height: 1880 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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Nomad (0)

8:34 PM by , under

Nomad

Since I'm in a gaming mood, I figured why not talk about it here?

As I mentioned in my last post, I am a big fan of Warmachine, by Privateer Press. They call it "Full Metal Fantasy", others call it steampunk, but whatever it is, I love it. Giant robots fighting side by side with wizards and mages against the darkest of monsters. Even if you'll never play the game, at least browse through the rulebook. The game's setting is fantastic all by itself!

If you would like to see the Nomad as it originally appears (and painted much better than I could have done), click HERE.

The Nomad is the old workhorse of the Warjacks. Most commonly used in mercenary forces, it lacks all the bells and whistles of newer machines. To represent this, I tried painting it with faded colors and lots of rust. The barrel, chains, tarps, etc were added in a moment of inspiration.

For the shot, I'm still trying to wrap my head around 300. Yes, I'm still obsessed with the style, no I still haven't captured it. Did a Black and White overlay at around 50%, did a little painting on the stone to bring the stark white color down to a more weathered look, and painted in the furnace fire in the head.

This really isn't helping me not want to game.

Be good,
-Dave



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Confession Time (3)

6:40 PM by , under

Before I got into photography, I was big into tabletop miniature games such as Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. I loved assembling the characters, customizing and painting them, and I especially enjoyed the social aspect of setting my shiny new army down on the table and playing against other people. The social side of gaming is something that I'm missing from photography. Flickr and all the incredible people I've met through my photography have been more than generous with both their time and praise, but it still seems sort of a one way conversation. I take the picture, you look at it and sometimes tell me what you think. My background is certainly not as an artist, so I'm not used to waiting for people to form opinions and judge my work as such. I'm used to the much more relaxed "Hey, that's cool. Roll for initiative, sucka".

What all this means is that I've been getting the urge to game again. A new edition of Warhammer 40,000 either has been released or will be soon (been out of the loop these last few years) and the perennial favorite Dungeons and Dragons is rolling out the newest 4th Edition ruleset that I've heard nothing but good things about. So in an attempt to stave off my desire to drop several hundred dollars on a new army, I went to the shelf and took pictures of models I have already painted, but never really photographed. I hope you dig them.

Mangu Timur
Techpriest
Necron Lord

Be good,
-Dave



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