El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (3)

8:37 AM by , under

Merry Christmas! (by ElDave)

And with that, I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I will be taking a short vacation from blogging here and will be resuming after my birthday.

See you in the future!

Be good,
-Dave

You know, I know
Everybody everyone let's go



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Perceptor (9)

8:55 PM by , under , , ,

Perceptor

Brawn
: Do you have any better ideas, or is your intelligence as fleeting as your courage?
Perceptor: As a matter of fact, I do: get inside Megatron and disconnect the heart of Cybertron.
Brawn: Are you defective? How're we gonna do that?
Perceptor: Simple: we use my trans-mat reduction beam to shrink down to microscopic size. Then, we crawl into Megatron and rip the blasted heart out!
Optimus Prime: What do you think of his intelligence now, Brawn?

Perceptor is a Transformers Autobot, recently re-issued and released by Hasbro, exclusively for Toys R Us.

As I've said before, I grew up mainly watching Robotech, but a few select Transformers found their way into my little hands. Perceptor was one of them and is the primary reason why I'm fascinated by microscopes to this day.

I "<3" him.

Be good,
-Dave

The walls are closing in again, oh well

I seen some thing I thought I never saw



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Solid Symbols (0)

6:49 AM by , under

I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot. My podcast to music ratio is something like 4 hours for every 1 hour of music. Somewhere in that daily listening is usually a podcast produced by a gentleman named Anim5 (not his real name?), the host of The Gutter Skypes (recorded actual-play sessions of tabletop RPGs using Skype) and International Detective Dragons from Outer Space (forgive my gross oversimplification, but philosophy for geeks).

Not only does he produce both excellent podcasts, but he makes things as well, which brings me to today's topic: Solid Symbols.

From the page:
"Here you will find an ever-growing collection of original sculpted pieces created for proud display on your study wall, above your door or in your workspace.

What all of these works have in common is the theme of antiquity.
An aura of things ancient.

They are instantly familiar and recognizable symbols of something in the human experience that transcends borders and centuries.

Solid Symbols represent classic ideas or display slices of history.
All of them are tangible emblems of human cultural imagination.

Also, you may be surprised to find that they are all made in the United States, and are the most affordable collectible castings you are likely to discover online or anywhere else."

So, right there, I'm hooked. For only $10 there was no reason for me not to order one, so I quickly put the Micro Skeleton into my shopping cart, paid, and waited in eager anticipation. When it arrived, I wanted to take a thank you photo of my Solid Symbol and send it to Anim.

The photo:
Fossil

His incredibly generous response.mp3

I am very glad to have both ordered a Solid Symbol and "met" Anim5. Which one should I order next? I'm thinking the trilobite...

As a follow up, I thought maybe I should take one more picture:
Ancient Mystery

Be good,
-Dave

Leap of faith, do you doubt?
Cut you in, I just cut you out



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In space... (0)

7:54 PM by , under ,

In Space

No one can hear you... well, you know.

Picked this one up in the 4 loose figures for $10 bins at Quake Collectibles. I've had my eye out for him in the, what, 7 years since he was first released and was very excited when April held it up and asked if I wanted it.

As you can see, Alien Spawn is slightly transparent and that face is just so gruesome! I could definitely handle having more figures like this in my collection.

Alien Spawn (I guess mine was a green variant) was produced by McFarlane Toys and released in February 2002.

Be good,
-Dave

Don't forget to remember
The devil's got pills in his eyes



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Power Struggle (by ElDave)

Starscream: "Don't push me, Megatron, my desire for power is as great as yours!"
Megatron: "Power flows to the one who knows how. Desire alone is not enough."

I've been playing a lot with light lately. I'm the first to say that I'm no expert; in fact it takes me forever to get the settings right on my camera. My memory stick is FULL of under- or overexposed images with a small percentage actually turning out the way I want.

One of the first lessons I was taught was to never shoot into the sun/light source, and for a long time I followed that rule religiously. Even going so far as repeating it to myself when I'm taking pictures. Now that I've begun breaking this rule, I'm realizing just how limited I was. With this, I stood the figures in the light, pointed the lens directly at the sun outside the window and snapped the shot.

Amazing what you can learn from the little things.

Starscream and Megatron are Revoltechs, produced by Kaiyodo.

Be good,
-Dave

I been programed as I said before
Technology



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Amon Ad-Raza

Let your faith be your armor, your fist be your sword.

-Prayer of the Order of the Fist

More playing around with the set from last time. I love using Amon Ad-Raza in games of Warmachine, even though he plays completely opposite the way I think he should.

Amon Ad-Raza and the Guardian Warjack are 30mm wargaming miniatures produced by Privateer Press for the Warmachine tabletop game.

Be good,
-Dave

If only we're nothing at all



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Paragons of Faith (3)

5:47 AM by , under

Paragons of Faith

Many scholars have compared the Protectorate to the body of Menoth. The Hierarch is the head. The scrutators, the mouth. The warjacks are the bones, while the countless zealots are the blood. If this is true, then the Knights Exemplar are the tools of war in His hands.

I've had this in my head for a little while now; ever since April and I went to Michael's (a chain of craft stores) and I picked up those little tealight holders you see in the background. Wonderfully ornate and just in the right scale with the miniatures, they are an excellent addition to my collection of setting props, and I couldn't be more happy with them. Not only do they look great, they made our apartment smell like "Indian Tamarind".

The Knights Exemplar are 32mm wargaming miniatures produced by Privateer Press for the WARMACHINE tabletop game.

Be good,
-Dave

Free range humans all cooped up



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Enemy Territory

"Though the time is dark, my faith shines."

Who said pink was a sissy color? Brother Marine Cuddles would like a word with them...

This Space Marine is a 32mm plastic wargaming miniature produced by Games Workshop.

Be good,
-Dave

Bite your tongue Swear to keep your mouth shut



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If you're going to take pictures of tiny things, you need a tiny place to take their picture, right? It seems like lately my subjects have been getting smaller than usual. Instead of 6" action figures, I've been enjoying photographing 28-32mm miniature models (roughly 1.1-1.3"). Perspective is hard enough to get right at 6", but when you shrink down to miniature size, things get... difficult.

Which I why I build my own sets. I've done a post about miniature sets before, but it was more of a "Hey, here is one little prop" instead of a complete scene. This time, I'd like to show off a cave/stone set for miniatures.

First, the materials:
5" x 5" Canvas Panels (x3)
Spackle
Superglue
Acrylic Paint

Just a quick note before we get any further. The miniatures in today's shot are Sir Titus and a Hill Giant. Both are pewter wargaming miniatures produced by Reaper Miniatures. Ok, back on topic.

Assemble three of the canvas panels into a floor and two walls, then put the spackle down to create a texture. Give it plenty of time to dry (best to let it sit overnight), and then you can get to painting. I painted mine in browns and grays. Once the whole thing is dry and you're happy with how it looks, set your models on the set, get your lighting where you want it, and start snapping away. Here is what mine looks like, completed and ready to go:

Dungeons and Dragons - Setup

Tiny, right?

Well, here is what that tiny little set and tiny little models looks like through the camera:

Dungeons & Dragons

Be good,
-Dave

If you're not blind and deaf, how can we pollute your head?



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Sage Tutelage

"I will gladly pit my woldwardens against any of those noisy, smoke-belching warjacks. I have already destroyed several which made the mistake of blundering into my territory." -Baldur Stonecleaver

Baldur Stonecleaver and the Woldwarden are pewter wargaming miniatures produced by Privateer Press for their Hordes tabletop game.



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We made a quick trip up to the Boerner Botanic Garden in lovely Hales Corners, Wisconsin and I thought maybe I should take a few friends along. You know, just to get them out of the apartment and stretch a little.

While I was talking to April and lamenting the sad state of my Plastic 52 project (I started the project on June 27th, 2008) when from behind me I heard, "Camerasman! Hey Camerasman! HEY!"
I whipped around and there stood Hugg, Wage's apron hastily draped over his shoulder. "Camerasman! Take my picture!"
Wondering what happened to Wage, I knelt down and started lining up my shot. From the corner of my viewfinder I saw this naked orange streak run into the frame shouting, "Give me back my clothes!"

Click.
Plastic 52 - Week 26 (by ElDave)

Be good,
-Dave



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Chicago Comic Con 2009 (2)

7:40 AM by , under

Formerly Wizard World Chicago, this year was a departure from the previous convention format. Placing a higher emphasis on media and entertainment guests, Marvel and DC's booths were replaced by Edward James Olmos, Ernie Hudson, Billy Dee Williams, and more wrestlers that you can shake a stick at. The show was still a great time, however, and I was able to meet friends old and new to hang out and share a love of comics. Thanks to David Price, I was able to go in with a press badge and take some shots of the different creators and all the great costumes.

Speaking of costumes, there were a TON of them this year. In fact, there were so many that I didn't get to see them all, much less take pictures. I would spy someone I wanted a shot of across the hall, but as I made my way over, I would get sidetracked by a completely different costume. Or people would tell me about great outfits they'd seen earlier and send me off on a wild chase for characters I couldn't find (I'm looking at YOU Blue Lantern and Nicole Fury).

Photography wise, I found myself drawn to the portraits. As I've said before, costume photography is something I would love to do in a more controlled environment (ie not on a crowded convention floor) and I was just really, really happy taking portraits of Luke Cage, a Sith Twilek, and Stormtroopers. Maybe there's another book there? I don't know. I did have a very cool conversation with the guys and gals of the 501st Midwest Garrison, so there may be opportunities there.

Ok, enough blabbering from me. Below are just a few of the pics I took. Click on any of them to be taken to my Flickr set where you can view them all at your liesure.

Luke Cage 1 (by ElDave)
Sith (by ElDave)
Arc Trooper (by ElDave)

Be good,
-Dave



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Silhouette 1

3:32 AM by , under , ,

Silhouette (by ElDave)

It has been a busy couple of weeks! First, I would like to congratulate my cousin's basketball team for making it all the way to 2nd place in the AAU girls national tournament! I flew out to Virginia to cheer them on and I was asked to help photograph the games. Let's be honest, shooting a bunch of 6' tall teenage girls is about as far as you can get from 6" action figures, but it was a great experience and I really enjoyed doing it.

Second, Wizard World Chicago is this weekend and I can't wait to get in there with my camera. To be honest, I'm so excited for the show, I'm having trouble concentrating on what I'm supposed to be writing here...

Gears of War, courtesy of Gearspedia:

Gears of War is a science fiction video game franchise, created by Epic Games and owned and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The two games that currently make up the series take place on the fictional planet Sera and focus on a war between humans and creatures known as the Locust Horde. In Gears of War, the protagonist Marcus Fenix, a soldier or "Gear" in the Coalition of Ordered Governments, leads his squad on a mission to deploy the Lightmass bomb and destroy the Locust Horde in their underground strongholds. The sequel Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the events of the first game, and follows Delta Squad and the COG army as it launches an assault directly against the Hollow in an effort to end the war.

This was taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden, inside their Test Garden. I stood Fenix in the plant bed and turned to face the sun so I would get that great silhouette and snapped a bunch of shots.

All I had to do in Photoshop was add a thin gradient (yellow/blue) to make the sunlight pop and the shadows sink just that little bit more. Otherwise? Yeah, that's all I did.

I'm going to an EXIF Convention:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 1/4000 sec
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off, Did not fire

File Size: 2.7 MB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 2592
Image Height: 3888
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
Color Components: 3
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time (Modified): 2009:08:03 19:24:02
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2009:08:02 18:51:34-05:00
Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:08:02 18:51:34
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 4433.29532497149 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.60824742268 dpi
Custom Rendered: Normal
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Auto
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Optimised
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:08:03 19:24:02-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type: D50
Measurement Observer: CIE 1931
Measurement Flare: 0.999%
Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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Grindak Bloodbreath (by ElDave)

Grindak's bio, courtesy Privateer Press.com:

Grindak is a figure of local renown in the highlands of Ord where he roves the moors from North Berck to the Olgunholt in search of his lady love. She was taken hostage by a band of raiders, and Grindak has vowed never to rest until they meet their ends upon the wicked edge of his iron axe.

Grindak Bloodbreath is a 32mm metal miniature produced by Privateer Press for the Iron Kingdoms RPG.

My goal here was to try and match the industrial-Victorian/steampunk visual style of the Iron Kingdoms as closely as I could and that meant trying to emulate old manual film cameras with fully automated modern gear.

The first thing I decided was to avoid black and white, but still stick to a muted pallet of browns and greens. Because I painted him in very drab colors, this wasn't so hard, really. The only thing I needed in Photoshop was a warming filter overlay.

The second thing I wanted was a funky vignette. I am a big fan of TTV, and the dirty, scratchy look is exactly what I'm going for.

Finally, I had to make sure the figure's base was hidden and looked natural. I think from now on, whenever I buy miniatures, I'm going to keep them off their bases unless I plan on playing with them. I'm starting to develop a complex because you never see any of my miniatures below the knees, because I can't find a way to disguise the base. In any event, this time it worked out ok, but I think in the future, baseless is the way to go.

Shoot, this means I have to buy more miniatures. Just to paint...

Roll 2d6 + EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off, Did not fire

File Size: 862 kB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 1316
Image Height: 1460
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
Color Components: 3
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time (Modified): 2009:06:30 20:44:45
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2009:06:29 17:37:29-05:00
Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:06:29 17:37:29
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 4433.29532497149 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.60824742268 dpi
Custom Rendered: Normal
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Manual
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Standard
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:06:30 20:44:45-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type: D50
Measurement Observer: CIE 1931
Measurement Flare: 0.999%
Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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Sky and Sea 1

9:35 AM by , under ,

Sky and Sea (by ElDave)

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong :
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
The southward aye we fled.

-Excerpt from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The figure is the Jackal King, made by McFarlane Toys. I picked him up at KB Toys, but you may have a little trouble doing the same. I'm sure you can find him on Amazon or eBay?

All I did for this was set the figure down into the sands of Lake Michigan and snap shot after shot as the waves rolled over and around. Processing in Photoshop involved a quick contrast tweak to make all the cool details stand out. I think that's all I've got today. I just really, really like how this turned out. Oh hey, if you were so inclined, you can order prints of this photo HERE.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 37 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off, Did not fire

File Size: 6.6 MB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 3888
Image Height: 2592
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
Color Components: 3
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time (Modified): 2009:06:06 22:16:24
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2009:06:05 18:23:55-05:00
Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:06:05 18:23:55
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 4433.29532497149 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.60824742268 dpi
Custom Rendered: Normal
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Manual
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Standard
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:06:06 22:16:24-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type: D50
Measurement Observer: CIE 1931
Measurement Flare: 0.999%
Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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Salvage (2)

5:44 PM by , under , ,

Salvage (by ElDave)

UTINNI!

Jawas, courtesy of Wookieepedia:
Jawas were typically short rodent-like natives of Tatooine. They were passionate scavengers, seeking out technology for sale or trade in the deep deserts in their huge sandcrawler transports. A band of Jawas was responsible for locating C-3PO and R2-D2 and selling them to Luke Skywalker's uncle Owen Lars. Another tribe of Jawas, led by Tteel Kkak, found Jabba the Hutt's rancor. They had a reputation for swindling, as they had a penchant for selling old equipment such as outdated faulty droids to moisture farmers, however they were extremely passive beings, and hardly put up any resistance to colonists of their planet unlike the other natives the Sand People, instead seeing foreigners as an excellent business opportunity.

Short post today, I'm afraid.

Use the EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off, Did not fire

File Size: 3.6 MB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 2592
Image Height: 3888
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
Color Components: 3
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time (Modified): 2009:06:10 12:00:55
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2009:06:09 18:27:58-05:00
Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:06:09 18:27:58
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 4433.29532497149 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.60824742268 dpi
Custom Rendered: Normal
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Manual
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Standard
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:06:10 12:00:55-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type: D50
Measurement Observer: CIE 1931
Measurement Flare: 0.999%
Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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The Deep End (3)

5:42 AM by , under , ,

Pooltrooper (by ElDave)

You'd think being a Pooltrooper would be a desirable assignment, but you'd be wrong. Stormtroopers HATE getting wet.

I'm in the process of doing more work on my Store (you can see the widget over on the right), and I am really enjoying it. The original plan was to only sell 8x10 prints (keep it simple, right?), but after looking through the stores of various successful photogs, I really need to get off my behind and add different sizes and options. So watch this space, true believer. Good stuff is going in soon!

This battlestation is at full EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 54 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off, Did not fire

File Size: 2.1 MB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 3888
Image Height: 2592
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
Color Components: 3
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Date and Time (Modified): 2009:06:09 18:36:41
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
Exposure Program: Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original): 2009:06:09 18:36:41
Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:06:09 18:36:41
Metering Mode: Multi-segment
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 4433.295325 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.608247 dpi
Custom Rendered: Normal
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Manual
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Macro Mode: Normal
Self Timer: Off
Quality: Fine
Canon Flash Mode: Off
Continuous Drive: Single
Focus Mode: One-shot AF
Record Mode: JPEG
Canon Image Size: Large
Easy Mode: Manual
Digital Zoom: None
Contrast: Normal
Saturation: Normal
Sharpness: 0
Metering Mode: Evaluative
Focus Range: Not Known
Canon Exposure Mode: Aperture-priority AE
Lens Type: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Long Focal: 55 mm
Short Focal: 18 mm
Focal Units: 1
Max Aperture: 5.6
Min Aperture: 32
Flash Activity: 0
Flash Bits: (none)
Focus Continuous: Single
Zoom Source Width: 0
Zoom Target Width: 0
Photo Effect: Off
Manual Flash Output: n/a
Color Tone: Normal
Focal Type: Zoom
Focal Plane XSize: 23.04 mm
Focal Plane YSize: 15.37 mm
Auto ISO: 100
Base ISO: 100
Measured EV: 6.75
Target Aperture: 5.7
Target Exposure Time: 1/102
White Balance: Cloudy
Slow Shutter: None
Sequence Number: 0
Optical Zoom Code: n/a
Flash Guide Number: 0
Flash Exposure Comp: 0
Auto Exposure Bracketing: Off
AEBBracket Value: 0
Control Mode: Camera Local Control
Focus Distance Upper: 0.35
Focus Distance Lower: 0.46
Bulb Duration: 0
Camera Type: EOS Mid-range
Auto Rotate: None
NDFilter: Unknown (-1)
Self Timer2: 0
Flash Output: 0
Canon Firmware Version: Firmware 1.1.1
Serial Number: 1220842575
Canon Model ID: EOS Digital Rebel XTi / 400D / Kiss Digital X (and rare K236)
Num AFPoints: 9
Valid AFPoints: 9
AFArea Width: 78
AFArea Height: 78
Original Decision Data Offset: 0
File Number: 126-4578
Bracket Mode: Off
Bracket Value: 0
Bracket Shot Number: 0
Noise Reduction: Off
WBBracket Mode: Off
WBBracket Value AB: 0
WBBracket Value GM: 0
Filter Effect: None
Toning Effect: None
Lens Model: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Internal Serial Number: H1858035
Dust Removal Data: (Binary data 1024 bytes, use -b option to extract)
Tone Curve: Standard
Sharpness Frequency: n/a
Sensor Red Level: 0
Sensor Blue Level: 0
White Balance Red: 0
White Balance Blue: 0
Color Temperature: 5200
Picture Style: Faithful
Digital Gain: 0
WBShift AB: 0
WBShift GM: 0
Color Space: sRGB
VRDOffset: 0
Sensor Width: 3948 (52-3939 used)
Sensor Height: 2622 (23-2614 used)
Black Mask Left Border: 0
Black Mask Top Border: 0
Black Mask Right Border: 0
Black Mask Bottom Border: 0
White Balance RGGB Levels: 2461 1024 1024 1382
Color Temperature: 6000
WB_ RGGBLevels Measured: 2215 1023 1024 1578
Color Temp Measured: 5011
WB_ RGGBLevels Custom: 1910 1024 1024 1594
Color Temp Custom: 4535
Set Button Cross Keys Func: Set: Picture Style
Long Exposure Noise Reduction: Off
Flash Sync Speed Av: Auto
Shutter- AELock: AF/AE lock
AFAssist Beam: Emits
Exposure Level Increments: 1/3 Stop
Mirror Lockup: Disable
ETTLII: Evaluative
Shutter Curtain Sync: 1st-curtain sync
Magnified View: Image playback only
LCDDisplay At Power On: Display
Compression: JPEG (old-style)

Be good,
-Dave



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Last weekend was unbelievably rainy here in Chicago, so we, thinking we were clever, decided to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory for a photo outing inside and away from the storms. As it turns out, greenhouse roofs, over the course of the century it has been standing, start to leak. Everywhere.

There were the usual gawkers and the occasional stink eye from people wondering what we were doing, but the rain inside made things more uncomfortable than having to explain why I had action figures out. The bright spot was this shot of a Cygnaran Ironclad. For those of you unfamiliar with it, and Warmachine in general, here is a synopsis from Warmachine: Prime:

The most recognized heavy 'jack in the Cygnaran arsenal, the Ironclad is a walking behemoth of metal nearly thrice the size of a man. Gigantic smokestacks blow sooty "breath" from its hearthfire furnace, and a bright orange glow emits from its face grill, lending a fiery and fearsome gaze.

Armed with a powerful quake hammer, the Ironclad smashes lesser combatants to shrapnel with its massive blows; sometimes just one strike from this hammer has toppled even another heavy 'jack. The Ironclad's durable armor - smelted from precious ores harvested from the roots of the tallest mountains - provides fantastic protection from all but the heaviest impacts, and because of these things, the Cygnaran Ironclad is renowned for leading most warjack charges.


Here is the original, straight out of the camera.
Ironclad (Original) (by ElDave)

I love how it looks, but I thought I could do it one better. Shift the colors around and make it more dramatic. Make it's furnace glow. Darken the edges. Add contrast. Cover up the little spots where the paint had chipped. Ok, not so much that last one.

The final edit:
Ironclad (Final) (by ElDave)

You know, I have so much fun shooting these miniatures. I wonder if there is a gaming manufacturer in the Chicago area that needs a photographer?

You. Will. EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 400
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File Size: 3.0 MB
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Canon Image Size: Large
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Sharpness: 0
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Canon Exposure Mode: Aperture-priority AE
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Focal Units: 1
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Sensor Red Level: 0
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WBShift GM: 0
Color Space: sRGB
VRDOffset: 0
Sensor Width: 3948 (52-3939 used)
Sensor Height: 2622 (23-2614 used)
Black Mask Left Border: 0
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Black Mask Right Border: 0
Black Mask Bottom Border: 0
White Balance RGGB Levels: 2461 1024 1024 1382
Color Temperature: 6000
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Set Button Cross Keys Func: Set: Picture Style
Long Exposure Noise Reduction: Off
Flash Sync Speed Av: Auto
Shutter- AELock: AF/AE lock
AFAssist Beam: Emits
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Mirror Lockup: Disable
ETTLII: Evaluative
Shutter Curtain Sync: 1st-curtain sync
Magnified View: Image playback only
LCDDisplay At Power On: Display
Compression: JPEG (old-style)

Be good,
-Dave



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When was the last time you stayed up all night, just because you wanted to? I've never had much luck staying up late, much less all night. My brain actually turns off at the stroke of midnight. I lose the ability to speak, I can't smile, and I'm generally a miserable person overall. Last Thursday night we decided to get up early and go see the sunrise, but somehow the conversation came around to, "We should just stay awake. It'll be easier".

I don't drink coffee, so I was downing tea like a fish in water. When that stopped working I brought out the big gun: Yerba Mate. This stuff is a lifesaver! While I was drinking it, not only was I awake, but I was alert and functional.

We arrived at the beach just a few minutes before sunrise, grabbed all of the gear out of the car and started snapping away. I was out of Yerba Mate at this point, but thanks to Chicago's lake effect, it was... brisk, so I had no trouble staying awake.

Sunrise (by ElDave)

After the beach, we stopped in to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the animals. Early mornings are usually the best time to go, since the animals seem more active and alert than during the rest of the day. Except the lion. And me. It was at this point that my ability to frame a shot completely deteriorated. At one point I was trying to line up a mosaic on the front of the Big Cat House, and I think I nodded off looking through the eyepiece.

What? I already had one eye closed!

Lion (by ElDave)
Lioness (by ElDave)

We debated going straight to the beach, since we were already out. Or at least I think we did. I may have dreamed that part. At any rate, we came home for a short 6 hour nap. Feeling refreshed, we loaded all our gear (ok, my action figures) into the car and spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach.

Abe Sapien (by ElDave)
Seashell (by ElDave)

All in all, it was a great day. It felt like we were teenagers again, except with naps!

What do you say, Wage? Did you have a good day?

Plastic 52 - Week  (by ElDave)

Be good,
-Dave



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We interrupt your regular photoblog (0)

12:44 PM by , under

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to drop in here and let everyone know that the new store is live and ready to go!

El Dave on Etsy

There probably won't be many toy shots, due to me not wanting to bother with copyright issues, but my goal is to add high-quality prints of some of my best photos. There will be a widget in the sidebar soon, but in the meantime, check it out and let me know what you think!



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Weekend Review (2)

8:12 AM by , under , , ,

Wow. What. A. Weekend.

As I said last time, I was looking forward to getting out to see new things and hang out with other photographers, and man did I hit the jackpot on both. Saturday I went with the Chicago Science Field Trips Club to visit Yerkes Observatory up in Wisconsin. Not only had I never been there, I had never heard of such a place! With as many astronomical luminaries that have been there (along with it's association with the University of Chicago and the White City Exposition), I am ashamed of my negligence.

A quick refresher, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Yerkes Observatory, which calls itself "the birthplace of modern astrophysics,", is an astronomical observatory operated by the University of Chicago in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. It was created in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes. The observatory represented a shift in the thinking of observatories, from mere housing for a telescope and observer, to the modern concept of observation equipment integrated with laboratory space for physics and chemistry. A 102 cm (40 inch) refracting telescope built by the master optician Alvan Clark is located inside. It is the largest refracting telescope used for scientific research (a larger demonstration refractor, the Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900, was exhibited at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900).

In addition to the Yerkes refractor, the observatory also houses 102 cm (40 inch, referred to as the "41 inch" to prevent confusion) and 61 cm (24 inch) reflecting telescopes. Several smaller telescopes are used for educational outreach purposes.

Current research includes the interstellar medium, globular cluster formation, infrared astronomy, and near-Earth objects. Additionally, the University of Chicago maintains a sizable engineering center in the observatory, dedicated to making and maintaining scientific instruments. As of May 2007, the engineers are working on the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC), which will be an integral part of Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

Not only does it have the scientific chops, the building itself is beautiful. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

Yerkes Observatory (by ElDave)

And that's just the front door. I ended up with over 400 photos of this place, but I'll spare you having to sort through them all. I will be adding a few a day to my Flickr, if you are so interested.

Ok, so maybe one more.

Waiting for Dark (by ElDave)

On Sunday, April and I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the Nature Photographer's Meetup. We got up bright and early and got to the garden around 7:30 (we would've gotten there a little earlier, but you know, breakfast). The botanic garden is a great place to begin with, but when you throw in the great people we met, it was all the better.

While I did take over 300 shots (seriously, when did I start doing this? I'm usually a done in one kind of guy), I did manage to sneak in a few toy shots ever so slyly.

Regult (by ElDave)

Not only did I meet lots of great people, go to new and great places, and take a ton of pictures...

I jumped back into Plastic 52.

Plastic 52 (by ElDave)

Be good,
-Dave



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Cobra Commander (by ElDave)

Cobra Commander's bio, courtesy of Joepedia:

Not much is known of the background of the man many call the Cobra Commander. What we can only tell is how he works and how he thinks. We know that he has deliberately started political and social conflict in a number of areas. He has amassed an army by recruiting displaced people, promising them money, power and a chance to get back at the world that hurt them. In return, he demands that they swear absolute loyalty to his cause. What is his cause? World domination.

Cobra Commander does not delude himself by justifying his actions as matters of principles or glory. He knows he does it for control and power. He is ruthless, hatred-personified and totally obsessed. A meticulous person, he likes to personally oversee vital projects himself, even engaging in military combat himself on occasion.

It's coming up on summer here in Chicago, and that has me feeling optimistic. I'm hoping for some Flickr meets, my Lovely Assistant and I have joined a couple photography groups on Meetup, and I'm in the process of opening up a new webstore so those interested can buy prints of my photos. On top of all that, I was asked to be one of the photographers for the Windy City Comicon in September!

So, yeah. I'm feeling good.

Cursssse you GI:EXIF!
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/500)
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Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Standard
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:05:13 13:43:48-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
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Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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Stillness (2)

11:51 AM by , under , , ,

Stillness (by ElDave)

"Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires."
— Lao Tsu

Gen's biography, courtesy of Strategy Wiki:

Gen is one of the Chinese opponents in the original Street Fighter. He is first introduced as a selectable character in Street Fighter Alpha 2. Gen is the only Street Fighter character that can change fighting styles in mid fight. He is known for his quote in English, spoken to a defeated opponent: "You are a big fool!" Incidentally, Gen says this before his final battle against M. Bison in Alpha 3.

Gen was produced by SOTA Toys and may still be available in stores or online.

One of the things I'm constantly working on is how to balance a photo. What I mean is, how to get the poses just right, are the characters in proportion to their background, am I following the rule of thirds, etc. etc. etc.

Despite being a photographer for going on 4 years now (I can hear more experienced photographers chuckling), framing still doesn't feel natural to me. I have the hardest time looking through the viewfinder and deciding what looks best. My mind is too clouded by all the things I've been taught, and I'm full of questions. "Is the light right?" "Is the angle good?" More accurately, I should say that I'm full of doubt. "I don't think the light is right." "I don't think the angle is good."

When I relax and shoot from the hip, the doubts vanish. Vanish isn't the right word... It's more like they were never there in the first place. I hold the camera up, don't bother looking at what I'm shooting, and click. Instead of trying to take a good picture, it's more like a game. It's fun!

I told you all of that to explain today's shot. April and I were at the Chicago Botanic Garden (as we often are) and we stopped at the fountains near the bonsai trees. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I took Gen out of my bag, dipped him in the water, then struggled with his weak ankles to get him to pose in the water. People looked on in amazement as a grown man played with his toys in the fountain while I tried framing my shot. After snapping several I wasn't happy with, I gave up and fired a few "from the hip", including the one that started this post, which was what I WANTED to get when I was looking through the viewfinder.

Maybe Lao Tsu was on to something.

Here's a funny joke about EXIF!:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 55 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Off

File Size: 4.2 MB
File Type: JPEG
MIME Type: image/jpeg
Image Width: 2592
Image Height: 3888
Encoding Process: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample: 8
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X-Resolution: 72 dpi
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Date and Time (Modified): 2009:05:13 13:41:34
YCbCr Positioning: Co-sited
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Date and Time (Digitized): 2009:05:03 10:42:47
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Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 4453.60824742268 dpi
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Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Manual
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
Global Angle: 30
Global Altitude: 30
Copyright Flag: False
Photoshop Quality: 12
Photoshop Format: Standard
Progressive Scans: 3 Scans
XMPToolkit: Adobe XMP Core 4.1-c036 46.276720, Mon Feb 19 2007 22:40:08
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
Metadata Date: 2009:05:13 13:41:34-05:00
Creator Tool: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Format: image/jpeg
Color Mode: 3
ICCProfile Name: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type: D50
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Measurement Illuminant: D65
Color Transform: YCbCr
Flash Return: No return detection
Flash Mode: Off
Flash Function: False
Flash Red Eye Mode: False

Be good,
-Dave



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