29 Nov A Little Bit O’ This And A Little Bit O’ That
This post is written in memory of my friend, Ron Frank, who loved his shop and the goods he sold in it*. In particular he loved mechanical things…if it twisted, opened, turned, ratcheted, or swivelled, he was onto it.
The business of small table illustration for me has always been a tale of a lot of hard work in a very small area. This is also the case for the people who do jewellery shots, cataloguing, scientific work, and medical imaging. Even more so for the macro and micro workers. Large-scale photographers and those who work in big swirling people images have no idea how much trouble there is in getting the tiny world in focus…or of some of the language we use while doing it.
The chiefest problem is always to get depth of field in short-range subjects. Ye canna change the laws of optics, Captain, and those laws say that the closer you go, the shallower your depth of field is going to be. Increase your focal length or widen your aperture and you make it ever so much worse. There are compromises you make, reluctantly, with sensor size and illumination to gain every extra part of a millimetre.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes you admit that you’ll need to make multiple shots and stitch them together. Then you go to the internet and look at the especial rigs that can do this automatically, plus their associated computer programs…and the language worsens. But there is hope- because you can often do several shots and stitch them together with fairly simple programs. With luck you can overlap the good bits and come out with a solution. However, you need some way to move through your subject’s focus range to do it – and you need to move accurately.
This is where the Kiwi focus platform comes in. You have an infinitely careful degree of motion both back to front and side to side when you are near the subject. You can measure in millimetres and then repeat it if necessary. When ready to shoot, you can lock the thing steady. You still need the services of a good tripod and head and a firm base to set those tripod legs on, but that final fillup of precise movement is possible with this rig.
It isn’t expensive, either…in fact model makers who use power grinders to mill things for their locomotives and steam engines might also look at this sort of a platform as something they could adapt to their interests.
* He also loved a lot of goods that unfortunately never sold. But now they are coming into their own as museum pieces.