Saturday, July 19, 2014

Map of the world traveling artworks from my Etsy shop....

You've hit 7 countries

  1. Australia (11)
  2. Canada (5)
  3. Israel (1)
  4. Japan (1)
  5. Philippines (1)
  6. United Kingdom (1)
  7. United States (351)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Digital photography... "You don't take a photograph, you make it" Ansel Adams

Making a product photograph involves using your eyes, heart, mind and finally the photography equipment to create an image that will represent the art object in an appealing way... with colors as accurate as you can get them and lots of sharp details...and the object arranged in a way that is interesting and eye catching without being distracting.

I like to get as close to the finished image that i can with adjustments to the lighting and the camera even though some editing is certain to take place after the shoot.
I'm using a small camera, Canon SX510HS, which is more than a point and shoot but not an SLR with interchangeable lenses. There are lots of controls in the camera to adjust things like the density, vividness and color balance.
I use these in camera adjustments to create an image on the screen on the back of the camera that is as close to accurate. I look carefully at the object and then at the screen to see how closely the images are matched up.

the art object is placed on the table where the white to black turns to grey. i like the foreground to be white so the object goes right where the grey begins.
I look through the camera to create an appealing arrangement of the image showing all the details that i want. This always take some moving up and down with the camera, looking at the object with my eyes until i find the best angle and then looking at the camera image to see if i can get that same thing in the camera. When that's done sometimes i use a tripod.

I have my single light attached to a light stand. I turn it on and then turn off all the other lights in the room. This just takes care of most color balance problems. I was shooting in another room in my house with green walls. This really created all kinds of color balance problems. But then that was before i made this foam board set up.
The light shines down through the the diffusion screen on top of the set up. But not straight down onto the object. I like to bathe the front of the object with light (not just the top) the light is like a paint brush that i move around to "paint light" onto the object. I look at the image in the camera and move the light around until everything is illuminated nicely. I hold the light there with one hand and take the shot. Pretty simple really.

"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" Matt Hardy

new pieces...

new pieces just out of the kiln and photographed using the set up described earlier.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Digital photography....Lighting Set up

Ok, my many followers are asking about this. Well, at least one of you are, so here it is! Thanks for asking, Deborah. It's nice to know someone is actually reading my blog!

#1- Backdrop is graduated vinyl sheet available from

#2 - Backdrop is attached to wooden dowel with duct tape.

#3- Foam board used for house insulation. This is the kind with a silver reflective at Home Depot or any building supply. it comes is 4' x 8' sheets. cut it into 2 - 24" x 24" pieces for the sides. The back piece needs to be 24" tall and as wide as your backdrop plus an inch. Duck tape it together.
Make a notch about an inch from the back upper corners so that you can rest the dowel there.

#4- collapsable disk made of translucent fabric to diffuse the light. (The is a photo equipment item) This rests on top of the set up. Also available from Amazon.

#5- And last, but very important, a light source that is color corrected. I use a high wattage CFL like this one also at Amazon.

KAEZI 85 Watt Studio Light Bulb 5500K CFL Day Light.
This keeps the colors true in the picture. Turn off all the other lights in the room while shooting. Daylight coming in windows is OK to mix with this light. It is good to put this on a light stand. 

Ok , that's my set up. It is easy to take down and move out of the way. The foam board just folds up. The dowel i keep attached to the backdrop and just unroll it to use it. 

Next I'll post some tips about how to use this set up. Have fun ; )

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How product photography....the camera

I've been sharing bits of "how to" info from time to time. When is say "how to", i just mean how i do things. Not that this the one and only way to do a thing. Far from it. Humans are creative by their very nature and as a consequence there are as many ways to do things as there are humans in this world .Yay!!! So here is my "how to" do product photography.

Once upon a time in the long long ago past i did this product photography thing professionally. I had all sorts of expensive equipment. I had several 4x5 large format cameras, medium format and 35mm film cameras with changeable backs, all kinds of lenses, heavy duty strobe lighting, soft boxes, light stands, special light meters for reading the color of light and on and on. It was quit a physical work out to just set up for a shoot. And very expensive to buy the equipment and expensive just to buy and develop all that film.

But i sold all that equipment 20+ years ago to help me get started on my clay art career.

And now we have this wonderful Digital form of photography. Digital photography has made this wonderful world of photography accessible to everyone who has a phone with a camera ; )
And now the quality of the digital images has reached a new level closely approximating the quality of film. I remember sitting in a profession workshop hearing about the new digital cameras on their way and how LONG it would be before they were good enough to be used professionally.

Well, digital photography has been used professionally for some time now. And now it's possible buy for a comparatively very modest amount of money a camera that can shoot images that are very sharp, clear, with accurate colors and useful for all sorts of professional applications. Of course you can spends lots of money on a digital camera, too. And you can have pictures shot by a professional photographer. But maybe you require lots of good photographs. I have right now 74 pieces of art in my Etsy shop. Each item has 4-5 photographs from various angles and closeups. It would be really expensive to get everything shot professionally. The photos currently in my Etsy shop were shot before this new camera that i will be talking about here.

So, i do my own photographs. And i'm going to share with you how i do this. I hope it is helpful and i also hope that i can get some tips and ideas from all of you who do your own photograph as well.

The camera

I just got this little point and shoot camera made by Canon that i am really quite happy with. It's a PowerShot SX510 HS. Here is a picture that i just shot last night with it.


I used the macro setting for this shot. This cat is about 8" tall and the camera is close in, about 12" away. I used a little table top tripod to keep the camera stable to prevent image blur. I also used the self timer to eliminate any movement that could happen when my finger touches the shutter button. I used to use a cable release back in the day ; ) I may still have one of those relics around somewhere. weird.

I selected the "large"( L) image size. There is a super fine image possibility for even more digits.

Speed: I chose ISO 80. I believe this creates an image with less "grain" even in a digital camera. Not really sure what ISO means in a digital camera but it used to mean film speed. The faster (higher number) film speeds could be used in low light situations. The high speed films had more light sensitive material (silver) embedded in the film. These bits of silver were visible in the finished picture as "grain".  So for a sharp picture you want to have more light on the subject and use the slowest film speed available. In this camera, the slowest speed is ISO 80. That's pretty good.

I used to use Kodachrome 64.

Next week: 

Lighting set up. Simple make it yourself deal.

A few more shots from the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kiln firing...

The kiln is cooling down from a 20 hour firing. It's about 1100 degrees right now.... I'm always eager to see how things look inside but have to wait until later on this evening for it to be cool enough to open.  ( 200 degrees )  The computerized kiln i use lets me choose the details of a sequence of firing segments. Here is how it looks for a combination bisque and glaze firing of small pieces. this has been working for me pretty well as far as not having things crack or explode in the kiln. But i never really know for sure until i open it up and see what the fire has created.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ancient Owl and Beauty Bird Dreaming Spring...

     Ancient Owl ruffled her feathers as she 
     felt the rainbow wind touch her and said 
     to Beauty Bird "Oh how i love Spring... 
     Mother Earth is dreaming Spring into 
     being again. Feel it? Whoooooo!"

Beauty Bird chirped excitedly "Oh yes, 
so many times She has brought Springtime 
around the wheel again! Chirp! chirp! I feel 
Spring flowing through my hollow bones. 
How sweetly Mother Earth loves 
all her children". 

    "And her patience with us opens my heart. 
     Especially her patience with 
     those two leggeds."

"Well, they are the new comers here 
with so much to learn...just wish they 
would let us teach them how to 
listen to Mother."

    "Whooooo! Look there is one now 
     sitting outside. I'm gonna go show 
     myself to her and see if 
     she can hear me yet" be continued...

New owls going into my Etsy shop today...

Friday, March 21, 2014

new spring look...

i could spend hours playing with graphic design of my look for Facebook, Pinterest, etsy, google. in fact i have to tear myself away from playing with pic monkey today.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

mugs, something new.

i'm experimenting with making some functional pieces for my own use.
some mugs
and containers

i have another larger container going into the next glaze kiln firing.  i want to make some plates and bowls, too. these are just for fun, slab built with a black gloss glaze inside and matte glaze on the outside. i stuck a few metal tacks on the handles and bands on the outside....reminds me of the tin + rivets creations i experimented with a few years ago. the tacks do not go all the way through to the inside of course. wouldn't want them to spring a leak since they are "functional" pottery.  its nice to just stretch and do something different. and besides, i was ready for some new dishes : )

 i've been enjoying drinking tea from them. (they work!)