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More on hamons.. Using black to 'highlight'


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OK, here is a perfect example of using a black reflector to 'highlight' something. In this case, Nick Wheeler has a beautiful bowie with a very highly polished blade. When you hold it and twist it in the light, there is this mysterious hamon that has clouds and lots to enjoy. :D

 

Let's look at it now with my normal lightbox setup.... ;)

 

orig.jpg

 

Huh????!!!! That doesn't show ANYTHING. :( What are you talking about??!

 

OK, let's try it again--this time holding a 6"x24" piece of black 1/4" foamboard over it inside the light tent just to shield the light right up to the handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

orig.jpg

 

Ahhh-HA! that's the ticket!

 

This was especially effective because of the high degree of polish. Not as dramatic when there is a satin finish.

 

Really cool to see the before and after shots.

 

Coop

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Hey,

 

I'm go fer a guess. Lets see, it seems to me that you hi-lighted the edge and part of the spine. Am I right? :261:

 

If I am, it really isn't noticeable unless you look for it. B)

 

I don't think It's the leaves Glenn.

Edited by Bob Ouellette
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What are Oxides....???! Nope.

 

I just showed my wife. She didn't get it either, and she knows ALL my tricks... ;)

 

Once I showed her she remembered, though. Defying the laws of physics...

 

Coop

Edited by SharpByCoop
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Its gotta be that you raised the blade up off the surface that you had it laying on. The shadow extends too far from the tip to have it resting on the surface... this would go along with "dark" and "Defying the laws of physics..." Thats gotta be it. If not my head is going to explode :banghead: :wacko: :banghead: :wacko:

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I'm curious did you shot this digital or film?

 

Was there any other Photoshop work other than piecing the two images together?

 

The only thing I can think of is how you may have shaded the blade and not the surface it's resting on. Did you have to "dodge" these areas?

 

Come on tell us, tell us, tell us.

 

Andy

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maybe the light angle is changed..... like it was mentioned... the shadow in the ricasso has moved out abit... so maybe the light is coming in towards the spine...

 

 

if not.......then i'm confuzzled bout this one... :blink:

 

 

Greg

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Its gotta be that you raised the blade up off the surface that you had it laying on.  The shadow extends too far from the tip to have it resting on the surface... this would go along with "dark" and "Defying the laws of physics..."  Thats gotta be it.  If not my head is going to explode  :banghead:  :wacko:  :banghead:  :wacko:

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RIght you are!

 

In order to extend the defining shadow all the way to the tip without losing it at the radius, I simply prop up the tip an 1/4" or so with a wad of masking tape.

 

It only appears odd if you stare and look for it. Otherwise it HELPS the overall image.

 

Thanks for the patience!

 

Coop

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Woo Hoo! I guess this is one thread that Tai can't win with his injuries :lol: Those clues really helped... otherwise, it would be completely unnoticeable. I'm gonna have to try that some time. :D

 

Keep on rockin' us with the great pics :ylsuper: B)

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I'm curious did you shot this digital or film?

 

Was there any other Photoshop work other than piecing the two images together?

 

The only thing I can think of is how you may have shaded the blade and not the surface it's resting on.  Did you have to "dodge" these areas?

 

Come on tell us, tell us, tell us.

 

Andy

29655[/snapback]

It's all digital, Andy. I merged the two images and increased the contrast a bit. Nothing crazy or unrealistic at all.

 

(Canon EOS-20D/ Tamron 28-75 lens with polarizing filter)

 

Coop

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Great photo work!

 

One of the things I find interesting about knife photography is its inaccuracies.

 

What I mean by that is the fact that neither photo above really captures what the knife truly looks like. The first picture captures the overall finish of the blade more accurately, showing the light, satin finish but shows no hamon.

 

The second photo shows the hamon beautifully but distorts the finish of the blade, making it appear darker and less uniform than it probably really is.

 

That is all speculation, of course, since I've never seen the blade firsthand. But for someone who has no chance to hold the knife in their hands, to be able to get a sense for what the blade looks like both photos are needed. But I think most knife makers out there that go to the trouble of getting top-notch photos taken of their blades usually opt for the one that shows the hamon.

 

Just some food for thought, I guess.

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Hi Aaron. Good points. I understand you completely and agree.

 

The trouble is in the case of this knife, the hamon is like pearl--it comes alive when you move it. It is VERY hard to capture a static image that covers all aspects.

 

Believe me, I was studying this in harsh light for a while trying to understand how clearly I could see it on the brink of a direct light reflection. Just outside of the main reflection was the 'cloudy line' that is the essence of a good hamon. I knew there WAS a light direction method that would capture that, but actually doing it was the challenge.

 

Look at the Japanese swords and that crazy black lighting they use to embellish a hamon. Frankly, it is fairly unrealistic, because anything BUT this special lighting does not show us this degree of hamon. But it is a 'standard' of photographing this work.

 

In the past I have settled for a mild darker line, and left it at that. The feedback that I hear and get from my clients, is they work HARD to capture the subtle aspects of a hamon, and really wish that to be a highlight. It is not wholly unrealistic, because if you hold and rotate this knife, it is there--very evident.

 

I think Don has a 'before/after' image of a hamon on his site somewhere that shows just how fleetimng this whole aspect is.

 

I wish I had all the answers for a 2-D image... :)

 

Coop

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I totally understand your goals and admire your ability to capture the hamon in a still, 2-D image like that. When I said that it is unrealistic I simply meant from the standpoint of the idea that when you highlight the hamon you alter the appearance of other parts of the knife from what they look like to the naked eye when held in one's hands.

 

Conversely, by capturing what the blade looks like to the naked eye when holding the blade in your hands you lose the hamon, which is, arguably, one of the most beautiful elements of the blade. It's a real balancing act.

 

Of course smiths are going to want the photographs to really show how dynamic their hamon can be--they put tons of effort into making them that way. I just find it interesting that these objects are so complex that no single photo seems to be able to capture accurately all the various aspects that they contain. A true photographic challenge.

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Of course smiths are going to want the photographs to really show how dynamic their hamon can be--they put tons of effort into making them that way.  I just find it interesting that these objects are so complex that no single photo seems to be able to capture accurately all the various aspects that they contain.  A true photographic challenge.

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And that just about covers it. :D

 

What I am most proud of is how *little* the black reflector detracted from the rest of the image. There are no big shadows and darker backgrounds. Selective darkening, if you will.

 

You can't have it all. I should try a little digital movie and rotate it in the light. THEN you might get the picture!

 

Coop

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Woo Hoo!  I guess this is one thread that Tai can't win with his injuries :lol: Those clues really helped... otherwise, it would be completely unnoticeable.  I'm gonna have to try that some time.  :D

 

Keep on rockin' us with the great pics :ylsuper:  B)

29672[/snapback]

 

:(

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I have a book of Japanese swords called "The Japanese Sword" with some of the best hamon photography I've ever seen. It looks like they were done inside a "black box" with controled lighting.

 

Great tip Coop!

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