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Photographing long rifles
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October 16, 2021 - 3:36 pm
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How do you do it to get a shot of the entire rifle that is acceptable.  To do it what I see is you stand way back, get little detail, and there is way too much background trying to fit a linear object in a more squarish photograph.

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October 16, 2021 - 4:19 pm
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mrcvs said
How do you do it to get a shot of the entire rifle that is acceptable.  

Impossible to see much detail unless you’re using a big view camera & making wall-size prints.  Better to divide up gun into shots covering no more than about a foot of its length.

But if you think full-length rifle photography is difficult, consider the problem of antique 10′ or 12′ fly rods, which I’ve had to photograph!

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October 16, 2021 - 8:00 pm
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You use a high resolution camera (not a cell phone) with optical zoom not digital on a tripod with a back drop  to cover behind the gun. Take the photo at its highest resolution then crop the picture to remove the unwanted stuff off the sides of the back drop. Then you are left with a fairly good resolution picture of the gun. You don’t want to do like some gag banger did that took a pictures of an item to sell online but also captured his crack pipe and cocaine on the coffee table.  The police were the first to respond to his ad.

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October 16, 2021 - 9:01 pm
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I lay the background material on my patio floor in the shade.  I stand on a chair or a step ladder.  I do use my DSLR camera.  I then crop the picture.

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October 16, 2021 - 11:38 pm
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Chuck said
I lay the background material on my patio floor in the shade.  I stand on a chair or a step ladder.  I do use my DSLR camera.  I then crop the picture.  

Still don’t see how that would allow close-up detail to be revealed, which was the problem mrcvs was talking about; cropping balances the photo, but can’t improve resolution of detail. 

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October 17, 2021 - 1:26 am
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clarence said

Still don’t see how that would allow close-up detail to be revealed, which was the problem mrcvs was talking about; cropping balances the photo, but can’t improve resolution of detail.   

It allows you to zoom in and see the detail if your looking at a jpeg just like some auction sites but there is a limit to how much you can zoom in before you lose detail. It all depends on the resolution of the camera.  If your looking at a printed pictures or can’t blow it up then there is no way to see the detail. The only way to see more detail with a printed picture is print it in a larger format. mrvs didn’t say what the end photo would be i.e. printed or digital.  Of course the best way to see better detail is doing closeups.To answer his second part, you can’t fit a rectangle into a square without shrinking the rectangle. How I worked around this is I made a coffee table book with many of my Winchesters, printed on heavy stock photo paper that is 13″ x 19″ using a large format ink jet printer. I have pictures of the entire gun from both sides as well as closeups of the receivers and any other parts of interest. I used Photoshop to put them all together and then put the letter information on the picture as well. This one of them where I incorporated overall pictures with closeups.

Bob

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October 17, 2021 - 2:45 am
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Outstanding work, Bob, but you are obviously in possession of photographic & computer skills most of us lack.

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October 17, 2021 - 9:21 am
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1873man said

It allows you to zoom in and see the detail if your looking at a jpeg just like some auction sites but there is a limit to how much you can zoom in before you lose detail. It all depends on the resolution of the camera.  If your looking at a printed pictures or can’t blow it up then there is no way to see the detail. The only way to see more detail with a printed picture is print it in a larger format. mrvs didn’t say what the end photo would be i.e. printed or digital.  Of course the best way to see better detail is doing closeups.To answer his second part, you can’t fit a rectangle into a square without shrinking the rectangle. How I worked around this is I made a coffee table book with many of my Winchesters, printed on heavy stock photo paper that is 13″ x 19″ using a large format ink jet printer. I have pictures of the entire gun from both sides as well as closeups of the receivers and any other parts of interest. I used Photoshop to put them all together and then put the letter information on the picture as well. This one of them where I incorporated overall pictures with closeups.

Bob

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I want to read that coffee table book! Laugh

A man can never have too many WINCHESTERS...

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October 17, 2021 - 12:06 pm
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Aussie Chris said

I want to read that coffee table book! Laugh  

Yes.  And tell us more about that specific rifle.

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October 17, 2021 - 2:30 pm
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I don’t have a back story to the gun. All I have is the gun and the letter. I bought it at Tulsa. I would need the place it was sent to have a chance to figure out who the it was for. The only thing I can tell you is a monogram gun is rare. Out of over 19,000 guns I have in my survey only 12 have monograms.

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October 18, 2021 - 12:56 am
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Bob – regarding your monogram rifle – beautiful rifle and beautifully photographed.  A joy to behold.

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October 18, 2021 - 4:39 pm
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Here is a picture to zoom.  This was a 4 mb picture but when posted here it was reduced to 1.3 mb.

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October 18, 2021 - 6:43 pm
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Chuck,

Its still a 5.56 mb picture just that the upload process compresses the file so its quicker to upload and download.

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October 18, 2021 - 8:47 pm
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That’s a very decent looking flatside.

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October 21, 2021 - 4:22 am
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mrcvs said
How do you do it to get a shot of the entire rifle that is acceptable.  To do it what I see is you stand way back, get little detail, and there is way too much background trying to fit a linear object in a more squarish photograph.  

I would use a tripod as Bob recommended, for sure for entire length photos unless you are super steady.  If your current camera has some different options or modes, you might try aperture mode with the tripod.  I’m not trained or technical and can only give some suggestions based on an embarrassing number of shots that didn’t work over a few years.

You can close the distance by orientating the rifle corner to corner, not across the horizontal view, especially when you get beyond short rifles and carbines.  You might use a broom stick or other item of similar length to set up a location ahead of time.  I like outdoors with shade or overcast.  Set up the camera to at least take some of the photos of the firearm with the camera completely straight on without a directional perspective.  I zoom in slightly with the camera to limit ahead of time what Adobe Photoshop calls “geometric distortion,” or remove the curvature later with the software.  I use a plain background, either gray vinyl flooring rolled out or even a gray gun show table cloth, usually if I plan to remove the background with Adobe Photoshop.  If not, neutral colored wood or plywood/veneer can work, or stone, moss, etc. that doesn’t distract from the firearm–at least to start.  Avoid strong colors that might leave a reflection on the firearm surfaces, especially if you plan to eventually remove the background.  Lighting is critical and glare can be a challenge.  I’ve set up in shade and didn’t like the results at first.  Waiting a few hours made all of the difference, especially in how bluing appears in the final image.   

There are quite a few rifle images in the Model 1895 book that were shot this way, either full rifle or detail images, with some of the detail images also being shot indoors on the same background but under natural light, usually in winter.  Tim T. can verify on some of those outdoor rifle shots for the book.  The cover of the Fall magazine for the last four years was shot outside of the Cody Show, in the shade on a sunny morning.  I have what’s probably an old camera now, a refurbished Nikon Coolpix P7800, and the detail could be better, but the Featured Winchester in the Fall magazine was shot for the most part as I describe, along with the cover as mentioned, and many of the detail shots in the Tips on Buying and Old Winchester articles, and others.  Hopefully this information is helpful to get what you’re after.  

Regards

Brad Dunbar

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October 21, 2021 - 4:34 am
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clarence said
 

Outstanding work, Bob, but you are obviously in possession of photographic & computer skills most of us lack.  

And, Bob is in possession of one hell of a 73 rifle!

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October 21, 2021 - 4:58 am
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Good post Brad,

I never thought to do the shot angled. After reading your post I realized my tripod has a all axis tilting so I could keep the gun level but tilt the camera and then do the crop and rotate to make it look right. The other thing I do is hook up my camera to my laptop so I can see the results after every shot. Many times I pick up a out of focus and can retake the shot right away. I use a Cannon SLR EOS 20D which is a old camera now but takes good photos. I use a macro zoom to take photos of stamps and engraving and then a 17-85mm with image stabilization for the regular shots.

Burt,

Thanks for the compliment. I bought it at Tulsa. The guy was going to sell it at auction but after seeing it and how rare a monogram is I had to buy it.

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October 21, 2021 - 4:46 pm
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I too have an old Canon 7D.  I take a picture of each side of every gun I have owned.  I’m not really looking for excellent pictures but ones I can put in my inventory records.  I use Photoshop Elements and this is hard enough for me to use.  I need to take a night school class.  I can’t imagine what it would take to become good at the full version of Photoshop or Lightroom. 

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