So I’ve been using Instagram for quite a while now, especially for following pipe makers and artisans. I’m not really an avid smoker at all. But I really enjoy the occasional pipe bowl. Growing up, there was an old German named Arnold Schick who had a cabin across from ours at the lake. He smoked a pipe regularly and I will never forget how amazing that smell was. Captain Black he smoked. That aroma would waft hither and thither all over the valley where our cabin is. I loved that smell! It instantly brings back those great memories from the lake. Then Lord of the Rings came out. That didn’t help either! Pipes and pipe making are in a totally different ball park to me than cigarettes – which I detest and have no time for. Pipes have an aura of relaxation, taking things slow, enjoying the moments with friends, thinking and contemplation. Tolkien. Lewis. Bacon. Wise gentlemen who did great things and had pipes as their companions. I truly admire the amazing talent required to make pipes, following the naturally found shapes in the grain of the briar. Artisans! They are the last bastion of “not-made-in-China crap for the lowest dollar” goods available.
The pipe community on Instagram is remarkable. Companies and individuals are constantly giving away amazing prizes. Top quality stuff. I really do mean that! I entered one such give away that featured 4 companies. They all contributed awesome stuff and I was fortunate enough to get drawn! The draw was killer. An incredible hand made leather pipe roll from Kraken Pipe Leather, a tamper, stickers, pipe cleaners and El Niño tobacco from Low Born Supply, Sweet Tobacco face moisturizer/beard oil and Mechanic’s soap from Forge and Foundry, and a Patriot poker shape pipe from Moonshine Pipes! What an incredible prize pack! I was so stoked when I won and super thrilled today when it arrived! I wanted to say thank you to these amazing artisans by taking some photos of their wares and giving them a plug here on the ol’ blog. Thanks so much guys, you make amazing products. Keep up the fantastic work! 😎
For the camera nerd info, I shot all these photos using a 4 light setup. 3 speed lights and one monobloc. It’s a very strobist inspired look of hard rim light with soft fill. It’s not the typical “big soft big window” light of most product photography. But these products are edgy so I wanted to give the shots some edge and not just have big photocopier light. It was all shot with Nikon D800 using a 50mm and a 105mm macro lens. All triggered with pocket wizard plus x and optical slave mode. Cheers! 😎
I watched a documentary one time about Shaolin Monks. In the documentary, it showed them all doing super human things like balancing on one toe with 3 other monks on their shoulders, laying on a bed of nails without getting hurt, etc. And for recreation, they all balanced standing on each other in positions that would make Cirque du soleil jealous! To relax these people did this! Incredible! 😎
I think of Macro Photography in much the same light. For me, it’s a very nice, relaxing, fun kind of photography – that takes the utmost concentration! I’ve noticed it get even more challenging since I got the D800. The slightest movements of the subject render the shot out of focus, even at f/16. I think using DX for macro for so long I got used to the DX look of the photos. It appeared that more was in focus than with a full frame camera, but it’s not true. It’s that there is more photo there with a greater angle of view throwing more out of focus on the edges that simply isn’t there in DX. I put the D800 into DX crop mode and tried it out. Sure enough, both an FX frame and the DX crop frame had the same stuff in focus in the frame. It’s just that there was more in the D800 file to be out of focus. If that makes sense. 😀 Shoalin Camera Monk time! 😉
The name of the game today on this dark and dreary cesspool of flat light was macro lichen. It’s the little mosses that grow on trees. And no, they don’t only grow on the north side! 😉 heheehhee…… To me, these images look like an alien landscape, especially when you crop way in to 100%!