The Other Partizan 2014 – trials and tribulations of a new camera

The Other Partizan show, organised by the Newark Irregulars, was last Sunday. This is one of my local shows, so I usually try to attend.

This time, given that I missed the show earlier in the year, I thought I’d challenge my new camera to try and take some decent photos in the Dome of Kelham Hall – a location which is always somewhat challenging due to the low levels of natural light and dim artificial lighting. Despite having my tripod with me, the results were somewhat mixed.

Here are a few of the pics I took

Westbury Wargamers - 28mm Arthurian - The Battle of Gwen Ystrad

Westbury Wargamers – 28mm Arthurian – The Battle of Gwen Ystrad

You can immediately see that even in the more well lit areas of the show, exposure times were quite long. I tried some close-ups, with mixed success. This was the best:

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Note – I didn’t move the camera from the wide shot, but simply zoomed in, so I was quite pleased with how close to the action I could get.

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Trying the same trick with the “Phooey to Franco” Chain of Command Spanish Civil War game from Mansfield Wargames Club. This seemed to work too (I did adjust the angle slightly on this one)

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Others didn’t quite come off. I took several pictures of The Great War Miniatures WW1 game, and couldn’t quite work out why the results were so mixed…

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Whilst the close up of the German cavalry was I believe simply down to horrible light (cameras can’t work miracles) I was perplexed by the apparent shake taken with a tripod (something which had happened on several pictures that I’d taken) – until I realised what I’d done.

Kelham Hall is a somewhat cramped place to navigate at the best of times, so I was trying not to be in the way whilst taking pictures. As a result I wasn’t fully widening the legs of my tripod. To stop any possibility of it moving, I rested my hand on the apex of the legs. The trouble is, considering the exposure times were averaging between 3.5 – 4.5 seconds, I was inadvertently shaking the tripod with my hand, rather than using the golden rule of ‘press the shutter and step away’.

The picture of the Highlanders above is by far the best of this bunch, but had an exposure time of a whopping 6.5 seconds.

(It’s also worth noting that I had my film speed set to ISO 100 – really not best for the light conditions, although I was trying to avoid any issues with picture degradation due to ISO speed, so need to ensure I adjust that in future!)

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I was also struggling with the auto-focus at times. This picture of the World War I game from Telford S.T.A.G.S. included a couple of aircraft on strafing runs. I was attempting to get a shot with the aircraft in focus and the target out of focus, but could not get the camera to co-operate. I think it still works, but not as well as I’d hoped.

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When it did work, the pictures came out nicely. The above picture is a close-up of one of the VBCW games, of particular interest because of the building (though I can’t remember why! Mike Whitaker did point it out to me – he will have to remind me!) But again, a massive exposure time. This one is 8 seconds.

I had another play around with close-ups and depth of field whilst taking shots of Simon Miller’s game of the Battle of Pydna – a game of truly epic proportions in both table size and number of figures (somewhere in excess of 2,500!)

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An experiment in just how deep my depth-of-field focus would go…

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Finally, one of the shots of my particular favourite game of the day: a Muskets & Tomahawks game by Lincoln Miniature Wargames Society, which truly invoked the spirit of the Canadian frontier

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You could, of course, always try bringing your own illumination. Henry Hyde was trying out the lighting rig for his camera that he has talked about in the September issue of Miniature Wargames. It will be interesting to see how those pictures turned out.

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On the whole a pretty good day, none the least because I managed to catch up a little with people like Nick Skinner, Richard Clarke, Phil Hendry, Martin from Warbases, Richard Kemp, Paul Brook, Peter Berry, Mike Whitaker and Henry Hyde – my show experience is no longer one of buying goods (I didn’t purchase a single thing!) but rather a much more social occasion…which is what tabletop wargaming is really all about.

As for the photography? A bit disappointed that so few of the photos I’d taken actually came out well – although this is pretty much par for the course in photography, with the only golden rule still being to take lots of pictures and hope that one comes out – a much easier (and cheaper!) proposition in this age of digital photography!

4 Comments on The Other Partizan 2014 – trials and tribulations of a new camera

  1. fleetfootmike // September 9, 2014 at 15:21 // Reply

    The building is a 1/48th scale one from “Petite Properties”. Technically they’re a dolls house manufacturer, but…

    http://www.petitepropertiesltd.com/onlineshop/index.php?_a=category&cat_id=2&sort%5Bprice%5D=DESC usefully sorts the houses to the top.

    • Thanks Mike – Knew I could rely on you!

      Interesting selection of buildings – typically English, but would look good for games of VBCW and some would be suitable for a victorian english village (if ever you wanted to leave London!)

  2. They are lovely buildings and although they are 1/48th they “look” the right scale with 28mm. Also the instructions that come with the kit is very easy to follow and come with tips on how to make you dolls house come to life. I would suggest that everyone check out the site as they do 1/144th (15mm), too and other scale shortly.

  3. Mervyndouglas // September 15, 2014 at 19:25 // Reply

    Better than “press and step away” is to set your self-timer for 5 seconds, or use your remote if you have one, and step away…that way you have no danger of inadvertent camera shake.

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