Photographing airguns - Part 5
by B.B. Pelletier
Just in case you missed this announcement before....Pyramyd Air is having a garage sale Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 20 & 21. If you can't make it, have a look at their used products. However, the garage sale will have much more than just used products, so it's worth attending even if you've got a ways to travel.
Today, we'll look at showing printed details on a gun - one of the most difficult shots to take, but with digital cameras it has become a lot easier. Like all photography, it all comes down to light; and, with printed details, how the light strikes the subject is extremely critical.
You can easily see the printed details on guns because you've learned how your eyes work. Without even thinking, you turn the gun until the ambient light strikes it in such a way that the printed details stand out. On some guns, though, the print is very thin and small, and you really have to work the light to see them. Certain airguns such as Daisy BB guns are the worst of all.
Print is hard to see
Print on guns is usually stamped into metal surfaces or molded into the synthetic parts. On some guns such as the first run of BSA underlever rifles (ca. 1905-1914), the print is put on by acid etching that may have blended into the patina by now. AirForce rifles have laser-etched text that is very shallow and doesn't have much contrast once the white ash left by the laser is wiped off.
This is the hardest!
I think the most challenging camera shot of a gun is photographing the rounded top of a Daisy receiver so the printed details are visible and legible. The light just doesn't want to wrap around that curved surface to let you see all the print. You can use reflectors, but they have to be close to the subject to work.
Light angle reveals a lot of detail
Anyone who has ever done photo intelligence knows that the camera angle is very important. It can conceal or reveal important information. Look at the two photos below to see what I mean.