Time stands still for no man and that includes luthiers. Knowing a little of the painstaking process of making an acoustic guitar it barely seems a few weeks since Dave was last at my studio when we photographed his 4 electrics and one parlour guitar, and yet here he was with 3 freshly made instruments each very different from the other and from the ones which came before. They are in the hundreds of hours to make. It must have been longer than I'd thought!
I think I'd have to pick out the resonator as my favourite to photograph on the day. What's a resonator you might ask and if I replied something along the lines of "You know the cover of the Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms album" I bet I wouldn't have to say much more because the raised eyebrows and Ah!! 's of recognition would mean you knew exactly what I meant, and that's exactly how Dave explained it to me before it came out of it's case. Dire Straits had a steel resonator whereas Daves is made of walnut wood. You just have to look at it to see the richness of the walnut and the golden lustre of the resonator itself. Sumptuous. This was my favourite of the three to photograph because when I got the light in the right place it just kept on giving great images.
Getting the light right is the skill with any images of objects, especially shiny, glossy reflective objects. Have a look in a magazine at product shots and really look at those reflections. They will be pure white and I bet you can't see the photographer or the camera in any of them.
I'm still learning how to get it perfect but I'm very happy with the images I've achieved so far. Key points to improve are even more light on the white background to stop it going grey. Even with the power of photoshop it's far better to do as much of the work as possible in camera. Turning up the exposure once to get that pure white background is far quicker than trying to replicate it several times in the computer.
In the spectrum of photography speeds this is at the opposite end to sports, wildlife and the catwalk where shooting a dozen frames a second isn't unusual. Landscape, architectural and product photography are measured in pace and consist of taking a shot and then tweaking the lights, props and product in the case of product photography until the perfect image is made. One commercial photographer I know of can spend several hours getting things just right for a whisky bottle shoot.
All the guitars in the accompanying photographs are for sale at www.theboatyardguitarworkshop.com also take a peep at the gallery page where you can see lot's of photos of Dave crafting wood and metal into guitars.
The Walnut Resonator
The Mayan Seven String.
The Indian Rosewood OM