“Instant Inspiration” is my series for you if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block” or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently.
Covid-19 confines many of us to our homes. Travel is impossible, and in some places the lockdown rules even prohibit us to venture out with our cameras. But that is no reason to keep the camera locked away until the sanctions are lifted. With Episode 32 of my “Instant Inspirations” I want to motivate to use the camera at home, and to extensively shoot an object you love.
I have to admit that sometimes I’m more of a child than my two (grown) children. I can’t leave my hands off toys, technological toys that is. In my Twenties I used to build and fly remote controlled airplanes. While living in Italy, I had an RC sailing yacht that I took with me to the beaches. Now we are living close to the historic Ludwigskanal, an old waterway built between 1836 and 1846, once linking the Main and Danube rivers.
I’m not 100% sure what inspired me, but a few weeks ago I decided to search for a vintage remote controlled ship to navigate the waters between the old locks. Researching the web, I soon found images of a 1:40 scale model of a steam powered paddlewheel harbor tug that navigated the Tyne River in Northern England in the 1920’s. Called the “Glasgow”, the model kit was built and marketed by once famous but recently closed for good German RC model company Graupner between 1985 and the early 2000’s. But occasionally, the “Glasgow” shows up on Ebay, and I managed to find a specimen in great condition that I was able to acquire and pick up just before our lockdown started. It is quite a big ship, with 3 1/2 feet length and 20 pounds of weight.
After doing some further renovations and beautifications of my own, I put the “Glasgow” on our local pond for some test drives, which worked out just beautifully. Due to the lockdown, I was not yet able to take her to the old canal, to let the historic steamer navigate the historic waterway.
But this afternoon I set it on our garden table, took my Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the mZuiko 12-100mm F/4 and did some closeup shooting of the model. Not only to document the beauty of the 35 year old model ship (constructed with lots of real wood and brass), but also to get a camera in my hands and do some shooting, something I haven’t done much during the lockdown.
Playing with various focal lengths and different apertures, I tried to find different angles and a good mix of details and establishing shots. Mostly I used apertures of f/4 to f/8 to throw the non-maritime background of our garden out of focus.
The previous owner I bought the “Glasgow” from had bought the kit from someone else himself and did a meticulous renovation. I just bought some eye-candy from an online store to add, like some additional brass applications (like the steering wheel and the machine telegraph) and the three crew members you can see on my photos, that I painted as captain and two deck hands. I also placed some ropes along the deck and hung some fenders on the outside of the hull to recreate the atmosphere of the vintage harbor tug.
I also added some brass lamps and door handles.
So that was the photographic tour of my latest acquisition. I really had fun looking for interesting details and come up with a comprehensive visual documentation of this 35 year old remote controlled steamer.
So get your creative juices flowing, grab your camera and do your visual push ups photographing an object you love. Something that you can do at home and during the lockdown restrictions. Most of all, have fun!
If you look for more “Instant Inspirations”, you will find them and all my Street Photography quick tips in my free Learning Center.
Wish you all a great Sunday!