Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Vastarian: Hypatia Etranzi

I don’t fear hell.¹

Earlier this year we started to create more models for Special Operations Unit Mitsukurina, an elite unit within the Adeptus Arbites, that we created a few years ago. The unit is operational on Vastarian, trying to manage the psychic upheaval. We were able to use the two new members we converted in some games at Adepticon. Due to running out of time before the convention, I was only able to partially paint the new models. Now that things have settled down, I was able to finally finish painting the leader, Hypatia Etranzi!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Miniature Photography with 35mm film

Exakta VX (1955) next to Fujifilm XT4 (2020).

Over the many years running this blog, I have increasingly spent more time thinking about photography. Taking good photos is important to get people interested in your work, to clearly convey ideas, and to document things effectively. For most of the blog’s existence, I used my phone’s camera. And while I found success with this, I started to recognize that my phone often struggled to get miniatures entirely in focus, due to the fixed wide aperture (low F-stop, letting in a lot of light, but with a shallow depth of field, particularly if close to the subject), and the photos often looked unnatural due in part to the aggressive computational processing that was done on each, regardless of my input. This led me to getting a mirrorless digital camera, specifically a Fujifilm XT4. I selected the camera due to it being one of the only modern cameras made with “traditional” dials, like old 35mm film cameras, for the important elements of the exposure triangle: ISO (International Organization for Standardization, a measure of light sensitivity), Shutter Speed, and Aperture (this is on the lens themselves, rather than the camera body). Instead of these things being controlled electronically inside the camera, I thought the physical dials would force me to be more mindful of these settings, rather than relying on the camera to do it automatically. The camera also has the ability to use preset “film simulations” which allow one to take photos that would emulate the color science of Fujifilm's classic film stocks, like their black and white Acros. Something about connecting back to the roots of analog photography appealed to me. So far, the XT4 has been great, allowing me to learn the process of photography, both in my home space for photographing models in a controlled setting, to events, where lighting is not always reliable. Like I had hoped, the physical dials encouraged me to be more particular with the settings I was using, and how they were affecting the outcome. While I did not know it at the time, all of this experimentation and attunement to remnants of analog photography were priming me for my next step in photography, 35mm film!