Can't figure out how to build this

Started Mar 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
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CyanBlueStudio
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Can't figure out how to build this
Mar 19, 2012

What I've been doing recently is arranging flowers in a container, filling it with water, then freezing the whole thing. After that, I take out the block of ice and shoot it. I'm getting some really excellent results and I really love them, but I am having nightmare technical problems: I have to hold the lights by hand, the water drips all over the place, and I can't manage to take a series of close-ups for stitching together without screwing it all up.

The nature of the images being shot through the ice makes them hell to enlarge (I'm using what I believe to be the best out there: PhotoZoom Pro 4). So I can't enlarge them and a single image is coming in at about 10 inches on the long side. Not large enough for an exhibition I want to have.

What I've been doing to compensate for this small image size is shoot with a macro lens (Nikkor 105mm), zoom in, then take a series of images as I move left-right, top to bottom of the ice block. Then I need to stitch the images together. The stitching is not working - when I raise or lower the camera for the next row of shots, it invariably moves closer or farther away just a slight amount but enough to make stitching a nightmare. I need to build something.

What I need is a platform. The entire platform structure must accommodate lights that I can arrange at various angles and I want these lights to be positioned above, to the sides, and underneath(!) the ice block simultaneously.

The block must be able to be raised and lowered easily, and the lighting must follow it.

The entire structure must move horizontally as well as vertically in a straight track so my camera - ice block distance is not changing.

The ice melts during the shooting so I also need a way to capture the water efficiently so it doesn't make just an awful mess all over the place.

A friend of mine into design/technology is giving me some great tips, but it's still giving me massive headaches. Any ideas (even small ones that might address only one issue) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

(PS: something that might simplify matters considerably would be to simply build a camera holder that can give me fine control in the x- and y-axis, but I also have no idea how to build that)
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http://www.cyanbluestudio.com/ | http://www.photoshop-pro.com

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