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Nailed It with a Closeup "Panorama"

Updated on May 1, 2016
Composite image of an old roofing nail (Image source Gustave Kilthau)
Composite image of an old roofing nail (Image source Gustave Kilthau)

You can make a panorama image of just about anything.

Someone told me that one time, but I did not really believe it. Now I do.

Old roofing nails

I just finished photographing an old roofing nail with my old (really old) digital camera. There are not too many things in today's world that are uglier than an old roofing nail. That proves up three things worthy of note. To wit:

(1) New roofing nails are less ugly than are old roofing nails.

(2) There are no mirrors in my house.

(3) The friend who gave me this old camera never knew what a Pandora's Box he had opened.

Are lots of megapixels really megabetter?

Let's toss something else in here while I am thinking of it. Even an old dog of a camera can be taught new tricks. The camera I used for this text-tacular-pictographic exercise is one of the very first digital cameras offered to people, those people with pioneering personalities and lots of money. This camera has an "image capture" capacity of less than 1 megapixel. (Compare that really small megapixel image capture capacity to the typical capacities of today's digital cameras. The new crop of digitals typically have 10 to 24 megapixel value image chips.)

Other than for the very low pixel valuation, this old rig has some nice features, particularly nice for an old guy like me.

Hard to find this stuff in the stores today

The old camera is quite heavy. That extra weight acts to dampen body motion, steadying the camera in the hands of otherwise shaky people (like me, for instance).

The lens focus is easily adjustable. Closeups and telephoto shots are selected in a continuous range from near to far by simply pressing a button on the lens tube. There is no need to change lenses.

Transfer of the digital images captured by the photographer does not require cable hookup to the computer for additional image processing or storage. This old camera captures the image on its solid state "chip" and then transfers the image information as a "JPG" image to a removable (interchangeable) 3.5-inch standard high resolution floppy disk. You simply take the disk out of the camera, stick it into the disk slot of your computer, and do what you want to do with the images in the computer. Easy enough for anyone. That's the way I see that.

Getting with it

So, with all of that techie stuff now behind us, I will get down to cases.

It seemed to me to be possible to make a photograph of the entirety of some small-size object the same way in which I make a panoramic photo of a wide scene in nature or maybe of a wide or a tall building. To do such things I would ordinarily start at one side of the scene and shoot overlapping images, progressing from a starting point until a final image is made of the last portion of the scene at the ending point. That way, I would have progressive image recordings, the sum of which possessed more detail than would be in one single image made from shooting the whole thing at once.

That's what I did with a little roofing nail that, for reasons known only to the angels, was sitting there in my middle desk drawer.

Closer than close

There was no fussing and carrying on about the photography. I plopped the nail onto a piece of paper towel, picked up the old camera, stuck the camera lens so close to the nail that there was no use trying to light things up with the camera's flash The flash unit was on top of the camera and the nail was somewhere down under the camera. Then I hit the do-it button several times as I shot overlapping image frames from one end of the nail to its other end.

Into the computer went those images and a "panorama"; that is, a composite photograph, composed of the individual image frames of the nail was produced.

Not enough light

The composite image came out just as I had hoped it would - one complete nail really "close.up," However, the lighting used here was not very good. This caused the white balance to be pushed off into red-yellow territory. Therefore I called up the "" image editor program and adjusted the white balance of the image so that it was more like it should be. Then, for good measure, I gave that old nail some additional character by tossing in a little bit of color.

Livening up old nails

Have you ever tried to make a nail more lively? 'Tain't easy, but it can be kind of fun. You really should give that a try sometime. Anyway, that's what I did.

What next?

Don't tell the angels that I swiped some cookies

Well, for me, I am going to work a bit on the peanut butter cookies I picked up in the kitchen when I took a break from computer-hubbing several minutes ago. I have completed the old roofing nail thing. Now it is your turn to suggest stuff to me that makes more sense and may pay a whole lot better than snapping closeups and making composite images of old roofing nails.

By the way, those peanut butter cookies are good. I would like for the nail-gifting angels to quit their gifting me with old roofing nails and switch to peanut butter cookies. Those of you out there who are practiced in the art of praying could do me a favor and talk a bit to those angels about a switch from nails to cookies. OK?


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