This may be a bit off-topic, but since we've all struggled to take nice photos of our watches, I'm hoping someone can enjoy reading about the making of this photograph, even if the watch itself lacks appeal...
First, a comparison to the stock image of this watch:
I think the interesting thing about my photograph was getting the choreography down until I finally captured both the dial markings and the lume glowing, with good depth of field at the camera's lowest ISO setting.
It would have been much easier to take a photograph of nothing but the glowing lume, with everything else underexposed into blackness. Those photos are a dime a dozen.
The "choreography" had to be worked out after several shots were taken to determine exactly how dim to make the dining room chandelier so that the glow of the watch's lume was not dominating the image, but still very apparent against a well-lit watch face. I had to make multiple trips to the dimmer switch for the chandelier, just to get the lighting ratio the way I wanted it.
Then, for each exposure attempt that followed, I had to perform the following steps, to get a good, motion-free capture, for various compositions I tried:
1) Hold a florescent UV flashlight in the space between the camera lens and watch for a full 20 seconds
2) With the self-timer set to 10-seconds, release the shutter
3) Wait 5 seconds
4) Remove the flashlight and set it on a chair as to not vibrate the tabletop
5) Grab a black t-shirt from my lap and hold it up with both hands behind and to the left of the camera - to block reflections seen in the watch crystal
6) Wait the remaining one or two seconds of the self-timer for the shutter to open and take a one-second exposure (the slowest shutter speed of my Canon S3 IS).
7) Check to see if the watch's second-hand was doubled by the time exposure.
In about 6 out of 7 attempts for each composition, the second-hand (in the small dial at the bottom of the watch face) was visibly doubled - two ghosts of one second hand, so I'd have to go back to step 1, looping until the one-second exposure was so perfectly sync'd with the ticking of the second hand as to have that second hand sitting absolutely still for most of the one-second exposure. That's all it would take, as the later of two ghost hands would lack sufficient density to be seen in the photograph if the tick happened say a 1/10th of a second before the shutter closed, just guessing. In some of my failed exposures, the earlier ghost hand is denser than the later ghost hand. In other failed attempts, the later ghost hand is more dense than the earlier. Either way, it ruined the majority of shots.
Interestingly, whenever I captured doubled-up ghost second hands, the watch's minute hand would also be slightly blurred due to movement. So, although the minute hand doesn't move in giant steps, from one minute mark to the next when the second hands hits "12," the minute hand doesn't move continuously, either - it moves in one-second steps - for real - that's sixty one-second micro-movements of the minute hand to get from one minute marker to the next minute marker! I would never have known this except for making these macro exposures. So, the exposure had to occur primarily while the minute hand was sitting still, also. Even if the watch didn't have a second hand, I would have had to throw away most of my one-second exposures due to this movement of the minute hand that occurs very rapidly, once per second. In truth, both the minute hand and the second only sit absolutely still for something like 0.8 or 0.9 seconds at a time, then they jump to their next positions, respectively. The hour hand was essentially holding still, of course, relative to my efforts, here.
With a one-second exposure time at ISO 80 (lowest noise), all it took was the slightest bump to the table to blur the shot, so I had to go to using the camera's 10-second self-timer, instead of the 2-second self-timer that I normally use as a "cable release." Even setting the UV flashlight on the table top just before the exposure was causing a slight blur to my images, until I figured out that I should set it on a chair, next to me. Using the UV flashlight to recharge the lume to maximum brightness right before each exposure, was absolutely necessary to allow the lume to compete with the ambient lighting needed to make the dial visible in the 1-second exposures at f/5.6, ISO 80.
I really got carried away with this one, then came the Photoshop time sink - about a four-hour effort, in total. All said and done, the making of the image was more fun than my satisfaction with the results.
Link to larger version: http://cdn.head-fi.org/1/15/15adbf2b_IMG_1201_Citizen_BV1085-14E_x1080.jpeg
Edited by zilch0md - 1/19/14 at 6:55am