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Thread: The Last Piece

  1. #1

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    The Last Piece

    Less than a week ago, my wife started putting together a jigsaw puzzle made of 1000 pieces -- her first jigsaw puzzle. The image on the puzzle's box is not the image of the assembled puzzle, which of course made her task even more difficult.

    We celebrated her completion of the puzzle by making the photo shown below of her putting the last piece in place. The image really is of the last piece, not a piece chosen to make the photograph appealing.

    When we viewed this photo on the television at about 24" x 41" (610mm x 1040mm), which is 10% larger than the actual puzzle, my wife gave me the best compliment I could have received: The photo of the puzzle has so little glare that it is easier for her to examine it than the puzzle itself. Those of you who have been following my study of using the family of angles to control light in a studio situation can appreciate why my ego absolutely soared when she told me that. (Examining the puzzle is important because she is supposed to solve a murder mystery now that she has assembled all of the pieces.)

    Even so, one piece in the puzzle does have glare as do many of the edges of the pieces. Controlling the light eliminated the glare on the flat part of the pieces. Using a polarizer helped with most of the edges but not all of them. Though this was mostly a fun project to celebrate my wife's completion of her first jigsaw puzzle, please don't hesitate to offer C&C pertaining to other issues.

    By the way, I handheld the camera at arm's length shooting toward the floor using the articulating LCD of my wife's Nikon D5100. Considering the difficulty of that situation, I'm very pleased that there was no perspective distortion in the capture.


    The Last Piece
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 30th November 2012 at 03:34 PM.

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: The Last Piece

    Well done, Mike. Can't say I have ever shot a puzzle but I do know the glare that you had to deal with. Looks pretty well handled to me. Now go out and buy her one of those 3d city puzzles and see how you do.
    Last edited by jeeperman; 30th November 2012 at 04:52 AM.

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Thanks, Paul, for everything except your challenge.

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: The Last Piece

    I know how you like a good lighting and reflection challenge.

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    Re: The Last Piece

    You going to take up Paul's challenge? I dare you to take a pic of whatever 3d puzzle she completes.

    That is a good shot btw, I would'nt worry too much about the piece edges because without them it will be hard to tell that the image is that of a jigsaw.

    Nice touch with the last piece still out.

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    You going to take up Paul's challenge?
    Not a chance!

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: The Last Piece


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    Re: The Last Piece

    I haven't done a jigsaw puzzle for years. Used to do them all the time when I was a kid (in the days before TV reached the north-west fringes of Europe).

    That's a very imaginative application of our photographic craft and one that works really well.

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Great achievement, Mike, for both your wife and you.
    See why you have to shoot Nikon!

  10. #10

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Thanks, guys!

    The last time, probably the only time, that I did a jigsaw puzzle, it was an educational toy for young children that had 48 very large pieces made of wood. Each piece was a bright color that was very different from its adjacent pieces. It was a map of the U.S. and each piece was a state. If you know that Alaska and Hawaii didn't become the 49th and 50th states until 1959 (I had to look that up just now), you have already dated me. The map didn't include the District of Columbia, which is the country's capitol but not a state. Ironically, I live just a few miles from DC and have been going there weekly and often daily for about 40 years.

  11. #11

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Question: Does anyone know what the two circular objects are that are located to the left of the cup of coffee? My wife and I don't know.

  12. #12
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    Re: The Last Piece

    An interesting project, and well done technically. Did it take several attempts or are getting good enough at predicting the light to get this in one go?

    Now, for the next project in glare control, tell your wife she did a lousy job (not that she did, I am amazed at the intricacy of her first puzzle)

  13. #13

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    Re: The Last Piece

    It took me much longer than you would think would be required to set up the lighting to prevent the glare. The original setup was only two lights, one on each side to the left and right of the puzzle. That part was really straightforward in theory. However, keeping the lights outside the family of angles throughout the entire area of the puzzle was difficult because I'm really, really bad at determining the angles. (You couldn't possibly lose a game of billiards, pool or any other similar game to me.) I had to lean over the puzzle and place my head where the camera would be to view the entire puzzle to make sure the glare was eliminated.

    Then when we added my wife's hand, I realized that the shadow was far too harsh despite that the light was reasonably close. So, I placed a diffuser between the light on the left side and the puzzle. I don't have another diffuser for use on the right side, so the puzzle was then lit slightly brigher on that side. I compensated for that during post-processing, though I didn't have to compensate much. That's because the diffuser made of white material on the left is so large that it reflected the light coming from the right back onto the puzzle. Better yet, I was able to position the diffuser so the light it was reflecting didn't mess up my work with the family of angles.

    I didn't realize that the edges of the pieces had so much glare until I reviewed the first image on my monitor. When I pointed that out to my wife, she found it objectionable and, after all, it is her puzzle. So we shot the image again this time using the polarizer added to the lens.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 30th November 2012 at 01:12 PM.

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Question: Does anyone know what the two circular objects are that are located to the left of the cup of coffee? My wife and I don't know.
    They look like voilin strings wrapped round themselves. Great shot by the way.

  15. #15

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    Re: The Last Piece

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb533 View Post
    They look like violin strings
    Yes! Thank you!

    During a concert of the National Symphony Orchestra that my wife and I attended, a string on the concert mistress's violin broke. The woman sitting next to her handed her violin to her so the concert mistress could continue playing. She replaced the broken string while remaining on stage and everything went just fine. In about five decades of attending classical music concerts, that's the only time I've seen a string break in the middle of a concert.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 30th November 2012 at 01:26 PM.

  16. #16

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    Solving the Mystery

    SPOILER ALERT: If you purchase this puzzle and want to solve the mystery, do NOT read this post!!!!

    This puzzle comes with a fictitious story about a murder mystery for which the puzzle is an image of the scene of the crime. The story involves a violinist who has been killed because he has obtained a stolen military secret. My wife accepted the puzzle maker's challenge of determining the answers to the following questions hidden in the image:

    What is the stolen military secret? My wife got this right: it's a fiber optic cable, which at the time this puzzle was first released was not nearly as common in consumer products as today. She determined that at least one of the two circular pieces next to the cup of coffee is a fiber optic cable rather than a violin string. We now realize that that's not quite right. The fiber optic cable had been installed on the violin on the left (I actually think the instrument on the right is a viola) and had been removed. Notice that there are only three strings on the violin.

    What is the password? My wife got this wrong but she was very close. She thought "rose" is the password due to the rose on the bed. Instead, the password is "rosa." It appears in the sheet of music that has the pencil laying on it. Look in staves five through eight. The pattern of notes displays the upside-down password. We would never have seen this if the puzzle maker had not pointed it out, though it was not mentioned that the password is displayed upside-down.

    What is the name and location of the violinist's contact? She got these right. Clark Hall is his name, which is provided on the false invitation displayed in the bottom right corner of the puzzle. The location is the address displayed on the invitation.

    What is the clue about the murderer? She got this right also. Notice the words, "a major," hand written on the sheet of manuscript. Musicians would know that when writing the key of "A Major," an upper-case "M" would be used. The use of a lower-case "M" on the sheet music indicates that the dying violinist left the clue that his murderer is a major in the military.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 1st December 2012 at 04:07 PM.

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