Here is a little sneak preview of upcoming pipes. This one was done for a special request and is probably already sold (haven’t heard back yet), but otherwise may be appearing on the site catalog within the week, along with some other bamboo-shank mortas. This is also a look at what our catalog photos will be looking like in future – Very much like how they looked back in 2000!

Emily and I have spent the last two working days wrestling with our new digital camera, trying to achieve similar results to the old one. What we have learned is that our previous camera has been “Wal-Marted”, which is to say, it has bigger numbers and a cheaper pricetag, and has exceptional capability for doing the twenty-five most common photo needs of the average Joe… but has lost a great chunk of its customizability in the process. Aside from insanity-inducing quirks like defaulting to its highest (and web-useless) resolution every time it is turned off (The old one held its res settings through power cycles), it proved to be appallingly bad at taking good photos on white backgrounds. Everything went to an orange tint, despite using decent photo lights, and with pipes like this one, we had the choice of the bowl being solid black or the bamboo shank vanishing into white-out.

(I should probably add here that this is not to be taken as a plea for photography help. I’ve occasionally mentioned photo troubles before, and this often brings in many well-meaning emails from helpful folk trying to offer advice along the lines of, “If you want to solve your photo problems, what you need to do is get a Nikon model XLR-9000 or equivalent, at least seven studio-quality 2000 watt photo lights, a color-neutral backboard, and a phased photon-inversion bypass field for your lens.” The problem, of course, is that I have to solve my photo problems using exactly what I have on hand, which is a simple $200 digital camera, a plant gro-light bulb, and a cut-apart cardboard box for a display, with colored construction paper taped to it. If I had the money to buy “real” camera stuff… Well, there are many more important things it would get spent on first anyway…!)

In any case, after roughly eight hours of fiddling with settings and trying different lighting arrangements, we had to confront the unpleasant fact that the new camera simply isn’t going to be able to take properly-colored white-background photos for use in site catalog pics – at least not using the lighting that we have. Thus, it’s yesterday again tomorrow – It does a very good job with neutral grey backgrounds and even manages some pretty good balancing between black morta and bright bamboo, so future website catalog pics are going to look like the one posted above. I’ll miss the “Floating in White Space” look, but I think the new pics are sharp and informative and that will have to do.

In other news, I hope to gradually start posting some interviews with pipe industry folks here, and the first will be along shortly – a question-and-answer session with Mustaffa Akkas of IMP Meerschaum Pipes.

Categories: Pipe Blog


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