Pocket watches with their interesting, large, movements lend themselves well to composite images. I had recently been shooting two such watches, a 1916 Hampden Wm.McKinley (left), and a 1910 Hamilton Grade 992L (right), and decided to create a composite using them. Half the job of these composite images is in thinking through how I want the watches posed. The Hamilton watch has a salesmans display-back case and so this made it suitable for simply turning around to show the movement. The Hampden has a swingout case and so would need to be posed open to reveal the movement.
Below is the base dial image with the two watches positioned against a rock set on a marbled art paper background curved up behind to form a seamless background. The watches were positioned with the forthcoming movement shots in mind. Lighting was a single overhead fluorescent lamp diffused through draughtsmans tracing material, with the camera shooting through a hole in a white reflector card in order to bounce light back onto the dials. The camera was locked down on a tripod and its position and lens setting was not altered between shots in order to maintain consistent perspective and image size.
The next shot was of the Hamilton watch lying on its dial to show the movement through the display back. It was positioned to fit into the base image previously shot.
And here is the final shot used in the composite, of the Hampden watch with its movement swung out of the case. Again, it was positioned to fit the plan I had in mind for the final image. Lighting was kept consistent in the 3 shots to assist in combining the images.
Now the image that previously only existed in my mind can begin to be seen. The 3 images are layered together as shown below and can be moved around as desired until I am satisfied with the positioning. Now begins the work of melding the images together.
Below you can see the Hamilton movement shot combined with the base dial shot, well on the way to the final image. To achieve this the movement image was layered over the dial shot and the watch in the movement shot was selected. The selection was inverted and the rest of the image erased to allow the dial shot to show.
The same procedure was followed with the Hampden movement shot, resulting in the final image as below.
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Copyright 2005 Paul Delury