Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boardgames and Photography #4 Tobago

Tobago designed by Bruce Allen and published in 2009 by a number of publishers, my copy is Zoch Verlag, is basically a treasure hunt. The modular board depicts an island with various types of terrain on it. Beach, grassland, forest, mountains and lakes. Players control an 'all-terrain vehicle' to journey around the island. The island also has some other features, namely,  three palm trees, three huts and three stone statues which are really sturdy and well crafted items.

                         f5 1/30 ISO320 38mm focal length

As you can see they are nicely produced and give the board a really nice look when set up. Players have clue cards which they can play to reduce the likely location of the treasure. When it is reduced to just one possibility they can move their ATV there as fast as they can to retrieve said treasure.

                           f5 1/30 ISO280 46mm focal length

The stone idols are really nice, resin cast and have a nice weight. Whenever a treasure is raised the idols turn 60 degrees and an amulet is thrown up in a straight line on the coast of the island. Players can pick up these amulets, which have various powers and use them later in the game.

A very nicely produced game, with top class components which photograph well.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Thomas Pacconi Music Box

What is a Music Box?

The music box is a 19th century automatic musical instrument that produces sounds by the use of a set of pins placed on a revolving cylinder so as to strike the tuned teeth of a steel comb. They were developed from musical snuff boxes of the 18th century and called “Carillons a Musique.” Some of the more complex boxes also have tiny drum and small bells, in addition to the metal comb. Alec Templeton, an avid collector of music boxes and a professional concert musician, once noted that the tone of a musical box is unlike that of any musical instrument.
History of the Music Box.

The original snuff box music boxes were tiny containers which could fit into a gentleman’s waist coat pocket. The musical boxes could have any size from that of a hatbox to a large piece of furniture though most were tabletop sized. They were usually powered by clockwork and originally produced by artisan watchmakers.
For most of the 19th century the bulk of music box production was concentrated in Switzerland, building upon a strong watch making tradition. The first music box factory was opened Switzerland in 1815 by Jeremie Recordon and Samuel Junod. There were also a few manufacturers in Bohemia and Germany. By the end of the 19th century some of the European makers had opened factories in the United States.
 The cylinders were normally made of metal and powered by a spring. In some of the costlier models, the cylinders could be removed to change melodies, thanks to an invention by Paillard in 1862, which was perfected by Metert, of Geneva in 1879. In some exceptional models there were four springs, to provide continuous play for up to three hours.
The first boxes at the end of the 18th century made use of metal disks. The switch over to cylinders seems to have been complete after the Napoleonic wars. In the last decades of the 19th century however, mass produced models such as the Polyphon and others all made use of interchangeable metal disks instead of cylinders. The cylinder based machines rapidly became a minority.

The term musical box is also applied to clockwork devices where a removable metal disk or cylinder was used only in a programming function without producing the sounds directly by means of pins and a comb. Instead, the cylinder or disk worked by actuating bellows and levers which fed and opened pneumatic valves which activated a modified wind instrument or plucked the chords on a modified string instrument. Some devices could do both at the same time and were often combinations of player pianos and musical boxes, such as the Orchestrion, which is a large mechanical instrument resembling a barrel organ that produces sound in imitation of an orchestra.
Stores six discs in the back of music box.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Award from Lila

1. My friend Lila, has sent this my way, a blogger award. I thank her very much for even thinking of me! There are so many wonderful blogs out there, but these are the ones that I know of that I would recommend visiting.


All of the above have something wonderful to offer their readers!

2. Things about me: 

Name:  Dorothy Jean
Music:  Light Classical, Classic Rock, Pop
Mood:  I try to be in a happy state if possible!
Color:  Red, I love it, all of my cars I've ever had were red!
Time of year:  Spring and Fall
How do you prefer to travel?:  by car
Phrase or word spoken by you:  Please tell me....I'm not a mind reader!
Series Preferred:  Not sure if this means a television series, but if so, I enjoy watching Ancient Discoveries, and Ancient Aliens on the History channel.                                                   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creative effects with the computer

Well, some might call them creative, others tell the truth! Here are a couple of pictures that I messed around with on the computer. I must admit I do like black and white images, but only certain subjects lend themselves to this treatment. On this picture I added a sepia tint and some grain to simulate a rather aged look. I like it, tell me what you think!

I tried a similar treatment on one of the pictures of the rats from Hameln. Didn't add the grain but put a vignette on it. Don't like it, it doesn't really work I think. Anyway have a look.

This one isn't BW, but I have played around with the colours and used a graduated filter on the sky. The lake is partially frozen and the sun reflected on the ice looks good I think. I like this one.

Just a few pictures I have been playing around with. Hope you like them. The next Boardgames and Photography post is Tobago....coming soon!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Boardgames and Photography #3 Shear Panic

Boardgames and Photography #3 Shear Panic

Shear Panic, published in 2005, was the first game from Fragor to have the resin figures for game pieces. In this case of course....sheep! The original version of the game from Fragor had laminated player sheets and tiddlywinks for counters, very much a home produced effort. The sheep figures, which included 8 sheep, 1 black sheep, 1 sheep shearer and 1 ram were great.

                        f5.3, 1/40, ISO 200, lens at 48mm

Here we have the flock of sheep, each sheep has a dot of colour on it's back denoting which player it belongs to. The photos for all these games were taken on a table placed by the big balcony window with my green felt player cloth on it. Consequently the exposure info is pretty much the same, but I've included it anyway for those of you interested.

                         f5.6, 1/30, ISO 450, lens at 55mm

This is the black sheep of the family. Points are scored at various points during the game. There are four fields for scoring, the team field, Roger the Ram's field, the Black Sheep field and the Shear Panic field.  In the team field you score points for your own sheep being next to each other. In Roger's field your get most points for being nearest to Roger. In the Black Sheep field for touching the 'black sheep', and lastly in the Shear Panic field you can lose sheep for being nearest the Shearer Sheep.

                          f5.6, 1/30, ISO 400, lens at 55mm

Here is the shearer, if you are in the row nearest to him your sheep are 'sheared' ie removed from the game.

                         f5.6, 1/30, ISO 360, lens at 55mm

And finally.....Roger the Ram. Looking very amorous with his red rose to intice the ladies!!

Hope you liked this little tour around the game pieces for 'Shear Panic'.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Born Feb. 3, 1894
Died Nov. 8, 1978
Norman Rockwell is known for his timeless art and illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than fourty years. His last painting for the Post was in 1963, which marked the end of his publishing relationship with the magazine which included 322 cover paintings. He produced over 4,000 orginal works in his lifetime. He was also commissioned to illustrate over 40 books, Boy Scouts' calendars, his most popular calendars the "Four Seasons" which were published for 17 years, booklets, catalogs, posters ( particularly movie promo's ) , stamps, playing cards, murals, sheet music. This pretty much rounded out his career as an illustrator.

Our tax accountant used to send out Norman Rockwell calendars at the beginning of each year. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. The ones I enjoy most are the Christmas illustrations. I went online and found images...many of them...but didn't want to post many of them. I was lucky enough to find this video on You Tube which has some of his timeless Christmas illustrations. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did.

Another video from You Tube I found interesting is about a small town in Stockbridge, Mass. Rockwell used this town as a setting for his painting of an idyllic American Christmas. Each year this town pays tribute to him by recreating his painting.

I also found Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book: revised and updated [ Hardcover] on Amazon. I'm going to order this one! It features his art, eight ready to frame limited-edition prints, poems and stories from writers such as Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Hans Christian Andersen, and Lewis Carroll. It also includes Christmas Carol music & lyrics, and Christmas dinner recipes. I may order two of them, one for myself and one for a friend of mine for Christmas. I think she will enjoy it as much as I will!

I may only be posting once a month between now and October. It just depends on whether or not I have something to post about! Christmas only comes once a year and sometimes I really have to put some thought into what topic I want to post about! I think there is only so much you can say about organizing and traditions, etc. without it becoming a little dull. I certainly don't want my posts to become dull and bore you! So, I'll be thinking about some topics of interest....hopefully! :]

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Boardgames and Photography #2 Hameln

Boardgames and Photography #2 Hameln

Hameln, published by Fragor Games carried on from Shear Panic by using resin figures for important game figures. Gordon and Frasier Lamont have released one game a year from 2004 starting with Leapfrog to their latest Antics. Three of these games used resin figures, starting with Shear Panic, then Hameln and finally Antler Island. I own Shear Panic, which I pre-ordered and was collected for me by Richard from their stand at Essen when it was released. So it is the original version with laminated player sheets and tiddlywinks as counters! And also Hameln, which I again pre-ordered and picked up at Essen myself. As games go, they are OK, not outstanding, but the resin figures make them games that I am glad I have in my collection. Let's start with Hameln. Basically the game involves buying houses, marrying and having children earning a bit of cash. However of course, there is a plague of rats that makes life difficult.

Here we have the king rat, front and centre, and his ratty buddies, ready to infest your houses. Photo info, f.5.3, 1/30 and ISO1400. The focal length was 48mm. These figures are great. As Chris Brooks commented on the last post, a fast prime lens would probably be better for this type of photo......I wish I could afford one.

And here he is.....the Pied Piper himself, along with his buddy the cat. He drives the rats away and you score points for being in possession of the cat. Photo info, f.5.6, 1/30 and ISO1600. The focal length was 55mm. I have great fun messing around with these photos on the computer, you have so much control. My wife calls it 'cheating', I call it enhancing!!

Look out for Shear Panic ...the next instalment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Boardgames and Photography #1 Norencbec

Boardgames and Photography #1 Norencbec

I was thinking after the last post, there are lots of games that have interesting and colourful components, so why not do more posts about them. I can combine my two hobbies together and have some fun.

As I took some pictures of Norencbec the other day I carried on and took a few more.

Norencbec has the largest meeples I have seen in a game, and all on parade they make quite an interesting picture. Again  the ISO was 1600 and f5.6 at 1/30. The lens was the 18-55mm at 48mm.

There are six types of commodities in Norencbec, and they are represented by hefty wooden bits. From left to right, hats, cloth, cakes, boots, beer (mmmmmm beer!!) and sheets of paper. Makes owning the game a must just for the beer meeples lol!!
Taken at ISO1600, f5.0, 1/30 and the lens at 34mm. Didn't like this picture as much, but it's not too bad.
Norencbec is a decent game as well, plays well with just two which is a plus for me.

Norencbec is published by White Goblin Games ( and designed by Andreas Steding. It was released at Essen 2010.

Look out for the next post which will be Hameln by Fragor Games.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nikon camera + Boardgames = Boardgame Pics

Why not, I thought. A lot of boardgames are very photogenic....well, I think so. So I got out Norencbec, which has some lovely high quality components and started to take a few pictures. The ones taken with flash were hard and not very flattering, so I upped the ISO and tried taking some like that. Here are a couple of results.

The ISO in these pictures is 1600 so the shutter speed is quite slow, but they don't seem too bad. This one was shot at f5.6 and 1/15 sec. I shot them in RAW and processed them on the computer so I could reduce the grain and noise a bit.

When you are focusing this close and with a wide aperture the depth of field is very shallow. As you can see in this picture, the foreground is sharper than the meeples at the top of the shot. Again shot at f5.0 and 1/25 sec. I didn't use a tripod either, mainly because I don't have one, even so I think sharpness isn't too bad.

Anyway, I shall be experimenting with more games and more camera settings in the future.