Photo Blog 65

31 05 2009

Couple quick shots taken while walking around with Victor and his cool film camera. Had brunch with him and James in the morning but decided to be all classy and take the 50mm lens for some nice depth of field stuff. The first photo I have is of James and Victor chilling at Slurp

Brunch (f1.8 1/3200 50mm)

Brunch (f1.8 1/3200 50mm)

Also took a lot of pics with Victor while walking around but the one I liked the most was of Victor taking a photo of me. Nice and soft…

Photographer and his art 2 (f1.8 1/1600 50mm)

Photographer and his art 2 (f1.8 1/1600 50mm)

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Photo Blog 64

29 05 2009

Today’s theme is: TINY. I played with the extreme macro technique again at home using my sigma 70-300mm lens which I could easily tape the 50mm lens to so I didn’t have to keep trying to hold it in place. Still quite difficult to get things right but much, much easier. The setup looked like this:

Setup photo

Setup photo

So first a demonstration of how close you can get with a 300mm lens. This is the top of a whisky bottle case. The first using a standard 105mm lens and then at 81mm with an inverted 50mm and finally 300mm with an inverted 50mm.

Small (105mm)

Small (105mm)


Medium (81mm + inverted 50mm)

Medium (81mm + inverted 50mm)


Large (300mm + inverted 50mm)

Large (300mm + inverted 50mm)

And finally a couple of shots that are what I was playing with. The first is of a small parsley leaf. I liked the colour and its contrast with the black background. I wet it slightly for interesting specular reflections:

Parsley Leaf (f22 3/10s 70mm+inverted50mm)

Parsley Leaf (f22 3/10s 70mm+inverted50mm)

The second photo is of the edge of a DVD. Interesting that it says technicolor… There were also really interesting effects when using different aperture settings. At this level there are optical effects that mean there is distortion when using wider apertures. But this can look kind of cool as seen in this:

Technicolor (f8.0 1/13 86mm + inverted 50mm)

Technicolor (f8.0 1/13 86mm + inverted 50mm)





Photo Blog 63

28 05 2009

This is a good way of doing things: take photos one day and post them the next. So these photos are from a lunch time walk I went on with Daniel down through the Viaduct towards the tank farm and the fisheries area. Both are black and white and are a result of my playing with filters in the conversion process. By the way, If you are interested you can check out Daniel’s own photo blog over here

The first photo is one of the buildings along Fanshawe St (KPMG I think) that forms one side of the entrance to the viaduct beside Vodafone. I went with a ‘High Contrast Red Filter’ to make the graduations in the sky stand out and got the intended effect of a high contrast, almost surreal photo

Sky Contrast (f10 1/2000 24mm)

Sky Contrast (f10 1/2000 24mm)

The second image is also a reasonably high contrast black and white. Was trying to catch Daniel in the process of eyeing up a shot. Would have been nice to get his hands completely in the shot but the camera give the shot context so I didn’t want to crop it out. I used a blue filter on this one that kept the definition in the skin where a standard conversion washed everything out.

The Photographer and his Art (f4.0 1/800 105mm)

The Photographer and his Art (f4.0 1/800 105mm)





Photo Blog 62

27 05 2009

So one of the things that I’ve been doing to learn more about photography, apart from doing this photo blog, is to follow various other blogs and instruction based websites. Yesterday there was a really cool tip posted on how to do ‘extreme macro photography’ i.e. photographing really small stuff. What intrigued me is that to the tip involved using a telephoto lens set to ~100mm on the camera and then inverting a 50mm lens infront of this lens and setting both to focus on infinity. As far as I can tell this causes the camera to be focusing exactly on the plane that would correspond to the sensor of the 50mm lens… if it was attached to a camera. You can see a video of what I mean here.

First off, my 24-105mm lens already is technically a macro lens but isn’t really designed as such and the best it can get is this:

Normal Macro (f4.0 1/8 105mm)

Normal Macro (f4.0 1/8 105mm)


which isn’t bad as such lenses go and means there are still lots of interesting creative opportunities.

But that wasn’t the point of this post :-) I played with the method described in the video and found that there were a couple of interesting things:

  1. The 24-105 lens has a 77mm diameter and the 50 lens has a 52mm diameter. These numbers aren’t equal
  2. It is bloody hard to keep the 50mm lens in the middle and impossible not to get the vignette due to the above difference
  3. The depth of field is very, very small (a few millimeters) so is quite hard to get right. And you really need to use a small aperture
  4. It was too hard to get a good image at 100mm so I pulled back to 70mm. It still works, just with more black around the edges
  5. I like playing with stuff but would need a lot more experiment time to get it right

So the first ‘extreme’ image I have illustrates exactly what sort of detail we are talking about here. The image is of the base of the pen cap from the photo above. There has been a bit of cropping to get rid of as much of the black vignette as possible but is still fairly representative of what the technique can do:

Extreme Macro - Detail (f22 2.5s 70mm + inverted 50mm)

Extreme Macro - Detail (f22 2.5s 70mm + inverted 50mm)

Finally, a more artistic shot that shows what can be done. Once again the gold colours are very muted in Firefox compared to a proper viewer but you can see what I was going for:

Extreme Macro - Artistic (f6.3 1/13 70mm + inverted 50mm)

Extreme Macro - Artistic (f6.3 1/13 70mm + inverted 50mm)





Photo Blog 61

26 05 2009

Today’s photos come from TWO separate photo walks. Aren’t I lucky! :-)

The first was when Alyona and I went for a walk and she showed me around the Waikato University grounds and I have to say they have it a lot better than we do! It has a really nice atmosphere and enough space and greenery that it feels like a campus instead of the amalgam of 70s era office buildings that comprise the UoA city campus. And no, Tamaki doesn’t count.

Anyway, they have 3 lakes and I took a few shots of reflections in the water. There were some nice ones of the Performing Arts Center but the one I liked the most was facing the sun that had just set so there was a bit more light in the sky. The contrast of blues and greens is why I chose this one…

Waikato Uni Grounds (f4.0 0.8s 24mm)

Waikato Uni Grounds (f4.0 0.8s 24mm)


I also have to say, I’m still really really impressed by my lens. This was handheld for nearly 1 second which would be completely useless with my old lens but here is sharp enough for a useable photo. So while I might have spent a bit much on it; definitely well worth it!

Ok, so number 2 comes from a walk this evening with Victor which passed the Auckland Museum. Stopped for a bit on the steps and took some shots looking down towards port with the Cenotaph in the foreground for framing. Ended up trying some AEB shots so I could make an HDR one which is what we have here. These were taken with the camera on the step as there is no way that I can handhold for that long, good lens or not ;-)

HDR Cenotaph (f8.0  5s/20s/30s 24mm)

HDR Cenotaph (f8.0 5s/20s/30s 24mm)


There are some crappy things in there like the car headlights and some of the tonemapping is a bit off but I like it anyway…





Photo Blog 60

24 05 2009

Couple of shots for this update as I lie on the lounge floor. The photography course is finished so I am back to having to try to make up my own themes / just going for random stuff. The first is from the trip down to Hamilton yesterday where I stopped on one of the over bridges just north of Huntly. Liked the contrast and unnatural forms of the highway snaking into the picture.

Expressway (f8.0 1/400 24mm)

Expressway (f8.0 1/400 24mm)

The second is from the goodbye brunch for Rocky and Gian this morning where Alyona cracked open the big bottle of Chimay. Was going for the low viewpoint :-)

Chimay (f4.0 1/40 24mm)

Chimay (f4.0 1/40 24mm)





Photo Blog 59

22 05 2009

So, after playing with the image for hours trying to create an HDR shot I gave up. Seems that the automatic feature set of Photomatix isn’t suited to light trails and I was having to paint each one back in. Which is painful to say the least. So here is the only shot for today which may be a bit anti-climactic but is still on theme and not too shabby:

Fanshawe St (f22 3.5s 32mm)

Fanshawe St (f22 3.5s 32mm)