Thursday, May 16, 2019

Canon FD 50mm Macro

Some time back, I bought an old Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro lens from ShopGoodWill.com.  I've come to like this lens a great deal.  Here's a shot of it mounted on a Fotodiox Pro adapter (the blue ring) for Canon EF.



Because of the FD to EF adapter, you need to manually focus this lens, as well as set the proper f-stop. 

Once I determined that the light meter in the camera was unreliable for setting these, I've become adept at using the Lux Professional Light Meter app for iOS.  This is a great app, by the way.  It lets you determine readings based on ISO, f-stop and shutter speed.

Here are a couple of pictures that I've taken recently with this lens:



Reviews that I've read about this lens say that it also makes a pretty decent prime lens for regular photography as well as macro.   I haven't tried it for this yet.

I got this lens very cheaply with the idea that I would play around with it for a while and then sell it on eBay.  Now I'm thinking that this is something that I'd rather hang on to.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Camera control via WiFi

My newest DSLR is a Canon 77D that I got for my birthday.  Among its many awesome features it has built in WiFi with NFC to allow connection to a mobile device.

The other day, I tried a new technique where I used the Canon EOS Utility to make a wireless tether connection between a laptop and the camera.  With the EOS Utility, I was able to set the camera on a tripod at ground level and take a series of shots at different focal lengths.  Here's the result of my first attempt:


This was created from a 9-shot focus stack.

I used to be able to do this sort of thing using MagicLantern on my EOS T2i, but there's no current support for it on the 77D.  With the EOS Utility, I can control the focus from my laptop in increments.  While not automatic like MagicLantern, I do get to see what the camera is seeing on the screen of my laptop.  The software even allows for 5X zoom to make fine focus even easier.

I had been able to do some of this previously using the Canon Camera Connect app on my iPhone or iPad but the focus control wasn't as easy for me.  Maybe I'll play around with that some more and report on the results later.

Friday, March 29, 2019

A New Old Lens

A while back, I scored a Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4 lens from ShopGoodwill.com.   It came attached to an old Konica TC film camera, but the camera turned out to be broken.  Still, the entire thing only cost me $20, plus shipping.

I spent a lot more money on a Fotodiox Pro adapter with focus confirmation chip for Konica Auto-Reflex (AR) SLR Lens to Canon EOS.  However, after a little fooling around with that lens, I'm convinced that I got a real gem.

Here's a shot I took a week or so ago:


The shot is a little dark, because I discovered that the camera's built-in light meter was giving me inaccurate readings though the lens.

Later on I tried using the Lux light meter app for iOS.  This proved much more accurate, as demonstrated by this test shot I took from the seventh floor of my building:


This is actually a crop of a much larger shot.   Looking very closely, there was slight chromatic aberration that was easily corrected in Lightroom.  This shot has crisp detail.  In some ways, the lens surpasses my favorite Canon EF-S 17-55mm lens.  I thought that the road signs over University and Beechurst Avenue were more legible.

I can't wait to try this lens out some more!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Revisiting B&W

A couple of weeks back, I visited the Gulf coast in southwestern Florida.  I took lots of pictures with my crappy old Rebel XSi, but that camera is another story.

I visited my usual favorite spots and got a few decent shots.  However, because of the nature of these shots, I experimented with Black & White processing.

I took this shot of a trail in Jelk's Preserve with my LensBaby fisheye lens.


The trees here are all overhung with various epiphytes.  Although this might be somewhat interesting from a botanical point of view, I thought I could capitalize on the artistry instead.  The overhanging branches were further enhanced from the curvature produced by the fisheye.  I enhanced the sinister, closed-in appearance further by using a "film noir" filter setting in PhotoShop.  I also lightened the vignetting a bit. The circular tunnel effect combined with the harsh B&W processing makes this look like an old illustration of Mirkwood Forest from The Lord of the Rings.

Sharkey's Pier in Venice, Florida, provided another opportunity for B&W.  This shot was taken looking out over the pier.  The sky and water colors were nice, but they weren't anything special.  I used B&W to help concentrate the eye on all of the lines instead.  


Perhaps a "meh" picture, but it's a better class of meh.

Saving the best for last, here's the same pier shot from the ground on the right side.


Once again, I wanted to emphasize the lines.  I think that the black & white toning enhanced this picture.  Coupled by the composition elements, such as the old and young figures on the far left and the American flag in the center, this picture evokes the feel of an Americana style from the past.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Fisheye

Santa gave me a fisheye optic for my Lensbaby Composer.  Truth be told, I find this a lot more interesting to use than the default tilt-shift lens of the Composer.

Freaturing a 12mm focal length, this lens can shoot from one inch to infinity.

To Infinity and Beyond!


This is a shot of the Buzz Lightyear toy in my cubicle at work.  I put a black card behind it, relishing the 2001 Space Odyssey-like reflecting lights on the plastic helmet.  To help matters along, I added a lens flare effect from photoshop.

In the following shot, I lined up the Pink Panther figures to look somewhat like the Keep on Trucking graphic from the 70s.  Shot from a short distance, the line of panthers shows nicely the perspective effect that you gain with a fisheye lens.


Here's another one, among my first shots with this lens, that also shows the type of perspective I'm talking about:


This shot of Stewart Hall on WVU's main campus illustrates the visual distortion of a landscape shot.  Note the barrel distortion and chromatic effects in the four corners.


None of these shots are what I would call great, but this has been a very fun lens to play around with.
Like this car, I'm happy:

Friday, December 21, 2018

Variations on a Religious Theme

In the past couple of months, I've made a photographic study of the Forks of Cheat Baptist Church in Stewartstown, WV. 

Like my favorite hill behind the Dent's Run Covered Bridge, I've had a particular affinity to the composition of the landscape.  And unlike previous shots, I actually got a tiny bit of sky color when I shot it on November 4th.


Perhaps it's because of the two coal-fired electricity generation plants that are in the valley behind this hill, but it's been hard to catch this scene with any sort of clear sky.
 
Also, on that same date, I had brought along my Yashica MAT-120 TLR film camera.  This is an uncropped B&W shot from the 2x2 film.


This time, I used a tripod to steady the shot.   Other shots from close up weren't so exciting.  And they only got worse from here:


A couple of weeks later, on Nov. 23, I took another drive out in that direction.  Those shots were also quite nice.  I managed to get even more blue sky:


That one is probably a "keeper."  I like the long shadows case by the late afternoon November sun.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Roller Girl

Last Saturday, I got to sample our local Jingle Brawl multi-league roller derby tournament.  Took my camera (of course) but made the mistake of restricting myself to only one lens (of course).
Still, it was a fun challenge to shoot in a dimly lit arena with a telephoto lens.  This might have been the first time that I shot at strictly shutter priority.

I quickly discovered that it was foolish to try to shoot for high-quality 100 ISO images.

Here's a shot that I liked for overall composition:


I shot that at ISO 400, 1/30 sec at f/4.0.

Later on, I tried to shoot action shots by matching the sweep of my camera with the speed of the skater.  From a lot of shots, I came up with a few keepers.


That one was one of my personal favorites.  Shot at ISO 800, 1/30 sec at f/4.0  Look at how drawn out the faces in the crowd are as I "stopped" the skater in motion.

In the post-processing, I also tried out some Black and White shots.  Here's another one shot at ISO 800, 1/30 sec at f/4.0.



The following was shot at ISO 1600, 1/40 sec at f/4.5:


It's a picture of a "jammer" breaking away from the pack.