Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Getting Creative

 I've been exploring a little bit more of  the bells and whistles on my Canon 77D.  With few exceptions, I've been pretty muck locked into using the camera's Aperture Priority (Av) mode.  Recently, I've tried shooting something with the Creative filters.


Here are some of the filter effects that you can use:

  • Grainy B/W 
  • Soft focus 
  • Fish-eye - processed to simulate fish-eye lens shots
  • Water painting - for images that look like water paintings
  • Toy camera - simulates distinctive colors and vignetting of images from toy cameras
  • Miniature - process to resemble miniature scale models, similar to tilt-shifting
  •  HDR art standard - images resemble paintings with low contrast and flat gradation
  •  HDR art vivid - images resemble vivid graphic art with flat gradation
  • HDR art bold - images resemble oil paintings with vivid color and depth
  • HDR art embossed - images resemble old, faded photos
Yesterday during my lunch break I tried the fish-eye effect on some daffodils.  Here's the result:

I'm going to have to try some of the other effects.   Since I rarely carry my LensBaby  Composer around, I can see where these creative filters will give it some real competition.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Repairing the focus on an SX-70

 First a little background.  Back in the summer of 2019, someone gave me a very unusual Polaroid SX-70 that was customized for scientific photography.  Later, in September, I removed the customization hardware and gave the camera a new skin.  

I then discovered that there was a problem with focus-to-infinity with this camera.   You can see the problem with one of the shots that I posted on my Flickr account.  Out to infinity, there has consistently been a bit of lens blur.

This brings me to a couple of weeks ago, when I searched for some repair solutions.  Flickr came to my rescue with some basic instructions.  All I had to do was remove the front housing rectangle around the lens opening.  I was able to pry it off quite easily.  Then I ran the focus out to infinity, where I could easily see the blur in the split screen focus.  I depressed the "idler wheel" as described and with a very slight turn of the gear, I was able to regain the focus-to-infinity.

Although I have a fresh pack of film, I'm waiting until Spring, when there will be much more to photograph in color.   I'm confident that I'll be able to achieve decent focus this time around.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Pelican (can hold much more than my belly can)

 I had no serious intentions when I was browsing on eBay a couple of week ago.  Someone was selling a large number of  used cases for $50 each.  The Pelican 1520 Protector is a nice-sized case for my camera equipment. A new one is in the $150 range.  In order to add my own equipment to this case, however, I needed to by a new foam insert.  For $23, I was able to get Pick and Pluck Foam for a Pelican 1520 case on Amazon.

This all turned out to be a sweet deal.  I have room for a little bit more, but I'm taking my time to decide on the final slot.

Pelican 1520 case with camera equipment

From the top, circling clockwise:

  • 50mm f/1.4 primary
  • EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro 
  • 70-200f/4 L telephoto
  • EF-S 18-55 IS 
  • Canon D77 camera with EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM "pancake"
  • Canon Speedlite 580EX flash
I'm thinking of cutting a hole out for my LensBaby, but I'm going to let that thought marinate.  On the plus side, it would give me something with tilt-shift and fisheye capability.  On the other hand, I'd like to be able to store a few specialty filters, too.

Monday, February 8, 2021

A new year and a new lens

 I got an early birthday present of a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM "pancake" lens.  A co-worker had gotten one a few years back and I've admired it since.   It's small, lightweight and has a low profile, making it easy to carry around.

A Ken Rockwell review of this lens gives it good marks.  He summarizes that

The optics of this lens are superb, and its size make it a complete winner. For $150, you can't go wrong.
He's right.   

As a side benefit, the lens is classified as a Macro, but I haven't really taken much advantage of that at this point.  I ought to work dandy with a lens extension tube.

So, here's the moment of truth.  One of my first shots with this lens:
 
Back of WVU's Woodburn Hall

It's the back of Woodburn Hall on WVU's main campus.  This is an uncropped hand-held shot, but I did apply lens correction in PhotoShop.  I also ran it through Topaz Labs' DeNoise AI.   For the B&W, I ran this through one of Tim Shields' Lightroom Presets (Cold Tone).