Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Yeah, I know, I know, I promised either a baby ostrich or a barbed wire fence today. Or at least something keeping with the theme of using only crappy and/or weird pictures this week while “nobody was around to read the blog”. Well, I couldn’t do it today. Because, you see, this is the last post until sometime next week. Which means, all of the random folks that land on this page between now and then will see *today’s* post as their first and most likely *only* impression of me. So I had to make it a good one, right? Don’t worry, you’ll get to see at least one of the mediocre pictures that you want next week.
Today’s shot is another one taken with a macro kit, basically a set of magnifying glass type things that you screw onto the front of your lens. But this was a somewhat different set up than you’ve seen before, because this was taken with a lens that I bought at the end of the summer, a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, and because it takes a different size of filter than the lens I formerly used with my macro kit, a brand new macro kit. But it’s the same idea.
The macro kits do work as advertised, allowing you to focus more closely and get further in than you would be able to otherwise. But they can also add sort of a hazy, dreamy feel to the pictures (particularly at the far end of your zoom), which may or may not help the picture. This picture is a perfect example. It looks like it’s been extensively photoshopped, but in reality I only did minimal post-processing on it. If I had the original handy, I’d post it here as well so you could see. Perhaps I’ll do that later. Definitely a great toy to play around with, and it can definitely get you some really interesting images that you wouldn’t get otherwise. But it’s also definitely not something you want to keep on your lens all the time.
Okay, that’s it for this week. Have a great holiday if you’re in to that sort of thing!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Welcome back everyone! As you can tell by the very fact that I did indeed post something today, my traffic looks to be improved. Still not sure what happened at the end of the last week, but it sure seemed like most of you decided to go outside and play instead of sitting inside reading my stuff like you should. But since I did kind of already mentally check out for the holidays, I’ve decided to compromise, and use this week and next week (I’ll probably only post 2 or 3 times next week) to post some pictures from the backlog that are either not really that great, or just.. kind of weird.
This one definitely falls into the weird category. I saw this vine thing on a hike one day (I’m not going to say which one, due to my aforementioned hesitation at admitting to yet another picture from the Shi Shi Beach trail – although to be fair, it’s been a month since I posted one. Well, posted one that I actually identified as being from that hike anyway.) I thought it was really cool how those two strands danced and curled around each other, but the resulting pictures were still a bit weird. As in, I felt like when I looked at the picture I started by noticing the cool, playful pattern, but then right at that moment where you’d say “Oh, cool, that’s a [whatever]! Awesome!” I instead found myself saying “Oh, cool, that’s a …. umm… uhh.. what the hell is that?”. So it felt like it had a great build up, but then a crappy, poorly thought out, meaningless ending. But this and the other couple of pictures I got of this.. thing.. are both somewhat interesting photos in my opinion, so it fit perfectly with this week’s theme. (Oh, we’re doing weekly themes now, are we?)
So, there it is. Be sure to check back tomorrow to see what crappy and/or weird picture I decide to use to take up the dead-space between now and the end of the year!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Hoya Macro Kit. 1/250s, f/5.0, ISO 800. Focal length: 50mm.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
See? A bug and a flower, just like I said. Man, I’m really good at predicting stuff. It’s almost like my today self somehow sent a message back through time to my yesterday self saying exactly which picture would be posted. Almost eerie, really.
Those of you who were with me earlier this year, you know that this summer I went on a mini-odyssey of sorts, exploring several different cheapskate methods of macro photography. The extreme case was of course the reverse-mount adapter that I used to get that picture of the fly a few days ago. That one, while extremely powerful, is also extremely difficult to use. Today’s solution, while it won’t get you nearly as close, is in a lot of ways more pleasant to use. It’s a Macro Kit, which consists of a set of these magnifying-lens type filters that you attach to the front of your lens. They magnify a bit and allow you to focus more closely than you would be able to otherwise. So they get you closer than you would be able to otherwise, but with a whole new set of limitations. (Your depth of field is very small as you would expect, although not as drastic as with the reverse-mount. Also, the area outside of the in-focus range gets blurry in a weird way. I guess I’d describe it by saying it gets “foggy” rather than “blurry”. And, the longer your focal length (distance from the front of your lens to your sensor) the foggier it gets, to the point where, if you’re using a superzoom lens, and your lens is way extended, the whole frame will be foggy, even the stuff that’s in focus. It’s weird, really.)
As with any accessory though, they are well worth playing around with, despite their limitations, especially given their really low price (20-30 bucks.) Again, you’ll definitely get better results with a true macro lens, but you’ll also be paying a heck of a lot more than most of us can afford to spend on such a niche-use lens. So, if macro seems fun (it totally is), go buy one, using that link above, so that I get a kickback from Amazon. We all win! Woooo!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Hoya Macro Kit. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 168mm.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I mentioned that I had a whole bunch of these, right? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding, really.
Actually, to be perfectly straight with you, I didn’t have this one until this weekend, it was not a part of the previous pile. I just added to it a bit. In the interim, I actually made a couple more changes to my equipment. I went ahead and made a decision on my overall lens strategy. You of course all remember that for the past couple of years, I’ve been exclusively using a Tamron 28-300 (actually, two Tamron 28-300’s, one without image stabilization, then later, one with – Amazon links here: http://bit.ly/vuRVr , http://bit.ly/vShrg ), but earlier this year I decided that using a super-zoom meant I was making some sacrifices in image quality. That sent me on a quest to figure out what lenses I really wanted to use moving forward.
First, I filled out the wide-angle part of the range. I rented a Canon 10-22 (Amazon: http://bit.ly/1GhCtc ) just to make sure I wanted one, then I picked up a Tokina 11-16 based on the recommendations of the guys at the camera shop. (Amazon: http://bit.ly/166NGM ). But that still left me with the meat of the problem: what to do about the mid range, where, let’s be honest, most of us take most of our pictures. My lens budget was already running a bit thin (okay, it was way past thin), so I figured this one would be a challenge. But it turns out Tamron makes a couple great lenses to fill that need, a 17-50, and a 28-75 (Amazon: http://bit.ly/z7D8t ) that I ended up going with. So far I’m really happy with it, and it’s actually more versatile that I was expecting. (I was expecting that I would constantly find myself wanting to swap out to my old 70-300 mm telephoto that I’ve sadly had to start carrying to fill out the range, but I’ve found that the 75mm end gets me just far enough in that I don’t really feel the need for more except in rare circumstances.)
Today’s picture was actually taken with that lens, paired with an Opteka macro kit, which is the same thing as the Hoya macro kit that I’ve been talking about for awhile now, except a different size, to fit the new lens. Good stuff all around.
By the way, I keep posting those Amazon links because if you actually use them and then buy something (I don’t think it even has to be the thing you clicked through to), I get 4%, which as I mentioned awhile back, is only 96% away from being totally sweet. So far none of you have bought anything, but I’m still holding out hope.
That’s it! Enjoy the crazy fall weather that seems to be rolling in everywhere!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens w/ Opteka Macro Kit. 1/500s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 75mm.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I’ll be the first to admit. Today’s picture is creeeeeepy. It’s bad enough when you see a spider at normal size. You start imagining what it would be like to have it crawling slowly up your arm and.. ugh, shivers. But now, you can add a little bit of detail to your vivid imaginings. Just imagine all of those little spindly things on its legs gently brushing against your skin. Those 15 or whatever little eyeballs checking you out. Yummy.
This little guy was backlit when I took the picture, that’s why he looks like he’s glowing. I was using the Hoya Macro Kit (Link to Amazon: http://bit.ly/2l96oL ), rather than the reverse mount lens, because that’s what I had on me at the time. It works great for most purposes, but if you’re using a big telephoto lens, as I was, and it’s at the zoomed-in side, and thus extended way out, you sort of get that weird glowy fogginess that you can kind of see. Not necessarily a bad thing, it is what it is. And, I suppose I should mention that I did cheat a tiny bit: when I took the picture, he was actually upside-down. So I rotated him right around, because I felt like I was allowed.
So, sorry in advance for any nightmares or additional reliance on other people to take care of spiders that you find in your living space. I’m sure you’ll get over it eventually.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Hoya macro kit. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 400. Focal length: 183mm.