Friday, March 11, 2011
Wow, busy week, what can I say? Here’s a shot of a rose, in just under the wire on Friday.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Kiron 105mm Macro lens. 1/250s, aperture unknown, ISO 200.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Wait, what?? This blog is still getting posted to? Man, I thought it was dead there for awhile. But then, BAM, just like that, a new post.
That’s right, folks, I’m getting back on the horse! The horse meaning, of course, the habit of occasionally posting pictures, maybe a few times a week if you’re lucky. I spent some time out of town over the holidays and all that, but I’m back now. Perhaps eventually I’ll even toss up a couple photos from that trip. But, not today. I haven’t even downloaded them from the camera yet, honestly. Hopefully soon, we’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s another insect and a flower. It’s true, this one is very similar to a photo I posted a long time ago. But, while it was taken at the same location (the Rose Garden in Woodland Park), it was taken about a year later, using different equipment. So it’s totally fair game. Because, you know, it’s all a game, with rules and stuff. And I hate breaking the rules.
Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll try and put up at least two posts next week, but I totally want to ease everyone back into this, so I’ll definitely take it slow.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens, Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Welcome to December! Hope you didn’t have any trouble getting here. I’m kind of breaking one of my sort-of quasi rules today, in that I’m already posting another picture of some roses from across the street, when I already just posted one a couple weeks ago.
But!! There’s a reason for it. Somebody asked me recently about mounting non-Canon lenses on a modern Canon dSLR. It’s true that I talked about it the last time I posted a shot from this particular camera/lens combination (as well as a couple other times over the years), but it never hurts to cover it again. To recap: this was taken with an old Kiron 105mm macro lens that was built with an old Minolta mount. When I say “old”, I mean really old, back when they used actual physical actuators to control the aperture, none of this electronic craziness. I mean GOSH.
I won’t bore you with the full description of why that’s interesting again, especially when I already linked to a whole post talking about it. BUT, I whipped up a little illustration of some of the points I was talking about when I was talking to the reader that was asking, so I figured that was of general enough interest that I should share it here as well. I was talking about how lenses that are built for different camera mounts are expecting to have different distances between the rear end of the lens and the sensor or film. But that’s the kind of thing that is much easier to visualize if you’re looking at a picture of it. So, I made a picture of it. The first section shows the normal situation, using a lens designed for the mount that your camera uses. The next section shows what happens when you use a lens that expects a LONGER lens-to-sensor distance (ie, Nikon lens on Canon mount), and when you attach a mount adapter to it. And, the last section shows a lens that wants a SHORTER distance (ie, Minolta lens on Canon mount), using an adaptor either with or without glass. When I shrunk the image down to a reasonable size, some of the text became too small to read, but the labels for the adapters say “Adapter (no glass)” and “Adapter (cheap glass)”.
So, there you go. Now you all get it, right? Yay!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Kiron 105mm macro lens. 1/250s, ISO 200. Aperture unknown.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
You’d think that, given that it’s a short week this week (Thanksgiving is this Thursday for those of us in the states – which means that a lot of folks get Thursday and Friday off) that I’d make sure to post every day that I could, so I could at least get in three posts this week. But no, you’d be way wrong. Waaaaaay wrong. Wow, how’s it feel to be so wrong? I bet it stings, just a bit.
We got some snow here in Seattle, so it’s definitely winter now, but I’m still going to keep tossing some fall color pics your way for awhile. Like this one. This came (like a lot of other pics I post here) from the Woodland Park Rose Garden, across the street. Just like the last post, this picture was also edited 100% in Lightroom, instead of Picasa. My feelings about lightroom haven’t changed a whole lot since then. It’s still fairly powerful, but DOG slow. Whereas in Picasa I can take a picture from zero to processed in less than a minute, I find myself taking 10 or 20 minutes for each one in Lightroom. Not because I’m doing anything crazy (I’m still just tweaking the exposure) but just because it’s so dang unresponsive. Garr, it’s frustrating. But, all that being said, I’m leaning toward buying it, because it does have one killer feature that isn’t in Picasa: noise reduction. For those times when you just can’t get around using a high ISO, being able to smooth the noise right out is really really nice. Granted, there are a lot of other choices for noise reduction as well, and in fact I already own an old copy of some software called NeatImage, which works really well. But, the interface to it is a bit kludgy (the newer versions may very well be better, I’ve had this one for several years), and it’s completely external to my workflow and doesn’t fit in nicely, so I find myself very rarely using it. But the way it’s implemented in Lightroom is really nice and intuitive and useful (other than the maddening slowness), so I think it’d be a nice tool to have. But, if I find out that Picasa adds a noise reduction filter that works even reasonably well (or if Picnik adds one!) Lightroom would be gone. I guess I should do some research to see if something like that is coming, before I drop the cash, huh? Hmmm..
Okay, that’s it for today. Tomorrow I’m going to post a mountainy picture, then you’re on your own until AT LEAST next Monday. Man oh man, how are you going to get by??
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/100s, f/3.2, ISO 800. Focal length: 50mm.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Hey, look at that, you all got lucky today! Just when you had given up on your dreams of seeing a new post on this lovely Wednesday, a picture of a rose appears. I of course took this one across the street, in the Woodland Park Rose Garden, earlier this summer. I took it using the old 105mm Kiron macro lens (with a Minolta mount!) that I picked up (very) used on Ebay earlier this year. It’s a tough lens to use, for a number of reasons (which I’ll detail out here in a bit), but every time I come across a picture I took with it, it just takes my breath away. I keep trying to justify not using it, and instead using a lens that’s easier (again, see the list below), but man, this lens takes nice shots.
So, what’s so tough about using this guy? Well, mostly stuff that I’ve mentioned several times before. First of all, it’s manual focus. Which I know, is a lame thing to complain about. But, seriously, it’s really easy to get wrong. Especially when you factor in part 2, which is that the aperture control is totally manual. Meaning, it has a physical actuator that can be used to automatically control the aperture (so that it’s wide open while you’re focusing, but then it steps down when you hit the shutter button), but new, modern, electronically controlled cameras don’t know what to do with a little spring-loaded knob that you need to push aside to open the aperture. So, you have to deal with trying to focus with the aperture stepped down, which (obviously) greatly reduces the amount of light you have to, you know, focus with. Also, (somewhat less obviously), stepping down the aperture has the expected effect of lengthening your depth of field, so whereas it’s really easy to see exactly where the point of focus is when the aperture is wide open, it can be really tough when just about everything LOOKS in focus through the view finder, especially when everything is also very very dark.
Then, to top it all off, the range of stuff you can even focus on with this lens is pretty limited. Meaning, you can’t focus to infinity. Why that is has to do with the difference between the lens that uses an old Minolta mount, and the camera that uses a Canon EF-S mount. So, you see, the lens expects there to be a very specific distance between the rear of the lens and the sensor. If you have a lens that has the same mount as your camera, this isn’t an issue, since the mount points are designed to put the lens at exactly the right distance. But, different mounts require different distances. Some longer, some shorter. Canon’s EF mount is generally pretty convenient, because it requires a shorter distance than most others. Meaning, the mount points on the camera will put the lens CLOSER to the sensor than most non-Canon-mount lenses want. Why is this convenient? Well, because you can’t just attach a non-Canon-mount lens to a Canon. You need an adapter. So if the lens wants to be further away than the camera wants the lens to be, then you just make the adapter the correct width to make everybody happy. The camera doesn’t actually care about how far away the lens is, it just has it’s mount points at a certain location. But the lens DOES care, so you can make the adapter the right width. But, as I mentioned, that only works if the lens wants to be FURTHER than the camera’s mount wants it to be. If the distance is the same, or the lens’s ideal distance is shorter… well then it doesn’t quite work. And the way that the “not quite working” is manifested is that the range of stuff you can focus on moves closer. To completely make up numbers, let’s say a lens would normally be able to focus on anything between 10 feet away and infinity. If you mount it (using an adapter) on a camera who’s mount needs a shorter distance, you’ll instead be able to focus on things that are (again using made up numbers) 5 feet away to 20 feet away. It moves the window closer, and makes it smaller. It’s exactly the same thing that happens when you use macro extension tubes. In fact, that’s the whole idea behind macro extension tubes – you move the nearest focus distance much closer to the camera at the expense of being able to focus on things that are more than a couple inches away. So, the old Minolta mount is one of those few exceptions to the “Canon EF is a convenient mount” rule. It actually wants a shorter distance than the Canon EF/EF-S mount. So, if you’re using it as a macro lens (and you’re thinking about tossing an extension tube on anyway) it’s not really an issue. But if you want to use it as a general-purpose lens, well, then you’re out of luck.
Phew, that was a lot more words than I was intending to use today. That wiped me out.
On a completely unrelated note, I’ve started reading more and more the blog of a guy named Bill Hess who lives in Wasilla, Alaska. He’s been a professional photographer for quite awhile, and his blog is regularly updated and is a joy to read. Today’s post in particular was about being invited onto the set of a film they’re filming up in Alaska, so if you haven’t visited his blog before, it’s a great time to start. Click here to visit.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Kiron 105mm macro lens. 1/200s, aperture unknown. ISO: 400.