Pinhole & Zone Plate Photography. Back to the Basics – No Lens, No Meter, No Viewfinder
A couple of weekends ago I was fortunate enough to partake in a day trip down Titus Canyon in Death Valley. A colleague was wanting to work on some landscapes for the upcoming “Shooting the West” photo symposium and as I had always wanted to see this canyon and the en-lying ghost town of Leadfield, off we went.
Also around this time I had been studying the effects of pinhole photography. For the price of a lens cap I was able to pick up a pinhole/zoneplate optic for my Lensbaby to give it a try. I hadn’t really done any pinhole since college and never tried anything like zone plate photography, so was curious to see the effects and try the skills myself.
The pinhole is around an f177, so there is not enough light passing through to frame anything in the viewfinder and of course no in camera metering. While the zone plate is an f19 because of the concentric circles, the same applies. Continue reading →
A few weeks back I was able to test out the Bower 8mm fisheye lens designed with the APS sensor in mind.
The model I tried was labeled Bower, though there are many other names on the same lens produced by Samyang/Rokinon.
Supposedly an all manual lens I found the Pentax version functioned in both A & ATV priority as well.
The exposure settings on the lens seemed to be true to my camera, about 1/3 less needed in post. I only tried f5.6 & 8, as most reviews I’d read mentioned sharpness dropping off after f11.
The Bower 8mm fisheye lens instructions suggest focusing in live view. I didn’t find this helpful and found the focusing ring the best option. Other reviews mention having to calibrate the focusing ring to infinity for the model/brand camera you own. I found this to be the correct. At 1.5 feet it seemed accurate but noticed the ring would go past infinity on the scale and would be a bit out of focus.
The price is about 2/3’s less than the Pentax 10-17mm I rented a few years back and I would say the image quality of the Bower is as good. Also, I think there is less distortion than with the Pentax.
If you find yourself needing a fisheye for a project, I would consider renting a Bower 8mm fisheye/wide-angle lens. For the price they seem to be a quality lens.
More images taken with the Bower 8mm fisheye lens may be seen in archives/ghosttowns.
Last month, a fellow photographer hosted a nice discussion on her blog about post processing – do we do it, how much, personal reasons and some discussion of ethics. While I might wish to be a purist, it reminded me of how much fun I used to have in the darkroom, dodging, burning, measuring and masking to superimpose or just for finer exposure adjustment. So for June I gave myself the project of working on images that captured high detail in camera and required extensive post processing. Continue reading →
Cemeteries offer so much for photography. Art, sculpture & architecture, shadows and countless untold or forgotten stories.
The individual stories of each person interned, as well as that of the community. One can often see the economic and political eras of a community by the layout of the sections: fraternal orders, racial/ethnic, religious, pioneers, etc., as well as by the materials used: wood, iron, brick, stone. Everything within the cemetery tells the highs and lows a community has experienced.
This month I was photographing some of the pioneer graves at Benton Hot Springs. While processing the shots, I was trying to verify a name on a faded marker when I came across a story from another stone I had shot. Continue reading →
It’s been a busy month and I’ve fallen delinquent to my post.
Had a nice family vacation riding Galloping Goose 5 on the C&TRR line and then returned for a weekend workshop in Bodie lead by Jeff Sullivan and Lori Hibbett.
This workshop was a special treat. We were permitted late night access into the park from 6pm until 1am, allowing plenty of time for star trails or light painting and then interior access into several of the building the following day. Continue reading →