Macro Photography Lens Stacking

As I’ve mentioned on my macros page, I’m not a macro photography purist.
I don’t focus on achieving a 1:1 life-size ratio when photographing a subject.
I do prefer using dedicated macro lenses (at least close focus) or macro techniques while doing close focus work as I find there is less distortion than with wide angle lenses.
I also enjoy trying anything that will spur my creativity.

Lens Stacking, Lens Reversal, Pentax M200/4, Rodagon 105/5.6, Bishop CA, Pentax K-1, Macro, Macro Photography, 2:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Extreme Macro Photography, Fine Art Photography

This last winter, I was reading a website on extreme macro photography lens stacking and came across an article about using the Pentax M200/4 as a barrel lens for micro-photograpy work.
Extreme-Macro is a fantastic site for studying anything to do with close focus work. There is a wealth of information ranging from techniques to lenses, lighting or magnification calculations.
The page I stumbled upon mentioned the Pentax M200/4 as a wonderful lens to couple with a microscope objective for extreme work.

Lens Stacking, Lens Reversal, Pentax M200/4, Rodagon 105/5.6, Bishop CA, Pentax K-1, Macro, Macro Photography, 2:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Extreme Macro Photography, Fine Art Photography

As I have an old M200 that doesn’t get used in this digital age, I decided to pull it out and see what I might be able to do with what I already had on hand or at least low cost investment.
A 52mm-52mm coupling ring, a 52mm-40.5mm step-down ring (which I did have to buy) and my old Rodagon 105/5.6 enlarging lens reverse mounted.
I must admit here that I am often lazy about using a tripod unless doing night shots and still prefer using an optical viewfinder over the rear lcd so achieving and maintaining focus with any depth of field would be a challenge.
I was surprised at how easy this combination was to hand hold and still achieve nice photos with a magnification of approx. 1.9:1.
Also, it was a fantastic pleasure to view something larger than life and try to see it in an artistic style.

Lens Stacking, Lens Reversal, Pentax M200/4, Rodagon 105/5.6, Bishop CA, Pentax K-1, Macro, Macro Photography, 2:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Extreme Macro Photography, Fine Art Photography

Next I tried a reverse mount combination of the M200 with a Sigma 24/2.8 for a magnification ratio of approx. 8.3:1.
The added weight of the Sigma made it much harder to handhold but still produced nice results, though even at f16 the depth of field is very shallow.
This will take a lot more practice to get the my creative sight going.

I have been enjoying this new artistic view of the world so much that I just purchased an old EL-Nikkor 50/2.8 enlarging lens to use in the field (don’t want to take my Rodenstock out into the elements)
and am now on the hunt for an infinity focus objective plus adapter.

Seeing in Black & White – Infrared Photography

Infrared Photography resembles the image in my mind’s eye.

Plant Photography, Vine Flower, Lensbaby Plastic Optic, Bishop CA, Pentax K01, Macro, Macro Photography, 1:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Infrared Photography, IR, Infrared, Fine Art Photography

I always preferred shooting black and white film before I moved to digital, I even usually prefer seeing other art formats in B&W. I didn’t even make the jump to digital until around 2007/08 because of the desire to continue working with b&w film and prints in the darkroom. The primary reasons for the switch were the hassle of disposing of chemicals in a rural environment and the Polaroid effect of seeing instant results.

Plant Photography, Grass Seed, Lensbaby Plastic Optic, Bishop CA, Pentax K01, Macro, Macro Photography, 1:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Infrared Photography, IR, Infrared, Fine Art Photography

I loved the manipulation process in the darkroom to create the image I liked, I can’t say I really enjoy doing the same on a computer.

Plant Photography, Vine Leaf, Lensbaby Plastic Optic, Bishop CA, Pentax K01, Macro, Macro Photography, 1:1 Photography, Closeup Photography, Infrared Photography, IR, Infrared, Fine Art Photography

Over these digital years I have attended some fantastic workshops on how to process digital black and white, much the same as one would create a b&w image from a color negative. One of he best was at Shooting the West with Mark Citret, learning how to adjust curves, contrast and hue/saturation to try and achieve detail in each zone of grey from white to black.

Infrared Photography, Infra Red, IR Photography, monochrome, monochrome photography, Pentax K-01, Tiffen #87 Filter, Silos, Owens River CA, Owens Valley CA, Bishop CA

Still often I would find myself shooting in color. If the zones of grey were off a bit or the detail wasn’t fine enough in a particular zone, color would often mask what my mind’s eye thought should be there.

This last year I decided to try infrared photography again and had a Pentax K-01 converted to full spectrum using r72 and #87 filters on the lens.

Infrared Photography, Infra Red, IR Photography, monochrome, monochrome photography, Pentax K-01, Tiffen #87 Filter, Cow, Round Valley CA, Owens Valley CA, Bishop CA

What a joy! To work in almost pure black and white again has been extremely satisfying.

I’ve realized that even though my eyes do see color, (I can distinguish red from blue and yellow or green, etc.,) they are always bland.

In my mind’s eye I see in light or lack of, resulting in shape, form and texture.

Infrared Photography, Infra Red, IR Photography, monochrome, monochrome photography, Pentax K-01, Tiffen #87 Filter, Mt. Tom, Round Valley CA, Owens Valley CA, Bishop CA

Now the challenge will be going back to color:)

Infrared Photography, Infra Red, IR Photography, monochrome, monochrome photography, Pentax K-01, Tiffen #87 Filter, Ranch House, Round Valley CA, Owens Valley CA, Bishop CA

National Automobile Museum – Reno

Every time I visit, I feel one of the most overlooked attractions, in Reno Nevada is the National Automobile Museum.

This place is amazing. It contains vintage automobiles in pristine and restored condition from the Harrah’s collection.

Era’s start with the early horseless carriages and vehicles built for commercial and race uses to the mid 1960’s. The history behind many of these vehicle is fascinating in itself but the architecture and art in their designs is beautiful.

Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - Pentax K1 Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - Pentax K1 Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - Pentax K1

Highly recommend this place for a visit. Entrance is in and out for the day and seldom more than a half dozen visitors at a time. Allows plenty of time to read, view and photograph this impressive collection.

Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - monochrome photography - monochrome - Pentax K1 Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - monochrome photography - monochrome - Pentax K1 Reno - Nevada - reno auto museum - national automobile museum - auto - museums - strobe photography - fine art photography - monochrome photography - monochrome - Pentax K1

Not much to write about this month, Just enjoying the Pentax K-1

Spending time this month reading about lenses and the Pentax K-1.

I find Pentax Forums a very nice resource for all sorts of material, lenses, cameras, flash, techniques – and not necessarily related to solely Pentax.
Easy to research articles and always someone willing to give a helpful reply.
Shots taken this month with the Pentax K-1 and various lenses or optics.

ND Filter Color Cast Test

Lately I’ve been examining the color cast created by the ND filters I own.
I have a beautiful Singh-Ray soft grad 0.9 that was given to me as a gift years ago and a set of Formatt Hitech 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2 which I use primarily for strobe work.
Granted the Formatt’s are resin CR-39 instead of glass but they permit me to open my aperture for shallow DOF with the slow flash sync speed of the Pentax.
I have notice a small amount of magenta color cast while using them as such but never found it to be too overwhelming to clean out in post.

Nevada - Montgomery Pass - Boundry Peak Motel - Boundry Peak - abandoned - abandoned motel - monochrome - historic locations - Formatt Hitech ND Filter - ND Filter Review - nd filter color castFormatt ND0.9 with Yongnuo IV Speedlight

On a shoot a couple of months back I tried to stack the Formatts to achieve a 7 stop ND effect.
Wow, was the color cast dense. So heavy I couldn’t pinpoint a spot with either LR or PS Raw to achieve a natural WB.
Looking on the web for ND color cast I came across a review for the Ice ND1000 by a fellow Pentaxian which showed minimal casting between the image shot and corrected.
When B&H listed the P series of $49.95, I decided to give it a try. If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t be out that much.
While I haven’t used it much, I’ve been pleased with the results so far. It is made of optical glass and feels much like my Singh-Ray in build quality, one to take care of for long life

California - Bishop - Sculpture - White Mountain - historic locations - Ice ND Filter - Ice ND1000 - ND Filter - ND Filter Review - nd filter color castIce ND1000 + 1.3 stop circular polarizer

California - Bishop - Horned Lizard - Horned Toad - animals on the decline - circular polarizer - ND Filter ReviewSpectator during the shoot 1.3 stop circular polarizer

Decided to try an experiment to see how my filters compared to each other for cast by brand.
I kept as many constants as possible: tripod, f8.0, ISO 100, 50mm focal length and WB set in camera to 5500k.
In LR the as shot WB showed as 5300 temp and -16 tint (slightly to the green) on all photos.
I chose the exact same point (mid grey rock) in each photo to achieve the WB correction and will list the difference with each photo. Continue reading

Using ND Filters for Strobes and Speedlights

ND Filters, often used to slow exposure times can also achieve great effects with flash.

Being a loyal Pentaxian, one of the biggest limitations to my setup is the flash sync speed of 1/180.
I often wonder where Pentax came up with this exposure and why they hadn’t developed a higher sync speed of 200 or 250 like many of their competitors.
Then I remember my film days and cameras that only had a sync of 125 and realize that even a shutter of 800 is slow compared to the speed of flash.

Flash or strobe work is really the balance of two exposures simultaneously.
Background or intent – exposed with ambient light, controlled by shutter, ISO and aperture plus Subject – exposed by flash, controlled by ISO and aperture.
Shutter speeds don’t really come into play during the flash part of the exposure, as most flash units fire much faster than the top sync speeds in cameras today.

Often, I find the strength of my studio strobes and non-ttl speedlights powerful enough on their lowest settings, that even with a low ISO 100 and the fastest sync speed of 180
I must still use an aperture of f11 or f16 to keep the highlights from blowing out beyond recovery.
When I have my ideal exposure setting for the flash, these small lens openings often cause an undesired effect,
they create a greater depth of field, taking focus away from the subject. Continue reading

Yongnuo YN560 System for Pentax

Yongnuo YN560 IV & TX with Pentax

Recently I picked up a pair of Yongnuo YN560 IV speed lights to use with my K3.
Though I still love my Paul C Buff Zeus lights and packs, I was looking for something smaller and lighter to carry out into the field.
I had finally decided to break down and buy another Pentax AF540FGZ to give me the two light setup.

I have used my Buff radio syncs to trigger my original Pentax light and own a backup I figured I would use for the second light.
Only draw back I’ve noticed is the Pentax flashes don’t perform well in TTL for strobe work and in manual mode one must consistently go to each flash for adjustments.

RailRoad - Railway - California - Eastern Sierra - museums - miners cabin - lantern - coffee pot - strobe - Yongnuo - Bishop - Laws

While watching for used speed lights at B&H, I started noticing the reviews for the Yongnuo YN560’s.
Versions I, II & III all had exceptional reviews.
The only negatives I found were that this model isn’t TTL compatible with any camera and that the original two versions required radio slaves for off camera firing.
Versions III & IV are capable of working directly with the YN560-TX controller so all exposure and zoom adjustments may be done on camera. Version IV can also act as a controller for additional version III or IV lights. Continue reading