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

Lensbaby Plastic Optic

Recently picked up the Lensbaby Plastic Optic.

I arrived at Lensbaby to late to buy the original optics as a kit and started with the Sweet35.

Selective Focus Photography, Plastic Optic, LensBaby, Exa Camera, Pentax K-01, Bishop CA, Owns Valley CA
Lensbaby Plastic Optic @f8

Though the Lensbaby system isn’t for everyday shooting, I really enjoy the special effects they create.
Think I own all of the original optics now plus the Sweet35 & Edge80.

Selective Focus Photography, Plastic Optic, LensBaby, Exa Camera, Pentax K-01, Bishop CA, Owns Valley CA
Lensbaby Plastic Optic @ f4

Of all of the first generation plug ins, I think the Zoneplate and the Plastic are my two favorites. Really enjoy the vintage Holga or Dinah look this optic creates.

Selective Focus Photography, Plastic Optic, LensBaby, Exa Camera, Pentax K-01, Bishop CA, Owns Valley CA
Lensbaby Plastic Optic @ f2.8

And a few from the filed

What’s the fuss about lens quality reviews

(Recently submitted post to PentaxForums.)

I find it curious how we photographers fret so much over lens quality reviews or lens superiority AND I do understand the difference between precision engineered glass and a soda bottle.

It’s easy to blur/fade an image made from a lens transmitting great IQ but impossible to add detail from an optic that never saw it in the first place.

I was using PF long before I became a member (I know, my bad) because of the wonderful amount of knowledge shared here by fellow Pentaxians. The lens database is incredible, especially the coverage of vintage and third party lenses.

My ex girlfriend shoots Canon and doing a fair amount of research there, it seems nearly impossible to find any reviews on anything other than the “latest & greatest” (and never so much information in one place.) I sense PF members seem more concerned with sharing creative process than promoting Market Hype.

I curb myself as much as possible from LBA but do like to keep informed on lens performance (vintage and modern), especially the diversified hands on experience I find here. Reading a recent post on Lenses and the K-1, I was very pleased with a response by Noel Porter. “One of the key things with any lens is understanding it’s characteristics and using it’s strengths or avoiding it’s weak areas (soft corners wide open etc).” (Read more at: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/190-pentax-k-1/329374-my-k-1-wasted-my-legacy-glass.html#ixzz4JuFQw1zm)

I’ve always viewed lenses as paint brushes. An artist may use two different brushes of the same size or shape to achieve different desired effects.

My main workhorse lens is a Sigma 24-60/2.8, it provides consistently good IQ. It will never provide the color and smoothness of my M50/1.7, the sharpness of my A50/2.8 macro or dirty/gritty film feel of my Vivitar 35/2.8. The Sigma 70-200/2.8 DG OS USM is in no way superior to my old F300/4.5 for IQ, but is the “go-to” lens during low light, nighttime sports events (and yet it never finds itself in the vest pocket like the tak-f 70-200 on a day hike.) They each are what they are.

Still, one of my favorite techniques is – NO LENS PHOTOGRAPHY (IQ be damned) – images below.

Zone Plate on K3

Black Locust Blooms, backyard photography, garden photography, plant photography, fine art, zone plate

http://www.instructables.com/id/PHOTOGRAPHY%3A-Creating-Perfect-Pinholes-and-Zonepla/

http://www.whizkidtech.redprince.net/zoneplate/

Writing with light – The brush doesn’t make the painting, the painting dictates the brush.

I’m consistently impressed while reading an inquiry here on the forums, how often a responding member will ask for more information on someones shooting style, subject matter, etc. before giving a recommendation. Sometimes it’s the newest technology when appropriate but often members encourage us to explore the strong characteristics of what we might already have or can easily obtain.

I look forward to reading more “fretting” over lenses, you folks make it an enjoyable treat and me happy to be a member of PF.

Another Zone Plate

Laws - California - locomotive - slim princess - railroads - museums - zone plate - black&white - monochrome - Bishop

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