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.
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.
Formatt 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
Ice ND1000 + 1.3 stop circular polarizer
Spectator 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 →
Often when I’m researching historic cemeteries to photograph I turn to a website named “findagrave.com.”
Recently, out of curiosity I decided to look up the graves of my grandparents on this site to see if and how they were listed.
Thankfully, someone had recorded a memorial within the site and a photographer had added pictures of the gravestones.
To my surprise there were no links from one family member to another, parents, spouse, siblings.
The natural progression for me was to then add these family connections then locate and upload a photograph of each individual. Continue reading →
One of the cool things about where I live is the distinction of the western terminus of Historic US Route 6.
The route starts in Provincetown MA and follows a cross country track to become the second longest highway in the United States.
Originally the western terminus was in Long Beach CA and in 1937 it was the longest highway in America with a total of 3652 miles.
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 →
Don’t get me wrong, I love working is PS and have been enjoying learning new tricks in LR.
Also, it’s been over three years since I’ve even picked up any of my trusted film cameras.
Selective & soft focus through the lens.
My passion for photography actually started in the darkroom and not behind the lens, so I’ve always been enamored by the tricks and techniques for post production.
The ease and speed of being able to burn/dodge, fine tune, stack, create multiple exposures or mask for precise detailed exposure; almost every software now provides these tools for the photographic enthusiast.
When I first started with a digital camera I thought instant preview (so long polaroid backs) and eliminating developing chemicals was the only real advantage over film.
Now so much more data is recorded at the same time & in the same place, it’s incredible. Shutter & f-stop, exposure, copyright info, location, even star tracking.
No more pocket notebook and tear sheets that I would misplace and desperately look for a month later.
The digital age has brought more of photography to the masses than anything since Kodak’s “a camera for every household.” Continue reading →
Working more with the monochrome techniques we learned at the Shooting the West photography symposium I mentioned in an earlier post. In the past, I would always start in PS to make the majority of my adjustments and then switch over to LR to finalize any highlight/shadow – white/black adjustments and luminosity smoothing before final sharpening. Mark had us start in LR using the hue sliders under color/hsl to determine how we wanted to see that color tone in greyscale. Then we would set everything back to default and make the adjustments using the color sliders under B&W mix. This technique allows the photographer to adjust the photo as if they were using multiple color filter on camera in the field. Continue reading →
It’s been a very busy month. Didn’t seem like much time for photography, though I did do some work as a lighting assistant for another photographer.
This inspired me to get out my old studio lighting set up and do a little photography while working in the garden.
Tried out the very powerful Zues 2500ws lights, which normally overpower for my liking, but thought these shots came out well.
Black Locust Blooms i Black & White, aer posted on the recent additions page and will be archived in the APA portfolio page/site.
Two lights, one diffused, the other with 20* or 30* grid. Both lights at about 1/32nd power.
I was fortunate enough to attend “Shooting the West Photography Symposium” again this year and take a workshop offered by Mark Citret on creating B&W utilizing Lightroom for global adjustments and then PS for individual or spot work.
In the past I usually thought about my subject in greyscale and then shot as I imagined the final to be in my mind. I would post process in greyscale, then burn or dodge in layers/curves to bring the grey tones into the zones I desired. Finally, I would import into LR for final adjustments of blacks, whites, shadows/highlights and for any toning or sharpening I wished to add.
Mark’s technique is exactly the opposite and one I find to be interesting (as well as useful) evolving from many of the simple practices we used with film. Continue reading →
I was looking for a subject to write about on this months blog when a friend and fellow photographer complimented my Black & White work on Google+, so I thought I’d pass on some tips and tricks that work for me. I’ll break this into two categories: photographing and processing.
I generally prefer to view art, photographs and films in Black & White. This is partially because my eyes don’t process light very well and colors tend to appear extremely flat or overly saturated (though this has been a blessing for low light and night vision.)
This deficiancy in my vision I find to be one of the initial and most useful tricks I use in Black and White photography.
Realizing I’ve fallen way behind in posting anything to the blog.
Sept. I was traveling to visit family and October started the work preparation for the winter season at the ski area.
I did make it to a great workshop in October led by Jeff Sullivan where we spent one night working on light paintings and then managed to obtain entrance into 14 buildings.
I have started to post these photos on the recent Additions page and they will be archived under archives – ghosttowns as I process them throughout the winter.
This month, I was also passed the #fivedayblackandwhitechallenge on Google+ and chose Manzanar Historic Site as my theme.
These photos are now on the Recent Additions page and also archived under landmarks/poi.
I always love photographing at Manzanar, there is so much beauty and history there. Every time I visit I see or learn something new.
It is also an ideal location for Black and White photography as color isn’t the predominate feature of the landscape so one must work with tones.
Hope you enjoy and if you ever have the chance, please visit this part of our American history.