Monthly Archives: April 2015

Get Closer

Some things in this world can be done in strangely different ways – macro work is one such thing. There are various ways to get more subject magnification with macro photography these include:- different lenses, extension tubes and macro filters.

A macro filter is a simple convex lens that, like spectacles for those with long vision, allows you to move the lens closer to the subject. The problem is that these types of screw on lenses tend to be of a simple design which keeps cost low but provides less than optimal image quality. What we really need is a good quality macro filter with coated optics and kick ass quality – this is where the unnatural stuff happens.

Some years ago someone realised that a second camera lens could do a great job of getting that extra magnification. The easiest way to mount the lenses to each other is to reverse the second lens and use an adaptor to go front to front or stacked (not to be confused with the macro technique of focus stacking) as it’s known.

The adaptor rings fit the filter threads on each lens usually of lenses of similar size. In the shot below you can see a 50mm f/1.4 attached via the adaptor ring onto the front of the 100mm f/2.8 macro.

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The trick is finding an adaptor ring here in Australia – perhaps they exist but they are rare as hens’ teeth. Some people use two cheap filters and remove the glass and then glue them together. This works but I somehow wouldn’t trust glue to keep a delicate 50mm lens from falling off. I found using two Cokin P-series adaptor rings you can make a flexible adaptor ring.

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As can be seen the adaptors are joined back to with three small screws drilled in the metal towards the edge. If I decide to use a different lens then all I do is unscrew the halves and fit the appropriately sized adaptor ring. The cost of the generic adaptors used were around $8 each – approx $20 for some serious macro fun – bargain!

The adaptor rings fit the filter threads on each lens usually of lenses of similar size. In the shot below you can see a 50mm f/1.4 attached via the adaptor ring onto the front of the 100mm f/2.8 macro.

To give you an idea of what you can get, the two images below show a 100mm macro alone at maximum magnification (on a Canon 5D both shot at f/11) and using the stacked 50 f/1.4 at maximum magnification. As can bee seen from the first image above the focus distance is very close – this results in half of the battery below being in shadow. As you see at f/11 depth of field is razor thin.

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The shorter the focal length of the front lens the greater the magnification and the closer you have to put your object of choice. A 28mm for example approximately doubles magnification over using a 50mm. Some combinations of lenses may vignette – especially on a full frame body. Given the huge magnification it’s a method best used indoors on a tripod.

Un-natural stuff like stacking lenses isn’t for everyone but for about $20 it could be worth giving it a go just for the fun of doing something new and different.

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Train Coming

I’ve seen a lot of images taken with a ND400 (10 stop neutral density) filter, I’ve taken several with my own. A common theme amongst them is slowing water and other natural movement in landscapes. As a different aspect for this filter, I decided to take an iconic photograph of the Puffing Billy steam train that runs near home.

Getting closer…..

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Getting Closer

The challenges are several fold in shooting this scene – trains run every 90 mins or so in this direction, deciding the shutter speed, focus and exposure on a moving target that will only appear for a few fleeting seconds are decidedly tricky.

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Just past….

In the end it’s not a perfect image. The front of the train is just past the apex of the bend – a point where the motion of the front of the train would have been frozen. The other little gripe is it was just a bit too nice of a day next to the bridge – the normally wet weather gives a deep colour to the forest and a darkness to the wooden bridge.

It’s a promising use of an ND400 filter so I’ll be back at some stage in the future when I hope I’ll be able to catch the train.

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The times they are…

..changin’

One of the small damnations in digital photography is that when you travel you sometimes forget to adjust the time on your digital camera when you travel. Thankfully Lightroom has a solution in hand to keep the image libraries organised.

In the Library module select all the images you want to adjust. Go to the metadata menu > choose edit capture time

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from here you get the adjust capture time dialog box

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I used the shift by a set number of hours option. The head hurts bit is finding out the correct number of hours to adjust by. In this case it wasn’t too bad since Europe is GMT and I could add an hour for daylight savings time to get me to -11.

After this is done you can then filter your library to confirm that you can tell sunset from sunrise in Paris.

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One of the small issues remaining, as the name implies, is that only the metedata of the file is changed – file operations are not performed so you have to move the files to the correct dated folder yourself.

 

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