A new journey begins, circa 1965

29 05 2009

Today I received an early 1960s Pentax SV SLR camera on “loan” from a PentaxForums member. This camera is traveling around the US and all you have to pay for is shipping to the next person in line (and for film naturally 😉 ). A flickr group has been created to showcase the pictures we make using this camera, and you can see it here: Sightseeing Screwmount

15. Home

I have it for about 2 weeks and some film will be delivered tomorrow. Then comes the fun of processing them and the “fun” of scanning and post processing.

Why will this be any different than using another manual film cam like my Pentax MX or Fujica ST801? To start with, there is no meter inside the camera. That’s right…none. So I will have to depend on either the “Sunny 16 Rule” or use a light meter or another camera’s light meter. Or just be lucky at guessing…who knows 😉

The SV comes with a well-used “well-loved” Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8 lens. Should also be fun to give that a spin on the K10D.

Since this is a screwmount camera, I can use my M42 extension tubes, Sears 55mm f/1.4 lens (just have to be sure it’ll clear the mirror), and Vivitar 28mm f/2.5 preset lens. A nice little kit with a 55 and 28, although the 28 is not small!

I made a little unboxing story using my other cameras, follow along in the set if you’d like 😀 Using one flash as most of my light is not ideal…and flickr needs to stop messing with my pics.

My favorite shot from that set:
7. Peeking

I hope you will enjoy this adventure as much as I will! 😀


Try something a little different

23 05 2009

Normally, I think of myself as a “true-to-life” photographer (if I could even call myself one! :P). I really dislike over the top HDR images, or anything that you can tell has been PhotoShopped to death. Today, I took some pictures out on the porch and when I reviewed them on the computer, they didn’t really do anything for me. Available light can be so boring at times.

When I go into PS (through Adobe Bridge), the adjustments I touch are what I consider “traditional wet darkroom” techniques. Basically, if it couldn’t be done before the advent of computers, it’s too much for me. At the risk of calling myself I liar, I do enjoy PS Fuji Velvia film style once in a while. The visual styles from the movie 300 also appeal to me here and there.

What have I done today? Well, no plugins first off. These were tweaked with the settings/sliders in Adobe Bridge and USM (Unsharp Mask) added inside CS3. I just started sliding and this is what came out!

(Both taken with Pentax K10D and Sears 55mm f/1.4 lens @ f/4, ISO 400, hand-held)

I wanted to accentuate the mask’s colors and also emphasize the wood’s grain since they are basically on the same focus plane. If the mask were 6-12 inches away from the wall, I would have downplayed the wood. Vibrancy of color is something I enjoy immensely, one of the reasons I can’t “just” shoot B&W film. Color is too awesome! (I realize the mask is not straight. I wanted to work with the wood panel’s lines, for sure, and the mask seemed more natural while tilted a little.)

Mysterious Tilt
(900px link here )

This next shot, however, was taken with bokeh and highlights in mind. When I sat down to review it, the background was plain distracting. A square crop was what I felt worked best with the pot and the shape of the plant. The colors just didn’t “pop” to me so lowering the contrast seemed a good workaround. I’ve titled it something appropriate 😀 Although I didn’t have a hand–errr…thumb–in its demise 😉 (Still not sure if I like this pic or not…)

Dr. No Thumb
(900px size here )

Have a great long weekend! I hope you have good light, and be safe 🙂

Wow…another new species in my yard

15 05 2009

This little guy makes for probably the 5th new bird in my yard so far in 09. He’s added to the list of Yellow-bellied sapsucker, White-throated sparrow, and a Wren of some kind that I could only capture in silhouette.

The female flew away before I could get a decent pic. Standing on my front steps, this Scarlet Tanager kept hopping from branch to branch, reminiscent of the little Chickadees. Finally, he stopped and looked just right and I was lucky to get a decent shot where he wasn’t covered by leaves.

Most of my bird shots are 100% crops or more…meaning…I’ve taken just a small part of the center of the picture and cropped out the rest. 100% means that I’m cropping the image at “pixel level.” In other words, 100% signifies that I am have the picture “blown up” to native resolution on my screen (about 20-some by 30-ish inches) and I’m just using roughly the center 8×10 inches of it.

Technical aspects: 100% crop from Pentax K10D, Raw, FA 80-320mm f/4.5-5.6 lens @ 240mm and f/5.6, ISO 800, no noise reduction.

Scarlet Tanager
(900px version here)

Keep looking up into the trees! You never know who could be in them 😉

It’s time to do the “Spring Thing”

7 05 2009

With a couple of good days of rain followed by sunshine, all of a sudden everything is blooming and showing signs of life (finally!). With that, comes the pictures that people seem to hate the most: flowers.

Poking around the usual forums, such as PentaxForums, there are lots of posts of the various forms of flora. Of course, once you get that macro lens you’ve wanted for some time now, what better subject is there? They don’t move or run away, or get scared when you get as close as you want.

I happen to think that flowers are great, not only as test subjects, but as photographic subjects. When you get a chance to look at them inside “arm’s length,” you really notice their colors and textures…how the petals are setup…the shapes of the stamens and pistils…and the list goes on.

Boring you with a close-up shot would be cliche. So why not something different? How about a Blooming Crab tree with a maple in background, taken with a macro lens, at an (effective) focal length of 180mm? 🙂

IMGP4715 copy
Larger here

Whatever subject matter you enjoy most, it’s that time of year. Get outside, enjoy yourself, and do your own “Spring Thing.”
Have fun!