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Archive for May, 2010

Sunday was such a beautiful day that sitting inside in front of a computer monitor was inconceivable. When I finally turned my computer on I fished about in my archives to come up with a suitable image for Monday Macros.

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I have no idea what this monochrome blossom is. I found a scan of a very old (40 years old) color slide that had a decidedly blue cast that I didn’t like so I converted the image to B&W in the Gimp. I probably took this shot hand held (I didn’t own a tripod back then) with my Pentax Spotmatic and extension tube(s). I like the monochrome rendition.

Sunday’s weather was perfection! Not a cloud in the sky, a pleasant breeze and temps in the eighties — a perfect beginning to the summer. Sunday was a perfect day in other respects as well.

I took a nice ten mile ride on my bicycle in the morning. And in the afternoon, I got my mom out of her house for the day. We went over to my daughter’s place for a family BBQ. Naturally I took my camera and hope to have some decent shots soon. I’ll send my roll of color film off for processing in Tuesday’s mail and finish the roll of B&W I started sometime during the week.

Mom was tired when I brought her home but she enjoyed the day with her family. She ate hearty and smiled a lot. Mom is 87 and her twin great granddaughters are 19 months old and they are so cute now. Yeah, Sunday was a fine day!

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I raided my archives for this week’s image and I went deep — back 40 years to 1970 when black and white film was king, color was expensive and the only way to make a print was in the wet darkroom.

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Meet Muley, my wife’s cat. He was a handsome brute and one of the nicest cats you’d ever want to meet. Muley’s long gone but his image lives on thanks to the archival qualities of black and white film and a decent film scanner. I dug out this negative last winter and scanned it into my computer using my Minolta scan dual III, an inexpensive yet competent scanner.

I love monochrome photography and use film exclusively. Nothing wrong with digital but I can’t afford the quality I already enjoy with my film equipment and I prefer working directly with black and white. Can’t argue with the price either. I buy my film, the chemistry I need for processing and the archive sleeves for just under $3/roll.

The negative I used for this image was in storage for 40 years. Who knows what technology will bring in the next year, five years or even ten years? Whatever it is, my negatives will be ready.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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I haven’t had much time to make new images lately so I traveled back in the way-back machine and dipped into my archives for this week’s reflections.

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Have a peek into Emily’s world. This photo of my granddaughter Emily was taken about 7 or 8 years ago. I caught her unaware and innocent.

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One day last month I took my F3 and my new toys (gorillapod and right angle viewer) out in the yard for some fun and testing. The early spring, late afternoon light was perfect and I wanted to finish off my roll of Provia slide film and get it off to the lab for processing.

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Because it is so flexible, the gorillapod can be a bit tricky to set up. This was my first time and I managed this macro. The foliage and flowers are small and low to the ground so my right angle finder was essential and worked a charm. I used my 85mm lens with a two element close up attachment lens for this shot. I liked the side lighting and the way portions of the leaves were backlit.

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I moved a bit closer for this shot. I did have a hard time getting and holding the composition I wanted. Not bad, but I like the first shot better.

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Enough of the gorillapod — I went in the house and got my ‘real’ tripod out for this shot. I was playing with the light here. This is a close up among the young leaves of our river birch tree. Much easier to use a good solid tripod. Once I locked in my composition, I metered manually through the lens then locked up my mirror for the shot.

I have another roll of color film in my F3 that I’m working on. This time it’s Ektar color print film. I’ve been playing with my string pod, my right angle attachment and my 35mm lens in the field. I’m only a third of the way through the 36 exposures. With a little luck and some time, I’d like to finish up the roll this week (next week at the latest).

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Both of these pictures were shot on the 9/11 trail in the Chestnut Branch Park near my home a few weeks ago. Both were taken on 35mm B&W film, the first with a 28mm lens and the second with a 35mm lens. I thought it would be fun to look up into the branches of these large trees.

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This first image was taken under fairly flat lighting conditions. I was fascinated with the way the branches of this tall evergreen tree all radiate from the large trunk and form interesting patterns against the sky.

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I was back on the trail a few days later in the middle of a bright sunny Saturday. Another large tree but this time deciduous and a much different character. I took this before I got my right angle finder for my Nikons. I’ve taken a few shots using the finder but the film is still in the camera waiting for me to find the time to do more shooting.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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I dug into my archives again for this week’s reflections. I had forgotten about these shots taken from my back seat on the way to or from (I don’t remember which) downtown Saigon back in 1966.

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This is probably a trick of perspective, but our driver and the oncoming taxi look like they’re playing the Vietnamese version of chicken. I kind of like the composition of this shot. The neck and the big ear in silhouette belong to my bud Malloy. He was one of my revetment mates and we went into town together a lot.

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Here’s another shot taken a bit farther down the road. The stuck windshield wiper looks like our driver’s targeting device.

I’m finally getting to the bottom of the pile. Not many Saigon pics left to share. Wish I had more.

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I dug into my archives for this week’s macro. I’ve had this shot waiting for the right moment.

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I like the sense of depth. This image is from a scanned color transparency. My wife used to put a hanging basket on a pole near the corner of our patio. I got real close and personal with this one.

Sorry I missed last week. I’ve been so busy lately.

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Of course I’m bragging — it’s my job as a proud grandfather and uncle. As the family pop-poparazzi, I had my camera loaded for Easter.

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Here they are, from left to right, our six lovely granddaughters and my niece Mary. This photo was taken on Easter out in front of our home. One of the twins had her head turned and we need a close up view of these two cuties so…

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Meet Maddy and Livvy. They are a year and a half old (already!). Livvy is the one with the Binky plugged in.

Ok, so the reflections are subtle. I needed an excuse to brag.

Update on my Mom. I brought her home from the hospital on Tuesday and she’s doing great. Feels better than she has in a long time.

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Today’s reflections were shot over a period of weeks and are taken from two rolls of film, the first two from my first roll of Ektar color print film and the last three from the roll of Provia color transparency film I scanned last week.

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I first met the pair of geese about a month or so ago. I couldn’t get a clear shot of both because the underbrush was in the way. I waited for a few minutes and both climbed up on a log to preen themselves but again I didn’t have a clear shot.

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I decided to walk on up the trail and catch a shot of the geese on the way back. I found this scene where the first signs of spring were emerging from the earth. The subtle reflection is (I think) a glimpse of the Chestnut Branch.

When I returned to where I saw the geese, they were on the opposite side of the lake. They were too far away and partially hidden by the growth along the shore.

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When I went back a few weeks later I had my tripod with me. I was setting up for this shot that morning on Emerald Lake. I wasn’t ready to take a photograph so I stopped what I was doing to watch and listen instead.  I wrote and published this vignette the next day…

It was so quiet, the air was afraid to move and the birds spoke in whispers… (read the full post — Morning on Emerald Lake here)

Not one of my best photos but I share it with you because this is where I stood that morning on Emerald lake.

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This shot was taken close by. You might recognize it. This was taken with a 50mm lens. I’ve published this scene twice before in B&W. Once with a 28mm lens and once with a 24mm lens. I prefer the B&W versions, especially the 24mm.

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This last image was taken from the highway bridge on my way home. Looks a lot different in color. The last time you saw this view it was cold and B&W.

PS — My mom is in the hospital so I may not be near a computer all that often over this weekend to visit and reply to comments.

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My finished color transparencies came back from the lab the other day. I finally had the time to scan after dinner on Sunday. These were all taken in the Ceres Nature Preserve.

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This is a handheld shot of young ferns just beginning to open. I took this photo with my 85mm lens as close as I could get without using my close up attachment lens. I didn’t have my tripod and I wanted to preserve some context.

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I turned about 90 degrees and moved back a little (I couldn’t move too far because I was standing on a little bridge). The ferns in the lower right corner are the same ones I shot close up. Both of these photos were taken almost four weeks ago.

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I came back about a week later. I had the car that morning so I brought my tripod. I set up as low as it would go on the little bridge for a wide angle shot using my 24mm lens. This gives you a much better idea of the context. I didn’t hang around long because the mosquitoes were out already.

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More context. This is a side trail just off the main trail. It was my last shot of the day taken on the way out of the park. I used my tripod and my normal (50mm) lens for this one. If you have a tripod, use it. I was able to stop down for nice depth of field for this photo and I had no worries about camera shake either.

I was using my Nikon F3HP on full manual. Once I had my composition and exposure, I locked the mirror up and tripped the shutter with a cable release.

I discovered that carrying my tripod wasn’t so bad after all. I purchased a nice carrying strap (less than $15) so I can sling the pod over my shoulder. I think lightweight tripods are an oxymoron. You need all the mass you can get. My pod weights about 7 1/2 pounds and it’s a decent one. Of course I had the car (clever eh?) so I didn’t have to schlep the load back and forth from home, a mile each way.

One of these days, I will try walking and carrying the tripod because I want to play with B&W and the tripod is one of the most valuable tools for nature photography.

Be sure to visit Lisa’s Chaos for more Macro Monday photos. Thank you Lisa. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share.

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PS — Here’s my first flower of Spring. I took this one in my back yard (using my tripod of course). This is from the same roll of trannys.

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