Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Photo-walk

14360006-001 by wizowel
14360006-001, a photo by wizowel on Flickr.

Last Sunday I mounted the Carl Zeiss 50/1.7 lens on one of my all manual K-mount SLR bodies and loaded it with Fuji Superia 400 film and broke one of the cardinal rules of photography – don’t shoot into the light, in this case the evening sun. I don’t recall the exact settings but believe the shot above taken at about f2.8-3.5 with a shutter speed of 1/30 (I use a Y/C to K adapter for the lens that robs me of 1 stop). The film was processed and scanned by The Darkroom.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Holga Strikes Again

I was pretty well taken care of for Father’s Day. Among the gifts I received was a Holga pinhole camera, a lens adapter to allow me to use a Carl Zeiss 50/1.8 lens on any of my Pentax K-mount cameras, a Holga lens and a Holga pinhole lens, both of them for Pentax K-mount. 

I’ve wanted another pinhole camera for a while. The one I made from a kit my son gave me two years ago for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is great but it’s made from cardboard and won’t last forever. Besides the Holga pinhole camera shoots 120 roll film instead of 35mm film so the quality of the images should be dramatically better.

The first thing I did after opening my gifts was mount the Zeiss lens on one of my manual cameras and load it and the Holga pinhole camera with film and head out for a photo adventure. My goal of course was to test the pinhole camera and see if the settings I selected will yield the correct exposures and also check to see whether the lens adapter worked properly. With all that done, I sent the film off to be processed and moved onto the next adventure.

This past weekend I decided to try out the Holga lens on my Pentax K-01 and document the latest alien invasion of my back yard. As you can see from the image above it works quite well! Here’s another…

As far as I can tell these digital images looks just like they came from a real Holga camera with the same soft dreamy look and vignette effect in the corners and periphery. Of course I can also put this lens on any of my Pentax K-mount 35mm film cameras too. That will no doubt be the object of a future photo adventure.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Double Exposure – Take 2

Of course one of the great things about digital is that it is frequently easier and cheaper to experiment than it is with film. Unlike general photography where it is usually better to learn with film and then transition to digital - if you must, this is one instance where I believe it may in fact be easier to learn with digital and then transition back to film.

I wanted to make double exposures for a long time but never could come up with an idea that appealed to me. Some would say I just am not creative enough and they might be right. Much of my photographic time and energy goes into trying to accurately record interesting and unique “compositions” without any desire or attempt to “doctor” them. I generally find enough “real life” compositions that I don’t often look for anything else.

That said, I have been intrigued by the whole idea of double exposures for years. The one above is a simple yet interesting (to me anyway) shot of my son Noah, arm wrestling with himself. Yeah, I know some of you are saying, “yep, not very creative,” but I like it.

The only thing that would be more enigmatic would be if I did a self-portrait of me arm wrestling with myself but that would also be narcissistic and I would have to resolve the inner conflict of who would win!

My older son Ian then got into the act with a shot of him arguing with himself. This one was complete with wardrobe changes and all! Of course we all laughed because it kind of looks like he’s finger wrestling with himself.

The Pentax K-01 is a very “intelligent” camera ideally set up for such shots having a “double exposure mode” as it were. I explained this in some detail in my last blog post. You simply use the menu to tell it you want to do a double exposure and it takes care of the rest, even adjusting the exposures appropriately. I did learn that if I used the EV adjustment to over-ride the camera and slightly underexpose the frames it yielded a better result than the camera did on its own.

Now you know I am a film guy - right?  But seriously, there are times when these new digital cameras are awesome. Of course, my Pentax ZX-7 has essentially the same capability as the digital K-01. Now that I kind of understand the whole double exposure thing, my next challenge will be to duplicate my results with film. That may end up being pretty easy with the ZX-7. Considering some of the features available for film users through the late great APS systems who knows what tricks film cameras might be doing today if the industry hadn’t abandoned film in favor of digital.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Double Exposures for Dummies

…or in this case, how to make a $900 digital camera take photos like a cheap plastic film camera!

I was scanning stuff on Flickr a while back and saw something I wanted to try myself. The idea is to take a double exposure with one shot out of focus and one shot in focus to achieve that dreamy look we have come to associate with “Toy cameras” like the Holga or Diana.

As you can see from the photo above – it works!

This photograph was taken using the Pentax K-01’s on-board multi-exposure feature. It’s really easy. You just select the multi-exposure menu option, select the number of exposures you want (2 in this case although you can select up to 9), check off the little box to let the camera know you want it to calculate the exposure values for you and then hit the start shooting button. Now you’re ready to shoot.

After preselecting aperture priority and f8 to insure the depth of field I wanted I took the first shot with the auto-focus on. Then I switched to manual focus and turned the focus ring until it was as out of focus as possible.  The camera selected 1/125 shutter speed and an ISO of 800.

Then I took the resulting photo into Picasa, enhanced the color saturation & contrast a bit and added a little vignette to produce the picture you see above.

The photo below is the “before,” a straight shot of the composition without the double exposure or vignette.

All in all a very interesting experience and a technique I will keep in mind for future photos, especially since it’s so easy to do with the K-01. My favorite film camera these days is the Pentax ZX-7 which has a similar feature I have yet to explore. Perhaps it will be the subject of a future blog post!