May 31 2010

Polaroid Spectra

“This stuff won’t keep for ever you know!” that’s the little voice that prompted me to pull a pack of Polaroid Spectra out of the fridge.   I wasn’t even sure if it had survived the refrigeration as it is never supposed to freeze, yet the back of the fridge seems to produce some sub arctic temperatures at times.  Well it appears to have survived OK and I received the pleasurable experience of watching my pictures develop, take that digital.  I would like to take some portraits too as I use up the last of this film.

As a parting note the Impossible Project is continuing to work on new instant films.

May 26 2010

Pentax K-7 Sensor shift (Composition adjust)

One of the features of the Pentax K-7 is that you are able to move the sensor by small amounts along the focal plane.  The effect of this is to adjust the position of the image formed by the lens on the sensor.  This differs slightly from moving the camera and therefore the lens and sensor.  Figure 1 shows a lens and sensor positioned so that light from point (A) goes through the center of the lens and reaches the sensor at it’s center (A1). In this scenario point (B) is obscured by point (A) and none of it’s reflected light reaches the lens.  Now if we were to move only the sensor using the composition adjustment feature of the K-7 as in Figure 2 The image formed by the lens is relocated on the sensor but because the lens has not moved the relationship of the elements in the scene remain unchanged and point (B) remains obscured.  Now if we were to reposition the entire camera as in figure 3 the new position of the lens allows some reflected light from point (B) to reach the sensor.  So even though (A1) reaches the senor at the same point in figure 2&3 the image formed differs.

A simple way of demonstrating this effect is to close one eye and hold a piece of paper edge on in front of the other eye.  What you will see is a very thin slice of paper, now swap which eye is open and closed while not moving the paper.  Now you will see a partial side view of the paper, just as if you repositioned a camera.  Of course the distance between your eyes should be greater than the amount the sensor is able to shift so the effect is exaggerated.

Here is the effect demonstrated in practice.

This is the neutral position for the scene

Sensor shifted left

Sensor Shifted Right

Notice how even though the position of the element within the frame changes the relationship does not.  The ball appears to just visually touch the right hand edge of the blocks in all three.

Camera shifted right

Notice how in this instance the right side of the block is now revealed.

So the composition adjust of the Pentax K-7 allows you to modify the framing of a scene while preserving the relationship of the elements of the scene.  It also allows rotation of the sensor to further aid in composition.  This feature is found under “Rec. Menu 2″

May 26 2010

Crow sketch

I created this sketch with the idea of making a print, but as with many things in the end it will go no further.  This isn’t a bad thing it’s just part of the process.  What would be wrong would be to continue, knowing that I wouldn’t be pleased with the result.

May 20 2010

Art by a thousand cuts

The Grand theatre is now closed and gone, replaced by a gym.  Right about where the “6″ and “THEATERS” is is now a window so that you can look out over the parking lot as you sweat.  This is not an image about nostalgia or the loss of culturally significant landmarks, it was a theatre it’s now a gym.

The full image is 4″x6″ so you can see that each individual cut is very small and it takes thousands of them to reveal the white.  After all that is the act of relief printing, you leave behind what will print as black,  and remove what will be white.  This is a working proof , but is mostly done, and just needs more care during printing.

May 18 2010

Stitching with film

The technique of joining two images together to create a larger view is mainly associated with digital photography but it can also be used with film that has been scanned into the computer.  If the intention is to provide multiple viewpoints simultaneously as in a David Hockney photo collage then using stitching software isn’t necessary.  If you want to create a seamless view however then you need some way to adjust perspective and join the images.  Here I wasn’t able to get in all of the view so I just took two pictures with the intention of stitching them later.

Now I have an image that I was unable to capture within a single frame.  I’ve used this technique in more extreme situations such as when I wanted to take a reference photo of a scene behind a construction fence.  I blindly took images while holding the camera over the fence and then later pulled them all together into a single scene which will be the basis of a painting.

May 15 2010

Playing with time

It’s difficult to convey a sense of time photographically, the very nature of a photograph is the capturing of an instant.  You can use techniques such as using a slow shutter speed to allow moving objects to blur evoking a sense of motion and time or multiple exposures.  But the best way is through a series.  This example is two images that were taken more than two years apart.  I’ve also purposely placed the most recent image on the left to distort  time as most viewers will read this image left to right.  Great care was taken to frame the scene the same, this was aided by using live view on my Pentax K-7 DSLR.  It allows you to see in real time the framing  on the rear LCD of the camera.  I also used a photograph of the original scene for comparison.

May 13 2010

Canon WP-1 Sure Shot

In the spirit of my relentless pursuit of testing irrelevant cameras.  Here is the Canon WP-1 a water proof camera with it’s 32mm f3.5 lens.  The lens has a lot of barrel distortion and doesn’t provide much contrast.  What contrast you do see is the enhancement I have provided during scanning.  While it has a dedicated macro mode the flash is forced on limiting it’s usefulness.  So while it has a useful and somewhat unique focal length and a large viewfinder it is not a very good performer, and besides it’s gaudy.

May 10 2010

Pentax K-7 & Lightroom 3 Beta noise reduction

I wanted to evaluate the noise reduction abilities of the upcoming Lightroom 3 release and to create profiles for my Pentax K-7.  So I set up a small scene to photograph and used an AF540FGZ flash in wireless mode to light it.  I increased the ISO from 200 to 6400 in one stop increments while adjusting the flash output.  There was some variation in illumination however this is more of a preliminary test and I adjusted levels in Lightroom to somewhat compensate.   You can click on an individual thumbnail to see the full resolution jpeg generated through Lightroom, however the files are limited to 2Mb.

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

I make no claims about any of the products used but am merely sharing my own testing.

May 6 2010

Rectangles, Olympus XA2


Where do you see rectangles,  everywhere?  If you can imagine the world in front of you as a flat two dimensional plane it can be an interesting exercise to look for ways to divide it.  It can be helpful to look through the viewfinder to generate that flat view and frame a scene but with practice you can spot images without the camera.  So why would you want to do this?  Like any exercise in seeing it helps to broaden your visual acuity.

May 2 2010

Don’t ask me, I’m just the photographer.