Tuesday, December 19, 2006
It was actually on my way back that I ran into some interesting winter scenes in Portland. On a walk in Cook Park, I shot pictures of many ferns and notice the lack of undergrowth which is usually present. This might be due to a recent river flood, I am not sure. Don't forget to click on the image for a larger picture and don't forget how to GET BACK with your back arrow located at the top left hand corner of your screen (the one you use to go back in any Internet situation)
My uncle Ron, a fellow photographer and mentor feeds a Squirrel which grabs the food and makes a hasty retreat. As in most of my pictures, the motion blur here is entirely real and not computer created.
Ferns naturally grow where they can, all the way up this tree-trunk. I have several other pictures and "tree-scapes". Some of which I want to get posted in a local art gallery. Some of my pictures will be up for sale if all goes well in The Dalles here in the next few months in a local gallery. I am not sure as yet when or how this will work. Some friends of mine and family are plan to help me with this.
A new tree breaks first light in the forest floor.
Being up in the mountains on the way back there was allot to think about shooting. My mind was mostly on a recent re-discovery of my photographic philosophy (as is shown in the above 35mm post). I was taking way too many pictures and I accidentally stepped back to 35mm and re-understand certain things. The limits of 35mm define what might sometimes be far better art. I admit I have a hard time dealing with thousands of anything, or even 100s. Taking that many pictures just drags out a backlog impossible to work with. I learned that each picture has a life of it's own. Each picture has a trait that is not perfect and that might define it as art. The drive for perfection in digital photography at least for me has caused me to sometimes waste my time in frustration and computer space. In my opinion, art is not a subject in which perfection rarely if ever, exists. I take one or two shots and hope they turn out fine rather then 20 when I am using my digital SLR now. There is another reason why shooting many pictures is a problem--shutters can ware-out in digital SLRs allot faster because of overuse. The ware and tear on them can be massive times more then what it would be in a standard film SLR. Think about how many more pictures you take if you started with film and now shoot digital. I find sometimes it is far more rewarding to get one good but "imperfect" shot then to get 1000 pictures with most of the good shots so buried or so over-shot and stuck in my computer files I forget about them or give up frustrated and put off. The excitement I used to have from one roll of film I had forgotten until recently. I now shoot digital as much like that as often as I think of it.
I have never got anything like this before. I may post some of the San Francisco shots later which are from some of the most photographed places in the world. Here is one that’s not! Incredible as it may seem, this image has hardly been digitally altered at all. This is how I saw it. I only brought up the levels a bit to show more of the foreground trees. I happened to snap it at just the right time having just the right manual settings. it was a very difficult shot due to lighting and the fact that I was on a train. The sunset was one of the most incredible I have ever seen.
We passed MT. Shasta (I'm 99% sure) on our way into Oregon. I caught this and several other shots with my digital SLR. I was not going to use it on this trip back but found it impossible to not due so when I found conditions were so good. Wind sweeps over making for clouds on the top of the mountain in an otherwise cloudless sky, an indication of how big this mountain really is.
My grandma, in the cold of winter, growing orchids as if it was more then very easy. I have many other shots and this was just a snapshot--at some point I will compile some more orchid shots--a number of them can be found under ALL PICTURES that I have taken in months passed. I shot these on my way back in November. My grandma deserves an honorary degree for this. She could grow an orchid on the moon.
In her small greenhouse she keep dozens of plants from orchids to cactus as seen here--alive and very well. I have many pictures. Write me an e-mail or comment if you want to see more.
OLD CAMERA TIPS--READ THIS IF YOU USE GEAR 25 OR MORE YEARS OLD
DOES YOUR OLD CAMERA HAVE A SCREW LOOSE?
Is a dial now nearly impossible to turn or so loose you can't use it anymore?
A SERIOUS note here: I recently had a disaster when the 1:4,5/135 macro lens for my bellows scope destroyed itself. It failed in the same way as my 120 medium format TLR camera, everything just went to hell all the sudden. I should note that this failure was NOT due to old-age. It is entirely true that an old camera that has taken millions of pictures and been through a long photo-life can and will experience all kinds of stresses and could break or cause malfunctions that are not reversible or practically fixable in today's market. The same is true for lenses and it's all due to many kinds of metal fatigue and just ware and tear. However, don't be so quick to call it "old junk".
It turns out that all of the screws connecting the lens to the aperture on my 135 bellows lens had worked themselves nearly completely loose. A while back I decided with nothing to loose to take apart my broken 120 TLR to try to fix it. I went against fears and used gun-oil on some of the components, and managed to rebuild it's entire lens connection system and even get the shutter working better. The pictures proved how well this worked. Blur to very nice and it stayed that way. This first alerted me to this problem of loose screws and the damage they can cause when you are trying to get a broken complex camera to work. Those tiny screws so small that most small sets of screwdrivers have hard time with. They are vital to many old lenses and cameras. When it gets cold metal and oil changes pressures in the screws and mechanisms. When you have used and rattled around an older lens that has not been used for a long time--the tiny screws that often connect the lens controls can become very loose which can cause the control to move out of aliment and damage the aperture or other parts of the lens or simply make it unable to work at all. I want to note here for anyone interested in low budget gear and needing it---CHECK THE TINY SCREWS.
If they are very loose and seem ready to fall out, it is certainly a serious problem and you should slightly and carefully tighten them. This however is very complex topic and operation as the lens may allready be out of alignment. Just don't let your screws get loose! Old camera gear is not necessarily junk or garbage. Sometimes it needs what amounts to a tune-up. After I dismantled most of the lens that let me shoot at 600mm (that 135) which had failed--I found this problem again to my horror. So it was not "old age" that devastated this lens.
So if you use older lenses--Pay attention to screws and slight changes in lenses. If you feel a pull or movement that gets tight or wrong--check everything out as much as you can. Trying to oil lenses on your own is a very dangerous thing to do. I have succeeded twice in both these problems with my TLR 120 that I nearly entirely re-built and re-celebrated it's lens screws myself. DO NOT PUT OIL INTO THE SHUTTER MECHANISMS!
Fact is, metal fatigue is not something I have observed in very old and overused SLRs. In even using very old lenses and cameras my choices to work on it rather then give up has played off. Despite being told I was wasting my time, I pressed to solve the mystery with my "135 lens" and found to much of my despair that this lens was damaging itself and that it was a preventable situation! The screws had became so loose and gone past there limits forcing the lens to not spin but not stop until it crunched the aperture together when I pushed it too hard thinking it was just cold weather making the oil hard. Had I known that these loose screws needed to be tightened as was in my success 120 TLR--it could have been prevented. Generally do not oil old lenses that is often at least so as I have seen, not the problem. If there is nothing to loose give drops very carefully so that it does not reach the lens OR the shutter mechanisms! Most of it--is not about oil at all. It's the lens and the screws working loose.
A SCREW LOOSE!
Old dials on cameras and radios fall off and spin for this same reasons. Especially it seems--in the cold. Over time keeping the screws tight with a good set of tiny screw-drivers (like those used for glasses) is an easy thing to do that will preserve many of your old lenses. You must be very careful just to lightly tighten them and NOT strip them. Many of them are easy to strip so be careful. My 1940s Cintar also had to be adjusted in the same way. I had to tighten it's screws and oil some of the largely external gearing which proved very successful. I used a generic gun-oil to do this. I DO NOT recommend WD/40 as it is very light and I've heard can actually cause rust. I then tightened the dial screws and controls--and when they were re-alighted the camera put out a perfect roll of film with no distortions. Just make sure that if you use oil--you be very careful where you drop it. Getting oil inside a camera lens that cannot be opened with normal tools is the end of the camera or lens. Most of all--check those tiny screws.
I'm talking here about 60 to about 25 or so year old gear and lenses here. Metal fatigue does happen but more often then not I run across not only camera gear but old radios and other collectable gear which has this same problem. There are no lock nuts that can be put in these screws so they naturally work loose--keep them tight and your camera may take pictures for a very long time more then you might expect.
Being on a low-budget I just had to track down the exact real cause of why my very important macro lens failed. I was not satisfied simply to say "it's just old junk--" and throw it in a junk pile. I am an optimistic person, and believed there was something else wrong here. Recalling what happened with my TLR 120--I took a look at this devastated lens and found that ALL of the 4 screws that held it together on one side and acted as a grip had become so loose that just touching them with the driver would move them! I found the cause of why it failed. It was not rust or over-use and "old age". Its screws were completely worked loose. Since I started using it they had allready been getting loose and by using it I accelerated the process. Cold weather can also seize up oils used in lenses needing those screws to be tight even more. The resulting loss may not be able to be repaired but it could have definitely been prevented. It was a sad loss, but a lesson learned. I do not give up or give into blind pessimism. In so doing I have learned a great deal. I am still very proud of myself for re-building and re-working my TLR. Sadly--this lens probably cannot be repaired even if I get the proper lens tool to get deeper inside it where I would need to "reset" everything. So in old gear if you use it--CHECK THOSE MINI-SCREWS!
AND DO NOT STORE OLD CAMERAS IN LEATHER CASES!
Like guns, cameras stored in leather cases are exposed to TANNIC ACID which EATS AWAY at the shutter and other intricate mechanical systems. If you keep an old camera (like an old Cintar) in it's leather case for years the damage can be severe. Keep cameras in leather cases only when on a trip while you are using them. The leather also sucks away even oil in the camera, so this is an important problem that also applies to lenses.
VERY IMPORTANT PLEASE READ
ALL PICTURES -- PLEASE DO NOT FORGET!
In order to see the some 500+ (I cannot count them very easy) pictures and articles in this website you have to click on the MONTHS under ALL PICTURES on the RIGHT HAND side of my website. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY to see the entire site. There are 100s of pictures of everything from more plants and flowers to incredible insects and landscapes. Please, do not forget that my website DOES NOT END AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE or the end of these pages--many people have missed 90% of my website thinking that this first scroll down page is all there is. If I put all my pictures on this page it would take a whole day to load my site on your computer! Please use ALL PICTURES to check out my stuff if you are interested in seeing more!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
"A perfect catnap"
I decided to buy a used old Range finder camera called the Konica AUTO-S and was very surprised. Heads up light meter makes things easy and 1.9 manual makes this camera great for low-light even with 200iso film. Not only did it take good pictures, it taught me a lesson. My dad's cat.
I have only had one roll processed, but in it these pictures were true to focus entirely. The camera is straight on and great at adjusting the aperture electronically. I believe I read somewhere that it was one of the first cameras to have this feature.
Sadly, as so often in this town--another vet I snapped with my Konica on the way to the bus station. There is a place I think they can get food here, but I understand it is a sad situation and often they get stuck in this town. His sign says "Homeless vet--Anything Helps--God Bless". I feel bad I had to drive by like this and could not give him anything because he clearly saw the camera.
Sunrise over The Dalles before I left. I shoot sun shots in 35mm more often to protect my sensor but recently read that pictures like this are not dangerous to modern digital cameras and video cameras unless you do long exposures or zoom into the sun. The first lesson this taught me--all these pictures being on the same 24exp roll--is that 35mm gives restrictions that make the joy of taking pictures almost better. That joy can exist with digital--but at least I realize I have to shoot like I am using a film camera. I limit my shots by shooting huge files and using small memory cards. It's not about 1000s of pictures. If you go on a trip and come back with the many shots---you get overwhelmed and might begin to loose interest or dread working on it. Even worse, it is easy to loose good shots. I am changing how I view pictures and thank recent constructive criticism about too many pictures of the same things. It's true. I have a tendency to take many pictures of something good when I finally got it--I only need one or two at the most. Not 20. Shooting at several frames per-second is only needed if your trying to catch that perfect shot from a moving vehicle or a moving subject like wildlife and birds.
Friday, November 10, 2006
My neighbor’s cat. I have never seen a cat so affectionate. He craves attention like a nice dog. Following me around as I take pictures in my yard. I finally took a liking to him despite his attacks on the backyard wildlife I like to photograph so much. I have never known a cat that will sit in your lap like this one does. Not afraid of the camera either--these are 35mm pictures taken with Vivid color Kodak Professional film (I found it at Freda Mayors available at least for now) The vivid colors were well worth the costs and to me better then "HD-High Definition" Kodak film. These pictures are not AT ALL digitally altered. Only my name stamp and downsizing for the Internet was done. They look just like this on the prints.
He is such a crazy cat, if you scratch his back he rolls around and looses his balance sometimes falling over on things! Out here, animals and people itch sometimes in the dry air. So scratching his back and head made him an He's as social as a lap-dog. Once again this a 35mm film shot I took a couple of months ago with Kodak Professional color film. The picture was taken with an Olympus is-50 SLR. 35mm film and film in general will never "die" as there are so many markets for it and also many people who protectively use it. It will become a bit like vinyl but more available. I estimate it will at least be easy to get for the next 50 years assuming there is no extreme global disaster. Film too expensive? Try having your film processed onto a CD only, often it is cheaper then getting 4x6 prints and you can pick out the one's you want printed later or on the spot if you enjoy your 35mm and other film cameras enough to want to keep using them in the digital age. Early on, picture disks and CDs were poor quality JPEG or BMP.
Now days, most all stores now run 300dpi Tiff files. That's high enough to make a far larger picture. From 1818x1228 to 2856x2142 brings you close to a 6mp camera sized file. I think they should measure in dpi and dimensions rather then mega-pixels--that measurement tells you what really what the camera is capable of doing. More then a sometimes changed generalized "mega-pixels". You lower the dpi but up the size to get better use of that much resolution. Just enlarge it and test the picture. You should be getting a TIFF CD and each file should be about 5 mega-pixcels. Files under 2mb are too small and your probably not going to an up to date store. Save the negatives, they can always be scanned at the lab for a new CD. Hang on to those negatives--you never know when you might want or need them.
This is nearly my favorite type of pictures--night shots. Long exposures. I really like doing long exposures because you never really know what you will get until it's been taken. A long exposure is anything you can't possibly hold the camera for. Usually these are measured in seconds rather then the normal shutter scale starting at possibly 1/8th or 10. "B" stands for "bulb" and traditionally that function even in new digital SLR is called "bulb" or "b". As long as you can hold down the shutter--the camera will keep the shutter open. But that's not needed. Night can be turned into daylight in less then 30sec.
I could have brought this up in Photoshop but I chose to leave it just how it is. This shot had very little light--in fact through my viewfinder I had a hard time focusing. I think this was a 30sec exposure but I'm not sure. The longest ones I did this night were about 50sec. Anything longer became an overexposure. The moon-lit night really is the best time--but shots I have taken in the early morning have been really nice as well. Morning fog at 1/8 to 30sec at f5.6iso 200 can turn out really cool. And if you can shoot well at 400+ without serious noise problems--try it for less time. Generally however the slower the iso the better composed the picture is--no matter how expensive your camera is. Digital cameras were built to emulate film but not some of the newer kinds of film which do very well above 400iso. I have not yet met a general digital compact or SLR that is not capable of doing some kind of a long exposure. Often limited to 15, 30 or 60sec they do still have this feature, especially if you have all manual controls. All these shots were done with a semi-pro digital SLR. But you don't need a thousand dollar camera to do shots like this. My Cannon A520 and my Kodak DX can do them as well. "B" or bulb mode is not very practical for any use other then flash-photography. When you open the shutter in darkness and fire off a manual operated flash--the poor man's way of getting good lighting on a macro shot!
This is a digital shot, I perfected it more and more with lots of tests. There is no camera mode that does this (as usual). I have no idea how people get through using the "auto" or scene modes. To me--those modes are like adding another photographer who does everything by the book (if there was such a book). Doing things "by the book"--is often not a very good way to take pictures. So turn off your auto-pilot controls by switching to “M” mode, and open your shutter for 30sec. On a moonlit night--night can turn to day and the pictures can be incredible.
Stars move faster then you might think. Even in less then 1min exposures they can be seen to be moving and turn into lines--I got this one just on the edge of that effect. Many of these stars were not visible to me. It is confirmed that they are not noise. Tripod or camera shake can be a big problem with long exposures. My digital SLR has a feature called "anti-shock". This delays the shutter from opening in such a way that the mirror flips up but the shutter is not opened (an event to small to shake the camera) until a certain amount of time you can set it for. 1, 2, 10sec. If you don't have this feature you might try using the auto-timer like you would use if you want to take a picture of yourself when you are alone and don't have a remote control.
Lights come from all over the place. I really like night pictures. Some compact cameras have a manual mode, and many models can take long exposures for over 15 sec. Set the timer to prevent shake-blurs and be sure to use a tripod. None of these long exposures were at all possible without a tripod. That dot out in the distance is not lens flare--it's actually an airport signal light in Dallesport. And that large Church steeple--I did not know it was lit up so much until I did these kinds of shots.
The moon casts it's bright light over The Dalles. This was an awesome night just before the full moon. Nights like this can be very fun. Just keep playing with your camera and turning night into day can be very possible. As see above, the white ballence is usually off and so everything has an orange or redish tint. Be ready to set your own white ballence.
Clouds moved so fast that even in a quick exposure like 10sec at 200iso they can be seen to move in the moonlight. Exponent with longer exposures and you can get all kinds of stuff that turns night into day with very interesting results. I have an excellent picture of my house I am very proud of but I will not post it on my website.
A shot taken as the sun went down from my deck. This building is about three miles away and can hardly be seen without my 600mm scope which is still working very well and proving itself more and more every time I use it.
Do not photograph ANY kind of plasma display or very high-voltage source with digital cameras in the area. This shot was taken from about 10ft away. The electrical field given out by any kind of plasma display or Tesla coil or static electricity generator, can quickly do serious damage to your digital cameras (including 35mm cameras with digital control systems). The same goes for high-static areas like taking cloths out of a dryer.. High voltage radiation can destroy cameras and gear so keep your distance from it! The same thing applies to some of these new high-powered walkie-talkies. These high-powered radios now sold everywhere put out enough power to scramble digital logic circuits at close range and damage parts. Another thing about this stuff--NEVER put a memory card in a plastic bag. Plastic bags, scotch tape and other stuff produces static electricity which could damage or destroy memory cards! I had to learn that one the hard way.
This incredible rainbow appeared as fast as it was gone. I just happened to be outside waiting for birds. All the sudden there it was--the largest rainbow I've ever seen in The Dalles. Thinking for what I have trained myself to think--I knew I had to change lenses to my widest for my digital SLR. I ran inside and did that--then ran past the power lines and my yard to get this shot in my socks! I got several shots this way--then realized I needed yet a wider lens and went to my Cannon with it's fish-eye lens I setup for it--the only way to see the entire rainbow in one picture. By the time I got back (in less then 2min) the rainbow was mostly gone. It only lasted for about 2-4min --I am thinking more like 2.
The biggest Dalles rainbow I have yet to see. I went outside to spot a few birds when I saw this rainbow instantly appear in front of me---I ran into the house to get my general purpose lens and just ran down into the ally to get pictures without power lines. Wet socks or not--I want to get my shot!
I took off so fast because I knew I only had a couple of minutes at best. I was able to get these three shots off which I might enhance a bit later. I had to run like a crazy guy to get these pictures. In my now muddy wet socks I had to run inside to change lenses because a 600mm lens is useless for a rainbow shot! Then I remembered my wide angle lens but by the time I came back outside the next time it was too late and I did not get one wide angle shot in. Rainbows happen here every year--but this one completed would have been a really cool shot only possible with a very wide angle lens. I built a nice fisheye for my Cannon now--but I was not ready to use it.
I shot this rose from about 20ft away or so. I keep thinking to bring a rangefinder camera with me so I can truely see distances. I have two good ones that work out to 100ft. The main idea, with a 600mm macro lens you no longer have to tresspass or even be noticed taking a picture of the naighbors flowers or other things. It's an incredible system, but good lighting makes it possible to get very detailed shots from a distance as long as you take all the factors into mind and practice useing the slider focusing system and all-manual feel.
OUT OF PLACE this wolf spider with it's fast reflexes and high-mounted eyes was aware of me but cold enough that I was able to photograph it with my main macro lens (the Phoenix lens adapted to be the same lens I use for that above rose and the long distance shots of all kinds.) Wolf spiders are TINY here and there is no need to fear them. They run in great fear of you when they are not cold. We are allready getting our first frost out here. That is why I got this shot.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
HERE IT IS FOR 4/3rds FORMAT--VIEWS AT 600mm PHOENIX EXTENDED! THE 600mm (approx. 35mm equiv.) has broken through the "box"! I finally got a break today so that I had a chance to get my first clear bird shots. This was the best out of only three shots I took before coming inside. It's sunny but cold out here and the birds hiding and flying in the very cold wind. My adapter works at long distance as well! I screwed on a construction of lenses to the Pentax lens end of the Phoenix adapter (4/3rds digital mount) which just happened to once again, in another discovery fit together perfectly. It made the center of a good day and changed everything. This is not just a wad of tape stuck-into-camera kind of homemade system. I have allot to be proud of. This is a solid system that does not move, or create distortions. It can be carried just as easy as any other lens and even around the neck (a bit long and awkward). It has not changed from the incredible macros I can use--everything works on the old Pentax screw mount system--for which I have many lenses. The thing is about a foot long coming from the camera with a boom I can add underneath it for added wobble-stability when I don't have it on a tripod. My nerves are not that good!--so at 600mm this thing shakes like crazy! A high shutter speed makes some shots without a tri-pod possible. It works out well enough to just use a monopod for basic stuff.
"The lookout" -croped
And here is the same picture-- cropped from the same Picture above. Cropping makes the shot "blown up" and proves that the focus is possible and the optics are well. I tell everyone to do this with there digital cameras--review each shot--and make changes if you got it wrong. Cropping is similar in that the image is blown up and thus crops are limited to details that are possible. This is a VERY small bird. This kind of a shot proves that my lens has both accuracy and the quality to do bird and other types of pictures!
I am very exited--as buying a lens that does anything like this is far out of even my long-term budget--thousands of dollars. I shot this bird about 20-30ft or so up in a tree and in the afternoon sun. Yes this lens works well and I can tell focus well. It has passed the most difficult tests today.
"Hats on mountains"
I took allot of pictures on the way down and back from my dad's place in California. I just stumbled upon this series of old pictures---I have thousands that I would declare "worth putting on my website". I have so much work to do to find and use these pictures. I will have plenty to do this summer in finding all these shots from years back and 100s of CD-Rs. I bought a 300GB USB 2.0 hard drive--to help with the mess. I have Google desktop permanently stopped at a certain nice level I like it at without too many complex additions or a link to the internet. I have it setup to run a constant small-picture slideshow which eventually will show all the pictures in my SM batteries of folders. Thus old and good pictures every now and then pop up and I need only click on them to find them and post them. In addition I have an area setup for notes and other things. If you have a fast computer the slideshow will not slow you down--I don't know however how much different the new version is. I did not want some of the new features as I say and I locked it to keep it how I like it. 300GB affordable to me! Technology is getting inexpensive but not necessarily "cheap" as China produces high-quality products more and more. 15 years ago when I got my first computer if you told me I would ever own even a computer with 10GB I would have to think I would end up being really rich or lucky. If you told me I'd have 300GB in one drive--I'd had told you "that's impossible--your crazy--they will never be able to do things like that". And a 3Ghz laptop--that was so far out it would have sounded like stolen alien technology or a joke to me back then.
This shot was done at about 40-50mm (35mm equiv.) Notice that little white house in the distance way out there. It's on the Washington side. Then take a look to the left and if you click on the picture you just might pick out the house I use for my macro tests. A bit further away from that large white house--it gives me a better understanding of how my lighting is because it's painted darker. This is a "regular lens" shot done with the zoom lens that came with my digital SLR. Now, take a look way off in this picture to the other side of the valley, make note of that tiny-looking far off white house on the RIGHT side of the picture. You will see what I am talking about when I show you more pictures. My physical condition is a big deal--and this lens really helps. I don't have to put myself in some of the very painful positions to get the shot--with this lens I can shoot from a distance standing or sitting.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
I recently got enough optics to put together a workable screw mount SOLID field lens that has a factor of about 600mm 35mm equiv. (tests done with 300mm fixed 35mm film lens and a book
on lenses and cameras). Most people think that to get a good wildlife lens, let alone even a fixed lens (no zoom) --you have got to spend 1000s and 1000s of dollars. I did it for the price my Phoenix adapter and some optics I was given. Just a powerful bellows and a couple other things which are matched to make a very accurate image on my 4/3rds camera. NO distortions other then heat-waves or smog in the distance. Reaching 600mm so far has been the most exiting Eureka moment of my photographic life. The Phoenix adapter--showing itself in entirely new ways--now capable of doing serious wildlife shots I thought would take me years to ever get a lens for. No it won't be as perfect and most of all quick to use as a big expensive lens--but it does and can get the job done.
Now--here is shot at a nice 300mm lens (35mm equiv. again) as you can see it's allot closer--now you only see Dallesport--on the Washington side of the river. And that white large house is clearly visible as the largest thing in the picture. Notice the houses. The other one more wood-colored on the left. This was as good as I could get at 300mm 35mm equiv. with my digital lens and my 35mm 300mm film lens.
HAD I NOT HAD A BROKE THAT LENS--I would never have thought of this idea or taken a lens apart to try to. At the time, it crushed me---but as you will see--I had a really good reason to use it. It made me stuck to this camera only and this type of camera but it still Now take a look at the lens this shot was taken with the lens that broke and opened me up to be able to use my 4/3ds specific lens because I built the adapter only after this expensive lens was broken and I could use the mount. Ironically, I am glad that lens broke because it led to so many breakthroughs after I created and built the Phoenix adapter. --had the 300mm digital zoom been not broken I would never have had one of these very expensive lenses (or bought one for that purpose. I did not even know that optically it was worth it. I knew that chances could happen--but had no idea how good it would get and would have gone on to try to raise thousands to get to where I am at now. Incredible---this accident gave me a lens to experiment with and figure out how to shoot long distance macro shots leading me to use the clip on mount to inventing the "Phoenix" adapter and now with an attitude to it able to shoot functionally at 600mm for birds, wildlife and distant naturescapes.
-I screamed "EUREKA!" like a madman here when I figured this out! I figured I was dreaming or doing something that would never work. But it did work--and I was completely amazed to the point of shock that I could hit 600mm over three times more zoom power then my 300mm lens as close as it could get--now--without cropping--birds and many other things are possible as you will can see.
As you can see this is a locomotive almost exactly 2 miles away by (plotted by my GPS). I can read the logos and heat waves are the biggest problems seeing this far. This shot goes over the Columbia river yet I can see if the curtains are drawn and more! The pictures above show the house both as it is with a "normal" lens and with a 300mm lens--previously the highest range lenses I have. The one that broke--made this possible. But it's a fixed wildlife lens like my 35mm 300mm. That means that even though it can shoot macro shots of tiny insects a foot and a half away--it cannot zoom out to give a wider angle view. To use it at parties I would have to be at least 30ft away from people to get shoulder and head shots!
Lighting is critical when shooting long-wildlife shots--even with a mono-pod or tri-pod you still need to be ready. I usually shoot with a mono-pod and my camera for birds is set for iso400 on my digital SLR. Sometimes I go to a higher or lower SLR. A "handicap" of this lens because it is so large of about f3 exists. So it's true aperture value should start at f8.0. But technically it becomes functional at f5.6 on it's manual dial to for macro shots a big flashes a bit above f32. It has a nice linear dial with stops--but you can work intween. This can get really important as you work with the lens to get a nice focus on stuff at a distance or near. I have spent allot of time testing by taking pictures of local things with naighbors yards. (Ah, nothing stupid :-) I can take your picture from so far away that you can't tell I am holding a camera.
I never thought I would ever have that kind of photographic power. Unfortunately I must keep some of the local people shots off of this website for obvious reasons. I will get more birds as I get more used to the manual nature of the lens which reminds me nicely of 35mm days when I first learned cameras. It's not as fast--it's not as big, and the optics are not as fine. But I let the pictures do the talking here, like that first brid I finally got and it's crop showing detail I was afraid may not be possible. And this was only my first shot with decent lighting on any birds!
ALL KINDS of shots are awesomely possible now. This high-res shot of an old truck in someone’s hard was only possible with a big lens. 600mm here of course as all these pictures are. The lens (like old wildlife lenses) does not have a zoom factor. So you have to setup the shot. If you want a good family shot they need to be about 100 feet away! In fact I could not back up far enough to get this into one shot. I think my 55mm zoom would have done well but I did not want to change lenses.
Similar stuff that can take these kind of pictures sell for thousands. I just really worry about getting a fresh camera so I have a solid system for a while. And my 300mm zoom replacement with it. I may not be able to get the funding for it anytime soon and I have become restricted in ways that keep me stuck on 4/3rds so I have to buy that type of camera. I'd like to buy another camera in a store--but I may have to wait a long time and end up trying to find it on-line. My budget problems have been sometimes solvable by miracles like this lens---but when it comes down to the basics if I can't get the money and loan I can't get it. And now--since everything runs through the Phoenix adapter--getting any camera that does not use 4/3rds would be as dumb as buying a couple expensive compact cameras or nearly smoking the money as a cigar. My whole photographic abilities have changed due to this adapter and ability. I can only hope that it will stay in stores long enough for me to get it--but as things change so quickly in gear--they may not. Having over-used my camera severely when I got it and getting some technical problems--I am always frightened without a backup that I will hit a wall of no pictures. But my sprit forces me to say "if I can shoot 3.2mp or 4mp then I won't give up!"
This lens is far more then a distant shot system to look at houses miles away. It's a true macro lens that goes straight into close-up extreme shots. Sure I can read license plates from nearly a half mile away with good lighting--and I can shoot wildlife--but what's so awesome due to the bellows component of this system I can crank the lens out into focusing way up close. Providing even more of a tele-photo macro effect. This lets me shoot insects at nearly any size. I could have shot this been to fill this picture--but instead I wanted to show you this. The crop vs. the shot again. Showing in betweens. After shooting these landscapes of The Dalles--I just moved my camera down, focused out and went into close-up mode by focusing past infinity as easy as it goes. The camera focuses into very close view and becomes a macro close-up lens. Its rail bellows extending all the way out. I am very lucky because I figured out this scope and it's not as bulky as it's counterparts. It weights only about 3 pounds or so.
A CLOSE CROP--QUALITY UP CLOSE AT A DISTANCE I wanted to show how I can take a picture of the bee (above this one) and crop the picture still getting really good detail. This was not needed--I could have, as I said, filled the image by getting closer to the bee and focusing further forward but this bee landing in a strange place surely would have flown away. The limit is about a foot and a half before I can't focus closer--the biggest problem being I have to keep the camera very steady. The cool thing is--it's a bit difficult--but I can shoot birds and insects with the same lens and switch very fast just by focus alone. I now understand a bit about how this mega-expensive all-purpose lenses work.
My neighbors Guard dog--taken at about 50ft away. I estimated wrong. I have a good working range-finder camera that gives to the foot very accurate distance numbers. 50ft go by really fast when you are outside. I might have wrote 30ft before in another article if I recall--this was taken a long ways away. It's easy to not get used to judging distance--we all assume we can do it very well but when put to the test with an accurate range finders people fail miserably! Or a tape measure--I was amazed how far off I was past 20ft in guessing sizes and distances. Which makes me think--not to say that there are no UFOs, but many people who see UFOs claim it's "about three kilometers away" or "a mile high and 100ft across" How the hell do you know that?! These kinds of judgments are probably usually REALLY inaccurate as I have found since I figured out how to use rangefinder cameras. I also use most importantly for distance, another very accurate tool-a GPS (like knowing it's about 2 miles away) by having a GPS with a full map feature that tells me exactly how far that is away. No guessing.
PHOTOGRAPHIC LAWS AND FREEDOMS
Another shot--the flowers are fading this time of year-dieing and starting to look ugly but I find a few that are nice and can shoot them with ease standing up and several feet away with that the 600mm lens. Shots that are as good as if done with a close up only macro setup. This is a big advantage when you want to shoot flowers in someone’s yard (or other things) without trespassing. The law in Oregon says I can take pictures of anyone in public view--that includes people in there yards or shopping centers and public places. Staff security may kick you out of the area--a gray legal area--they will sometimes approach you if you take a picture that includes valuables like a jewelry store. This happened to me first hand once--I deleted the tape freely but by law I did not have too. There is a degree of freedom you might not know about. Us photographers can spy and spy with no license. We have free range like bounty hunters and private detectives. Of course--pictures of any private in-door conduct (you know what I mean) and being a peeping-tom--is illegal. If it's not---anyone can ask to be taken out of your pictures and at least I allays listen to such requests. I'd like to show you the pictures I shot of some of my neighbors about 1/4th mile away but they are too detailed even if I blur license plates.
Yah, you might be a little upset at this law. It’s true--anyone can photograph you anywhere in “public” which even includes your own yard. They can protest--but you are not require by law to do anything even if your lens is doing the “trespassing”. I was amazed at the amount of freedom photographers have, it’s related to the press and other issues. As creepy as that may be--when my yard overgrew this year when I was gone for a few weeks. I became a “victim” of secret photography--pictures of my own yard at a very close-up to remind me how over-grown my yard was. I was rattled at this-whose tax dollars are they spending on digital cameras and printing this crap out! Jese--it was as like I was growing dope or something. Just a few too many weeds and pages of pictures printed well. That’s where the high proporty tax money is going I guess. Paying someone to come out here and take pictures of my weeds! All they had to do was tell me I had too much brush. I am glad I have felt what it’s like to have that kind of a thing done--it changes my judgments in taking pictures of other peoples yards and places just out of respect. There are many pictures I want to post but can’t due to issues of respect like this.
This really shows the power perspective here--this was taken from my deck--if you know where that is-you can see now what I am making such a big deal about. There is some contrast problems which are always hard to resolve--I could have done better with this shot because I took it too late in the day to see the ridge of rocks in-between. To bring-up the picture would have distorted it badly--this is the ridge all Sunsets in The west side of The Dalles ends on. The ridgeline can be seen all over the East-side of The Dalles. What your looking at was shot through a yard--and through a gap in a tree. Indeed ALL of these pictures in this post were taken from my deck and yard.
I have LOTS of examples but have forgotten some. I tried to work it over some and that was possibly not needed. You got to let things go in photography--you can't be obsessive about a picture or you will ruin it by trying too hard to fix it.
I like this one as it's straight out of the camera for the most part. There are more examples--as of Halloween night-when I am trying to post these--I have been unable to get several pictures more I am planning to add to this post in between the text articles.
--Again here--a natural shot--I am not sure what this smoke was. It may look like a house fire but it could have been anything. I don't get the paper so I don't keep up on this stuff all the time. If this is a house fire, they are putting it out--as you probably know white smoke is a sign that a fire is being put out. Fire danger is large here in The Dalles--my first pictures here in video are of a fire that engulfed a family home--they nearly did not make it out alive and lost there dog to the tragedy.
That famous church tower reveled. Many people here in The Dalles use this as a reference point. On the west side of The Dalles, this church is finally seen for what is hard to see from any angles--look at the rooster on top! I had no idea until I got this lens together, it was there.
Now I turned my camera over to the Industrial side of The Dalles. Actually there are two. One is the Jail and Aluminum plant (this shot is aimed that way-West) and the other is the Dam and sewage and railroad junctions (East)--not really possible for me to shoot here but I did try.
And here is my try--As the sun rose in the cold I snapped this shot and it turned out with this natural color. We have dust and other things in the air that make for some awesome neat effects. These are the massive lines from the Dam, they carry at least 330, to 480 (nearly half a million) volts. Forget the electric chair--if you touched one of these wires you would literally be vaporized. Scary stores about the old days and piles of ashes are not un-common--electricity at this level burns through the body very quickly causing it to become a better and better conductor. The water, sodium and iron in our blood starts it and then our bones and skin becomes conductive like a carbon lamp. If a person melts like this it happens very fast and can be very complete--a horrific full cremation in a matter of a few seconds. Workers on these lines "bond on" with helicopters in an incredible act of strength. In chain-mail like conductive cloths they are able to hold on and work on the wires live with the chopper hovering near them. Once bonded on--there mass is electrified but too far from a ground to cause any serious harm. But birds will not land on these wires--bonding on requires that your whole body absorbers the power immediately-if not--it would be a life-threatening point of shock. Even a tiny bird--without a chain-mail suit to spread it--would be stunned at the very least by approaching these kind of wires. (I studied electricity and radio electronics for several years including a collage course)
Now honestly--I don't know what mountain this is. I feel really stupid. Sometimes the smog or vapor or dust clears up enough to see it better--at least I get a great shot of it now with a 600mm lens.
This cat won't let anyone I know get near him. I managed to get this and a few other shots of natural hunting action in my back yard from a long distance. The cat did not even look at me until I made a noise purposely to get it to look at the camera. As soon as Blogger lets me post some more shots on my website I have a couple of popular shots I got of this cat from across my yard. You can't even get 15ft close to him! Through that 600mm wildlife lens I can watch him hunt birds and walk like a true predator--it's interesting to see this so clearly at a distance. MORE SHOTS AND LESS WRITING COMING-- COME BACK SOON!