Tuesday, October 31, 2006


"The lookout"
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.

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.

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!

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