Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blast from the past! --an un-posted article I wrote a few years ago and info on our wishlist

I came across this old post that had been archived but never published.  It was from back in 2006.
This is the gear I worked with and showed my transition to having my first semi-pro camera.   Of course all this gear in this old article was destroyed in the fire.

BIG NEWS (old news--this article was posted in 2006)
I get quite a few e-mails about what kind of camera I use. I have so far kept that kind of a secret. Without making these texts really long, I will try to explain. This is an early shot after I invented an adapter that lets me use lenses from old camera gear. In this shot, amazing as it is--there is no tape connecting this lens to the camera and it turns and operates freely. This is dangerous for the camera if you do not know what you are doing. It is two element diopter that has captured some of the most detailed close-ups I've ever taken. Like that reddish fly about a year ago. The fun part is that I honestly invented this all myself. Teaching myself optics by experimenting since my all-film days I learned on an old Practika SLR how to get shots right. 1000s of test shots done with different lenses. Finally when I started processing my own film I could build lens attachments to fit 35mil gear. Then I got my first compact and digital camera. An old M305 Hp. Most cameras have pop-out lenses that will turn off if they are overloaded. But if you want to try this---be sure to be very careful or you may break your camera! This is not something I learned on line or in an article--I figured out how to do it with a special recipe of ideas that are alot more simple then I thought. The lens is held on so well that I can shoot without worrying at all that it could fall off. A tight grip is held on by a plastic tube which holds on as if it were sensitive fingers. Just right so it does not fall off and will work with the pop-out lens. This took a long time to invent since I had to find the right adhesives. Of course this lens can be pulled of quickly and instantly brings the camera back to stock-ability. This is a Kodak 6.1mp DX7630. It survived a fall into a creek but only the memory card stayed stable. Rust or something made it impossible to work the dial that controls the camera's mode and power on, off. I now use the lens in other compact cameras. It is two elements and amounts to create even at F8 (the limit for every compact camera I've met--why I do not know) lets you get stunning shots of insects and spiders or anything very macro.

AN OLYMPUS E-500 mounted with one of my home-made extened lenses. Useing plastic tubes and junk--I make lenses fit onto cameras safely and often very successfully with nothing more then rubber bands. I still do this often. This is a dioper with about a 5 inch reach. Farther if mounted on the larger lens.

My very first camera that I used for the things I like the most I also adapted myself. My parents could not afford to get me an SLR so I had to make do with my Polaroid. Taking pictures of even large spiders were useless until I got an idea about optics. This was before the Internet as well know it. I invented the idea on my own. Simple--but incredible--I took my first shots after 100s of test pictures. I had to guess and measure because the Polaroid is not an SLR. The view-finder is useless in trying to figure out what the film will see. That is what SLRs are for. This is my first digital SLR. The Olympus E-500. I have nothing but good things to say about this camera except a frightening thing that I still can't explain. She has the highest pickup at 1600 ISO that I have been able to find. VERY low noize. If I want to shoot night exposures or in very low light--the E-500 is my choice. Shooting RAW and JPEG as well as having two card slots (one XD and one CF)--gives this camera lots of potential. But it is not sports-drink poof! What was a disaster turned into an incredible discovery when I replaced the destroyed very expensive 300mm lens for this camera and took apart the broken one.

Donations I still use now for both digital and film. I invented a special adapter (not shown here) I call the Phoenix adapter. Named because I was able to build it for my Olympus digital SLR. After a very expensive lens got splashed with a sports drink. I had to get another one, but decided to scrap the dead one for lenses. To my surprise I got the mounting bracket and was able to build an adapter out of a Pentax format extension tube. This is what you see when you pull up my My Space page under Gabe Beasley. Now, this specially built adapter will let me use any old Pentax screw mount lenses. As you can see from the Spot-o-matic--all those lenses except the SLR on the bottom and the 120 TLR are for the old Pentax sqrew mount lenses. Of course there is a change in the lens--but this makes it ideal for extreme macros. The object in the center is a bellows--if you checkout the profile of me on My Space you will see this setup in action. The "Phoenix adapter" remains the most incredible thing I have come up with on my own. I figured out how to use any lenses with this digital camera. Old gear finds new life for serious macros in this setup I am very proud of. I plan to dig up more pictures of this to show you later. LET ME KNOW if you have questions and want to see something.

A laminated light reflector can be very useful to harness the power of a compact camera. Most of the pictures on my site were taken with modified compact cameras. I invented all this stuff, I did not read a book or look it up on line. This is a Canon Powershot A520. It works very well and is capable of time-laps photography when hooked up to a laptop. Here shown is an old movie camera grip I used to hold on

Sadly my interest in photography got stopped when I was just getting started with digital shots of spiders---my laptop, digital camera and Zip drive was stolen, and I found out that a guy I thought was my friend did it years later. Over $2500 in gear gone instantly and forever. I was devastated and it took me another 9 years before I was able to take up trying much photography again. I bought a video camera and did some stuff-made a few music videos as well as spider shots but it did not catch on with me like pictures do. I had no computer that was up to date. About three years ago a trip to a local thrift store changed my life. I bought an old 35mm mechanical Pentax-clone a Practika 35mm SLR. I quickly learned to use it and began experimenting with optics from other thrift store junk--busted video cameras and old cameras as well as some lenses I ran into. Great deal. Since I have have had yet another laptop stolen by a friend I nearly gave up on friends. I now have a security system but most of all carry my gear with me. It's good excessive and I am legally armed with a large can of real mace intended for large animals and stuff. What is most important as well--I never know when I want to show people my pictures, and any free-lance photographer will probably say they carry a camera of some kind anywhere. You never know when you will get the action. However, these paparazzi celebrity stokers and stuff makes me sick. I can't believe what is on the news and talk shows these days. Celebrities think they are gods. It is ridiculous. Nobody should get attention like OJ and others who belong in jail. I can't believe that garbage and how many photographers eat that stuff up. What is even more sick is that they actually make a lot of money doing it. This being a family website--I have to stop talking about this stuff but I'd love to.

THIS is what I termed an "aperture plug". Hard to make well, but very functional if done right. The lens is inverted into the plastic case on the right. Covered in duct tape only for looks and a bit of reflection. When I only had compact camera's I had to really on there cheap flashes. Laminating my own reflectors with tape made this far better. I cut them into peaces so that I can hold the camera and grip it in the right places with one hand. As usual--this lens also is a peace of re-cycled optics. In this case, the end of a scope. Just one lens--very good at stuff. And the "plug" goes inside the plastic tube between the lens add-on and the camera. This incredible setup actually works as long as the needle is in the center enough. I have a few great pictures taken this way, but compact camera flashes simply are not bright enough to work at an F-stop of 30 or so. This is a fixed aperture that can be removed to increase depth of field.

A SERIES OF TWO lenses mounted on an Olympus IS-50. This 35mm SLR is a really nice camera but only if you have a bag that does not let it turn itself on! Anyway, the lens in this case is secured and incredibly well--at the end of it's fixed lens. This is a true SLR but it can only accept extensions. This one is for macro. The higher your lens (the longer) the more easy it is to get great macro shots with just one adapter lens or diopter. The camera can shoot up to F22 and about 2FPS. It has a very bright flash and a smart system you can program to work manually by shifting two controls. It's simple but adaptable construction makes it a great camera for all locations. Added here holding on well as you might not image---it is able to see at a serious macro level. As you can see I use all sorts of bottles and things to hold this all together. The rubber bands can be replaced and because I use the right adhesive tapes--this thing will not fall apart anytime soon. One hint---DUCT TAPE does FALL APART. Electrical tape also degrades in fact so fast that you will have to give your lenses a "tape-cut" because it all slips outward. If you want to know what to use---e-mail me.

I did not just make macro lenses. This little thing is totally awesome. It is a truly 400mm scope for just about ANY DIGITAL COMPACT CAMERA with a pop out zoom lens! That is right--400mm equiv. 35mm. So with a digital compact camera you can shoot incredible shots! At one end is an old Polaroid lens that squres in and out (left side) to control the main extra focus of the whole long-lens. The camera port is extending out from the right side into a black larger plastic film can. The hunk of plastic with rubber bands--that is from an old dead video camera. The lenses are very careful lined up together. This you might call was a miracle lens. I use everything from rulers to a laser to get these lenses right. The pinpoint of light for this lens is dead-centered into that last section of tube that goes to the end of a pop-out lens camera like the Canon A520. The only problem with this thing is that you need your camera to be on a tri-pod and it is very sensitive. Taking pictures usually very hard without setting the timer to do it. And this lens works--incredibly well.

I also built a very wide angle lens I want to put into this. It doubles as a great serious diopter for close up insect shots or anything. Wide angle lenses are great and the lens itself takes great pictures of areas like the dinner table where you can see every face but the coffee cup is huge in the image. Not a full fish eye--but close. I have not used it for a while so when I find it I may post some more about it. So I have built now, from scratch, most common lenses--with calculations done simply by measurements and really good long-lasting adhesive. This is something to be proud of and shocks so far every pro I have met.

I left this shot and 100s more go un-published since I forgot them. Just a couple of years ago this destroyed building was someone's home that I watched get built. Destroyed by the same typhoon that caused my apartment to be looted. Guam is one hell of a place to live. Great for a long vacation but not to live there!

A fan of my pictures, I got this in the mail. She was very impressed. And to think--this shot was done with a compact camera at F8. That is a dandy lion flower- And this iridescent bee is only about half the size of a honey bee!

These kinds of shot are very possible with compact cameras only operating at F8. It is amazing but works well. I am currently soon to go down to California where I plan to study this odd spider more. A sun loving daddy long lens? I am bringing books and such to find out what species this is. Notice the incredible markings and puffed up cephilothroax. This spider is very odd for it's family group--it does not hide from the sun and builds basic cob webs. Population densities are so high they must get along with each other more or less well. Most people do not know that there are number of species of communal spiders. Spiders that live together in one huge web taking care of young, sharing food, and mates. Far from the terrors of those 30 or so species out of about 30 some thousand species of spiders known to science that demonize spiders all the time.

A typical picture that you can get with a compact camera and a good home-made macro adaptation. Not one of those lenses I built requires you to hold OR TAPE the lens onto the camera--they can all be operated freely. I spent a very long time figuring this out.
One of the last local places I can take good shots. Mill creek is down there--and until they develop it, I will have a place to shoot that is in walking distance. I can't go anywhere right now as I explained--but hope it will not be developed for a while as the vacant lots that got me some of my best shots are now gone.

I am not sure if I posted this shot yet--future pictures will be only marked with my name and will be far larger so that when you click on them you get the same standard of detail that other sites offer. I have chosen to tell everything and answer questions about how I have built my gear and how I get unexpected shots from the most basic of gear. In the spirit of photography past I will now talk about the camera's I used and the situations I took them with. I believe I shot this with my Canon 400D and a 300mm EOS lens that gives you a 400mm at the D400s wide 10mp view. I will show more gear-pictures later. The body and starter's lens cost $900 when I bought it. The zoom lens, extension tube, grip-upgrade, flash, batteries and filters makes the kit puts is at about $2000. If you don't buy the good gear--you will not be able to do much. Prices have gone down. I have heard and am of the opinion that the Canon EOS 400D is a better camera then the Eos 30D which is slightly more expensive and only 8mp. It is all overkill past 8mp. I will go into my other cameras later. You can rent gear like this too-which is sometimes a good idea if you are on a very low budget but want the shots. On my income, it took me years to get this gear.
The house on the left was ours.. and we found out we had no insurance on possessions inside.
AND ALL THAT GEAR WAS DESTROYED in the tragic fire just 4 months ago (see pics from Aug. 2009 below the next few articles).  Luckily we survived but not much of anything did.    So again please.. if anyone out there would like to help with some camera gear or other stuff for us.. please e-mail my wife an I at 

Thank you..and thanks again for visiting our site.

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