Now a few images from further away than macro distances. I found it quite easy to accomplish what I intended when shooting macro subjects with the Lensbaby, but not quite as much ease when attempting to photograph middle distance subjects. So, out I went to see what could be done, and found some nice trees along the ditch of a quite back-road and went to work. I think the look of a macro image, with it’s inherent soft edges brought on by simply having very shallow depth of field, is very similar, although different, to what I can achieve with the Lensbaby. Moving a bit further away from my subjects, the out of focus areas start to look abnormal compared to your standard image. Sure they have a limited depth of field which all lenses do to some extent, but now I have also got to deal with a very small sweet spot of sharpness. I can move this point around by simply bending the lens in whatever direction I please. Now, that said, I was using an aperture of only f/4 and it comes with discs right up to f/22 in all the standard stops (2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22), but I really wanted to see what can be accomplished with what it ships with. By using a smaller aperture I could have achieved a larger sweet spot, but I don’t think I could have eliminated the out of focus areas as I could with a standard lens. I do quite like the look of the elongated and drawn out bokeh (out of focus areas of an image) which becomes most evident when bending the lens as opposed to shooting it straight out. It adds the illusion of motion to an image which otherwise might be lacking in the drama department.
[Canon 5dmkII, Lensbaby Composer]
My first go with a Lensbaby Composer. What a unique optic!! Had a riot playing with this lens this past weekend. I can imagine this one will be in my arsenal real soon! This first image of the wheat is a crop from a horizontal image but otherwise pretty much as shot. It has a sweet spot of great sharpness that falls off quickly, but… you can move this sweet spot anywhere in the frame you like.
[Canon 5dmkII, Lensbaby Composer]
The sharpness starts out like you see being sharp in the middle, but then it changes into a donut shape of sharpness as you focus creating a very unique look to many images. The second image here of the text shows off the circle of sharpness nicely. I messed a bit with this image in Photoshop, adding more contrast and the vignette.
This lens can be made into a really great macro by purchasing the Macro Kit, which is really just a couple of close-up filters. One is a +4 and the other a +10 diopter. Here I stacked the two and am very impressed how sharp this lens is as a macro. I also changed the aperture, which are small magnetic discs that you manually remove and replace with a small magnetic tool – very unique – that word unique seems to be in this post a lot. The lens is shipped with the f/4 disc installed and I opted for a smidge more depth of field and put in the f/5.6 disc for this image. Image presented as shot.
Mmmm, smell the coffee. Makes me want to run to Second Cup for a Vanilla Bean Latte!! Another macro image with the two diopters installed. This is pretty much straight out of the camera.
This final image made in my front yard using the +4 diopter by itself on the Lensbaby. These macro shots at first appear just as ordinary macro images made with an normal macro lens with the very shallow depth of field, but on closer inspection I notice that the field of sharpness isn’t the same. It’s more a circle of sharpness and messes with my mind enough that it has an appealing difference from the ordinary macro images I am so used to. Again, virtually straight out of the camera.
An HDR (High Dynamic Range) image made with three images. One exposed for highlight, one for midtones and one for shadows. These were then combined in Photoshop to make one image that appears as I saw it. Most if not all cameras have a drastically reduced dynamic range( difference between pure black and pure white) compared with human vision. We can see detail into the darkest shadows and into some very bright highlights whereas the camera blocks up the shadows and blows out the highlights. I have to be very careful using this procedure as it can be easily overdone leaving me with a very flat, low contrast image or one that looks completey false compared to reality.
One more from the Allan Lambert Galleria, this time a high key image. And the second image here can simply be titled “Toronto 2010”. I have no idea where this one was. Well I have an idea approximately, but not enough of a memory to nail down which building it was – sorry!
Well, you didn’t expect me to go to Toronto and not try to make a few images of the icon of the city did you?? All my images from Toronto were made without the benefit of a tripod, so needless to say I needed to improvise for all the nightime images. I would use any solid support I could find and then jam my fingers under the camera to try and get the angle of view I wanted and then press very gently on the shutter release for as long as 30 seconds breathing very gently. It sometimes took a few tries to nail down an exposure that didn’t blur the image to some degree. Using many of the newer digital cameras that have an image stabilizer feature can be a trying experience if you’ve left it turned on when making these long nightime exposures as the camera thinks you are moving, when really you are trying to be as steady as possible, and it creates it’s own movement thinking it’s doing a bang-up job for you!! Turn it off or you will never get a clear image with exposures longer than even a 1/4 second. It’s a great feature when doing handheld work, but a complete disaster when doing long exposures on a tripod or like me jamming the camera against railing or concrete walls etc. My camera does have a few war wounds now with some scrapes and all, but it’s a trooper and provided some great images for me.
I had the pleasure of flying into Toronto in late spring this year, Thank you Nikon!, to enjoy a Blue Jays game. Having only really been through the airport a few times and never having had the chance to wander around through the downtown area, I made it a point of spending all of my extra 4 daylight hours doing just that. I did stay up rather late(early – 2am) and made a few nightime images as well which I will be posting over the next couple of days, so stay tuned.
The first image is of the Skydome Toronto Furnished Apartments literally across the street from the Skydome and overlooking Lake Ontario.
This second image is the Allan Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place linking the Bay Wellington Tower and the TD Canada Trust Tower in downtown Toronto. Brookfield Place is also the home of Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame.
[Canon G10, maybe I should have taken a Nikon, ooops!]