The "piece" of photographic equipment that has been the most influential on my photography would be my extreme macro setup. My interest in macro photography was piqued by browsing macro photos online and wondering, "Why can't I do that?". I was quite stunned with how amazing even the simplest everyday objects looked when magnified - even something as common as a zipper or a screw (shown below). None of the images in this post are cropped or post-processed. The only thing I've done is shrink them to allow me to post them here (please click on the thumbnails to see the full size!).
|Chewed Screw||Threading a Needle|
So I began trying to use my 55-300mm DA L to take macro photos, this was before I really appreciated the nuances of photography and had an understanding of why the 55-300mm wasn't working the way I wanted (very long minimum focusing distance!). I found a Praktica 80-200mm M42 macro lens at a garage sale for 20 bucks, so that was the next step. This still wasn't enough and I found a used Pentax-M 100mm macro lens locally, so I bought that. Then I tried using teleconverters, close up diopters, extension tubes, and I still wasn't happy! This led me to using reversal rings. I put my 55-300mm kit lens onto the camera and reversed my 18-55mm lens onto it. This led to some amazing magnification, however the plastic body construction caused some "wobble" and made it extremely difficult to focus. What is particularly interesting to note is that anybody with the Pentax K-r kit and both kit lenses can achieve this with a 2 dollar reversal ring from ebay!
My favourite photo must be the one taken with my first (3 month old then) DSLR, the Pentax (one and only so far) K20D on 9.01.2009 at precisely 18:41:51 AWDT Eastern Australian Time.
Why did I pick this particular photo? Hmmm…… every time I look at it, brings a smile to my face and to everyone who has seen this photo. It happened on my first “DSLR camera shooting” vacation.
This blog post is an introduction to the Asahi Pentax Auto Extension Tubes designed for K mount lenses with “Auto” aperture control (contrasting the manual M42 style apertures). The Auto Extension Tubes have the aperture linkage built into each of the three extension tubes, so that it is possible to focus with wide open apertures which then stop down to the desired setting on shutter release. The tubes I own were acquired through a common internet auction house, they can be found on the second hand market, and at independent photography equipment dealers who handle second hand gear. They differ in quality from newer “K-mount Extension Tubes” which have no aperture diaphragm control, have low build quality, but are easily found new. Trust me; you will want the authentic variety. The build quality is superior and well worth the search.
|Pentax K-r + DA 50-200mm + AF 540 FGZ|
Bisbee is an old mining town in southern Arizona. In its heyday around the turn of the 20th Century, it was a thriving metropolis. A large percentage of the nation's copper came from the mines here. My maternal grandfather worked in those mines, and he and my grandmother are buried in the old cemetery just east of the town. Over the years, many photographs had been taken by others from this vantage point looking up Main Street to the west. Amazingly, photos taken 100 years ago and those taken today are strikingly similar, as the old buildings still stand. The mines petered out in the 1970s, and were abandoned as too expensive to operate. Bisbee became a tourist destination, but the ghosts of the past still linger on its streets and in its buildings, both literally and figuratively. Many supernatural sightings have taken place, and books and TV shows have been produced on the various phenomena.
I have a confession to make.
Until recently, I had many thousands of photos I had taken stored in my hard drives. Pixels stored together clamouring to get out of the cramped darkness. At least that is how I think of it. So many in fact, that it was the only reason for me to upgrade my hard drive. Three times.
I share through Flickr, however, I never seemed to getting around to printing/sharing photos. I put this somewhat down to laziness, and somewhat to the copyright hooks that those who advertise photo-books and the like seem to have. I also found the price of printing anything bigger than 5×7's silly.
So one day recently I decided to get a printer, and try to print some of them out. This is not the first time I have done this, but last time I tried, it was 2004. Maybe, just maybe, things had gotten better...
Printers are now ridiculously cheap. Ink cartridges are not. I bought a two cartridge Kodak printer locally, and some 4x6”, and 8.5x11” Kodak paper cheaply off Ebay. I installed the printer (a Kodak C315), and connected this wirelessly. It worked nicely.
|Four colour tanks...|
The time has come for us to vote for the winners of our official December "Snow" photo contest! Follow these simple steps to vote:
1. Open the voting thread on the forum
2. Log in using your forum account
3. Browse through the photos (scroll down) and write down the numbers of up to 11 of your favorites
4. Check the checkboxes at the top of the page that correspond to your favorites, and submit!
We want to wish all participants the best of luck, and don't forget to check out this month's "Blue" photo contest, which features the same great prizes!
Voting is open to all members, so don't hesitate to do so. We only ask that you don't share who you voted for within the voting thread.
I was looking for some place that I could make use of my newly acquired Pentax K-5's low light capability. Just by chance I stumbled upon a amateur rodeo taking place not 5 miles from my house in Texas hill country.
The rodeo started at 7PM and it got dark very quickly. There were flood lights, but they were not very bright. I knew that I needed a high shutter speed to stop the action. I put on a Sigma 70-200 mm lens, set the aperture to 2.8, the focal length to 200 mm, and cranked up the ISO to 6400. That seemed to give me a shutter speed of about 250. It would, I figured, be barely enough to stop the action. I was hand holding the shot, but I was able to rest my elbows on the fence. The image stabilization that was built into the camera body might just give me the extra sharpness that I was looking for. I knew that I could get a faster frame rate if I shot in JPEG, but I decided that RAW would give me more latitude in later post processing. I used an after market camera base with a second battery. I have heard that I could get a faster response with it, but I have never been able to figure out if it is really true or not. Still it would not hurt my chances, and the vertical grip helped to steady the shots.
For each rider I shot a series of two to four shots. I was hoping to get that one action shot that told the "rodeo story."
Our first official photo contest of 2013 bears a theme which will allow you to be as creative as can be: "Blue"!
Submit your photo here for a chance to win B&H gift card prizes and more! Like for all previous contents, you may only submit a single photo, and it must be within the size & dimension limits stated in the contest announcement. And while we do allow non-Pentax photos on the forum, only photos taken with Pentax cameras will be eligible to participate in this contest. Good luck!