Trial and Error with Extreme Macro Photography

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 7, 2013

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!).

Zipper Earring
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!

Asahi Pentax Auto Extension Tubes

An economical portal to the macro world

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 6, 2013

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

Closing the (workflow) loop

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 6, 2013

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...

Gearing up

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...

Working When Wet: the 18-135mm

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 4, 2013

Photography is the art of capturing moments.  For me, most moments are unanticipated, let alone planned.  Being ready is paramount to capturing them.  As I ready to encounter them during my explorations, one lens returns to my camera more often than not, the Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR.

Mounted to my K-5, it has traveled from the Pacific Northwest to the Canary Islands. It has been backpacking, in my canoe gearbag, and in a loosely closed dry bag, strapped to the deck of my kayak, always at the ready. The lens has a good zoom range and is fast enough for most situations. It also has a reasonable macro capability. The quick shift feature has been wonderful for fine adjustment, particularly for macro shots. However, I bought it because, when paired with the K-5, it can take a splash. Many of my photos are shot from a paddled watercraft of one variety or another, or on hikes in rainforests. Living in the Pacific Northwest, where moisture is omnipresent, weather sealing is a must.

Photography - it changes lives

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 4, 2013

I will be different in giving my introduction.  No more questions to start my intro some flavor to it. I'll be more straight and direct. According to the info given I need to submit a short piece about what piece of photographic equipment has made the biggest positive impact on your photography. I'll talk about not just how my photographic equipment made a big positive impact on my photography, but as well as how it made a huge impact to my life.

This is the the equipment that made a huge impact to me. The Pentax K-x:

I could say, this piece is truly small but terrible, in terms of its capabilities and features in its level. Being my first equipment and made a way for me in photography Pentax K-x is easy to use. How this equipment made a huge impact in my life will be discussed in the rest of this post.


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