Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hook Revisited

Five high res images blended, but background ended up looking odd, more like blended water, so I added back one of the original images for the out of focus areas.

Twin Towers

The local military museum has a memorial to the lives lost on 9/11, consisting of a single I beam, with twisted ends, part of the collapsed building. I had mixed feelings about photographing it, but in the end decided that anything that helps us remember can't be a bad thing, and I'm not in any way trying to profit from my efforts, or distort the story.

I think I might reshoot the second image wide open so that the background is blurred, more in keeping with the first image. Also, though I was careful in placing my camera to not overlap the almost touching pieces at the top of the image, they feel crowded and a greater space between would work better.

I like the shadow in the second image, almost as if we were seeing the ghost of the towers.


From an armoured car. A two image focus blend, background blurred by wide aperture.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Veggies 2 - Green Pepper

Veggies 1a

Reshot, not in high res any more since this is a focus blend, f3.5, 12 images - and then I overlayed the first and nearest focus image and using a black mask and white paint, blurred much of the pot lid and even the edge of the smaller bowl.

Mild additional blurring was used with field blur to the upper edge of the lid. The light tonality in the broccoli stems was brought out with a straight graph curves layer, white point moved to the left. Broccoli greenery was lightened by shifting green to lighter in the black and white conversion layer in Photoshop.

Veggies 1

Olympus EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm. f 2.8 lens, Broccoli inside two bowls with stainless lid between, natural lighting from north window.  Might retry with focus blending or even go the opposite direction and shoot wide open (this was at f5.6)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Window Of Clamps

I've often thought the clamps in the window looked interesting, veiled by the sheet of poly never removed after I insulated that wall of the garage. Tonight the glow seemed especially attractive. I moved one clamp to fill a gap, but otherwise shot what I saw, not even moving away from the line beween house door and window where I saw the scene.

I did remove some dust spots from the image, literally dust on the poly, not like the old days of dust on the negative. I darkened the right lower corner, lightened the left side to balance the light but otherwise it's a pretty straight shot.

As my postion was at something of an angle to the window, I stopped down to f8. It's a high res shot on the EM-1 Mark II, shot with the 12-100 mm. lens

I know it's thought to be lazy to use a zoom to replace moving back and forth, but it sure does allow for careful framing of an image. The original shot did include a sliver of window frame, just to be sure I didn't miss any of the actual view.

I found my Manfrotto 410 modified head to be very handy in helping get that framing perfect. I recently modified it with the Hejnar Arca adapter plate, a RRS Arca Clamp, and of course added the RRS bottom plate to the camera. Though I did purchase the L bracket, I did remove the side part so it wouldn't interfere with use of the full range of movement of the LCD screen.

As the Manfrotto head flips over for vertical compositions, and given the relative weights of tripod, head and Olympus, I don't think I'm compromising steadiness to a significant degree by not balancing the vertical camera exactly over the axis of the tripod.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Shooting In Bright Sun

Who says you can't shoot at noon?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lancaster Outside


I wasn't happy with the focus blending for the hook so redid it manually in Photoshop though I still think it needs work. Hasn't quite got the glow of the previous version, even though the shift to out of focus is more natural.

The clasp and locker looked great in colour and I didn't expect much in converting to black and white but I like the high key effect after lightening the yellows.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


This is actually a towing hook the back of a military tank, but it looks like a mannekin hand, or maybe something from Pompei.

It was shot with the 40-150, wide open at f2.8, using focus blending in Helicon Focus after the fact, from six high res images (no auto focus bracketing). Sharpness was from the tip of the thumb to mid palm. I added some blur with field blur in Photoshop applied to the right upper corner on a copy of the original image, then masked out and brought back in gradually just in the upper left corner.

Lancaster Continued

Also At The Museum

The upper image is the bubble viewport of a bomber, used for the last 20 years to help rhubarb grow in early spring. The lower image is a jet engine.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bomber Museum Nanton - Lancaster Running

Four Merlin engines running. No difficulties starting them either - very impressive. I had to be quick to catch that smoke, it was only there for a few seconds.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Screw In Black and White

Both are high res, two image stitches with the Olympus em-1 Mark II, the latter being 6600 X 15400, 22X51 inches at 300  DPI. Lens is the 40-150 f2.8, though other pictures of the screw were shot with the 12-100, and some even with the 8-18. All three lenses have sufficient resolution to make good use of high res mode.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

And Yet More Lancaster

Lancaster Bomber Continued...

The last image reminds me of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The plane is painted gloss black but lighting is provided in large by the 25 foot square open doorway in front of the plane and nicely reflecting off the panels.

Against The Light - Use Of Selective Focus

It was near the end of the shoot and I noticed the intense light coming from the open door. Seemed like shallow depth of field was what was called for, but at the same time, if I opened up wide, only the back edge of the wing would be in focus. I did a focus blend wide open but that didn't seem to be what I needed so ended up combining two images, one at f2.8 and the other at f8.

In the editing, I added field blur to the forward edge of the wing. I lightened the engine nacelle and increased local contrast there with akvis Enhancer, also to the top of the wing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Em1ii - switching from high res to Bracketing and Back

so, when we last talked, I'd discovered issues with focus bracketing - specifically that of being
 unable to magnify focus right to the very edge of the image, making it difficult to set a start point for the series of images when the nearest thing is at the very edge of the image, a not uncommon situation. I theorized that turning off magnify in manual focus and turning on focus peaking might provide a work around.

well, yesterday over several hours of real shooting,  with switches back and forth from high res to bracketing and back,  I found that while inconvenient, it was hardly a problem and the dive into the menus quickly got faster and easier - and the advantage of rapid reliable focus blending made it well worth the effort.

I'd like to make one quick point - with the Olympus, peaking goes away shortly after you stop focusing - really nice!

Anyway, if I'm currently in high res mode and magnify manual focus, to do a focus blend, I go into the menu and turn bracketing on. I turn off magnify in focus assist. At the beginning of the shoot I set focus to manual in the menu rather than with the focus clutch on the lens thus preventing autofocus when I press the shutter. I adjust the number of images to blend and if need be the focus shift between images (1-9). In reality I leave shift at 2 and the number of images at 12 - its simpler to have too many images than not enough and 12 covers everything but macro so I soon skipped this step. This combination seems to cover all normal focus blends/brackets.

With focus peaking on, I go to the viewfinder and set focus for the nearest part of the subject , even if it is beyond the active autofocus area (I'm in manual focus after all). I press the shutter and the series starts. turns out that peaking is sufficiently sensitive that the smallest rotation of the lens shifts the area of focus in and out so it's easy to make sure that I'm focused at least as near as the nearest item in frame - and maybe a tad nearer to be safe.

After the series is complete I go into playback to confirm I captured both near and far.

Should it happen that the next shot is back to high res, then I go back to the menu, turn bracketing off and magnify focus on, and go about my business.

I guess I could abandon automatic focus bracketing to be able to stay in high res but have to say that I'm perfectly happy with the normal resolution and blended images (blended in Helicon Focus by the way).

Remember that in the bad old days (two weeks ago) focus blending would involve turning the lens a little (sheer guesswork) and wait for the camera to settle, use the self timer, turn the lens again, and did I already turn it, and which way..., repeat till I'm sure I reached the far part of the subject (and invariably I'm not sure) and pray I didn't turn the lens too far in one or more of the shifts - which happened all too often.

Yep, I'm definitely hooked on Olympus focus bracketing - a couple of menu adjustments each time notwithstanding.

And it's far easier to do than read about it!

Overall I'm tickled with the Olympus and the images it produces. My workflow, my camera handling and the size and weight of my backpack are outstanding.

After the canon 5d3 - noisy shadows; NikonD800e - terrible live view and magnified focus, oh yes, and shutter shake, Sony A7r - shutter shake;  and rii ((rented for a week) - no LCD swing for vertical shots; Fuji GFX50s - no equivalent of my favourite 70-200 nor any hint of one coming; the em-1 mark II is a delight to use. Do I miss those enormous high quality files with detail beyond belief - sure, but it comes down to print size - am I willing to compromise in so many ways so that I can make big prints that I don't have a printer for, have no call for, can't display and don't need. Time to get real.