Extreme Combinations…

Combining various obscure photographic techniques is irresistible – at least to me. So apologies in advance.

What happens if you shoot infrared hand-held with an IR R72  filter through a Lensbaby Sweet 35 using Olys ‘Dramatic Tone’ filter? I had no idea until today.. The 35mm focal length is a fixed 70mm equivalent on micro four thirds, so a bit restrictive, but let’s see what we can do. The Lensbaby has a problem resolving detail at the edge of the frame – how bad is it ‘in the field’ on small micro four thirds sensor? There are loads of ‘fields’ near where I live, so lets give it a go – walking into ‘a field’ as I do so. MTF charts are unavailable due to a technical fault.

Here’s the kit – an EPL5,  a micro 4/3 mount converter, a Sweet 35 Lensbaby, a 49mm to 58mm thread converter and a Hoya 58mm R72 filter. I’d hoped to fit in some macro extension tubes but time didn’t allow. To add a little colour, DXO filmpack was used to tone the monochrome images (we’re a long way from photo realism already)….

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This isn’t the easiest combo to focus – ISO needs to be around 8000 to hand hold a shot in spring sunshine (the R72 filter is pretty much opaque), so the focus magnify button is essential to find something like a sharp image. To add to the excitement (why do I do this?) the ‘wide open’ sharpness of the Lensbaby makes sharpness a relative term. The Lensbaby people must do something about this…

Onto the results…

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A bit too grainy possibly – ISO 8000 should be free of noise in a modern camera surely. I well remember using Kodak IR 8000 film ten years ago and it was nowhere as grainy as this. Digital is obviously rubbish. The IR effect is showing, but the ‘Dramatic Tone’ element isn’t too visible. That black dot is a bird by the way rather than ‘dust on the sensor’. Why don’t Lensbaby make a zoom pinhole attachment by the way?

 

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

This is better – even something in focus. The blurred areas are – well – very blurred and rather good. The grass on the right is bright (as it should be), and the new foliage on the willow tree is nicely bright too. Why is this less grainy – I have no idea!

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More grain again – but this time it seems to suit the subject. Well maybe….

Finally the Mill, used in the past as a test target for previous lens tests. The lovely Lensbaby out of focus areas have produced an abstract, almost ‘painted’ blurry result. Assuming most painters like blur of course, which is an unproven hypothesis in my experience.

EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

Hmm.

Thanks for looking, enjoy Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere)  and have a good April 1st!

Unlikely Combinations

Experimenting with Lensbabys, old MF lenses , layers/PP, infrared etc is one of the best aspects of photography – straightforward clean, sharp images can be a bit dull sometimes. However this experiment plumbs new depths of oddity – infrared with a lensbaby…. I’d discussed this with friends some time ago as a possibility but they just shook their heads!

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The best image of the set – focusing the Lensbaby with an R72 attached is difficult but possible in bright sunlight.

Anyway, here are the initial results – and they’re not too bad, i.e. pleasingly weird. The “Lensbaby effect” is more immediately obvious that the “infrared look” as in order to take these the maximum aperture of the Sweet 35 was required giving the strongest edge blur.

_MG_0453_DxO_DxOFPsAll shots taken on a Canon 60D, Sweet 35 wide open (F2 I think?), Hoya R72 infrared filter, ISO 5000. post processed in DXO Optics 8 (my new favourite new PP program). There were hand held at slow shutter speeds but any camera shake is lost in the general blur anyway. Aggressive noise reduction can be used to get rid of the high ISO noise as – again – there is no real detail to lose!

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Finally the most extreme of the lot. Your eye has to search the image before it realises what’s going on – so I’m pleased with it!

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So not something for everyday use, but an intriguing technique which could produce strong images. If you’ve a Lensbaby and an IR filter give it a go. Next step is trying the plastic lens – wonder how it will handle infra red?

Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Yet More RX100 Infrareds!

Dorset is experiencing something weird this year – summer! The skies are clear, the temperatures are hitting 30 degrees C and for people used to cloudy wet summers with just a glimpse of sunshine now and then it’s all most disturbing…..

So using this hot weather as an excuse to shoot yet more infrared handheld on the unmodified RX100 (with an R72 filter) , here we go.

First, a few of the pedestrian bridges over the River Stour near Tarrant Crawford – the leaves and grasses radiating IR like mad. All taken at 28mm setting at f1.8 using RAW, the ‘Black and White’ creative setting (for composition) and +1 exposure compensation.

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This is the next bridge along – the field boundary is heavily overgrown on either side which help isolate the dark path.

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And the same view but in landscape orientation with a lower contrast – can’t make my mind up which of the two is best. _DSC0948_DxOFP

Finally a small avenue of trees taken on the same day, the shadows on the road being an integral part of the composition.

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As usual, all taken for the book cover market – hope you like them!

Infrared on Portland (Dorset)

A few infrareds from a great day in Weymouth and Portland in superb sunny weather. All taken on using the Sony RX100 and R72 filter, post processed in DXO to tweak the contrast.

This cemetery has some of the best monuments in the area – and a great subject for IR against a clear blue sky with some high cloud to give some texture. These are two of the most impressive.

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This is the first statue complete with broken wing from the rear – the bright dot in the sky is flare from the lens. The RX100 produces some very complex flare (see later article).

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Finally a closer view of another monument. This camera produces very high IR quality images. better than my old IR digital camera, a Fuji F810.

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

Some More from the Plastic Lensbaby (and a few infrareds)

It’s been an odd week this week – been organising print sales through a local art gallery, so there’s not been much time for taking photos. These are a few from the limited opportunities where time and the weather allowed, using the plastic lens/Lensbaby Composer on a Canon 60D (my current favourite combo). The infrareds are taken on a Sony RX100.

The poppies are out in Dorset – having driven and walked around to find some, this was growing next to the car park!

This one’s a bit of an abstract – no aperture disk for this (so at f2) and long grasses blowing on the downland, post-processed and toned. The flowing blur near the horizon was unexpected…

This one (continuing the floral/grasses theme) has some nice depth even if it’s an odd composition. F4 aperture disk, post processed and toned in DXO Filmpack.

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And now for the inevitable infra reds – this one is Horton Tower. It looks spooky but it was built in the 18th century so the local landowner could keep an eye on the progress of the fox hunts around the landscape after he became to old to ride with them.

And finally a barbed wire/aged fence post. I think the RX100 is just going to be used for infrared at this rate!

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Thanks for looking – hope you like them, and have a good weekend!

Sony RX100 does a few more infrareds….

A few more shots from a very good compact camera  with a Hoya R72 filter.

Experimenting with a few different settings, this was taken in JPEG B/W mode then converted in DXO filmpack using a high contrast Ortho film setting. ISO 800 f1.8 at 1/30 of a second in mixed bright/overcast light (the contrast through an R72 filter is very low).

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Next , same settings and a good result shot in RAW and converted to DNG format using ACR RAW converter, then desaturated in red/magenta channels along with a contrast boost.

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Just got to nail the focus and it’s done. This camera should prove to be an excellent carry around camera – worth every penny!

Thanks for looking – hope you like them.

Sony RX100 Does Infrared (First Attempt)….

Just traded in a Canon G9, a Oly EPL3 and a spare OM2n body to raise funds for a new Sony RX100 – and it’s very good so far. So if anyone’s wondering if you can shoot infrared with one the answer is yes!

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A much more subtle range of tones than the Fuji F810 I usually use – not surprising as the Sony’s sensor is huge by comparison with the tiny one in the Fuji.

The R72 filter is just held over the front over the lens, and after a bit of experimentation a +1 exposure compensation and ISO of 400 to 800 ASA allows hand-held exposures at 28mm at f1.8 on a sunny day. Focus is a bit hit and miss. Shooting RAW allows for the inevitable post processing.

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There’s a slight hot spot’ of brightness in the centre but it’s easily edited out. Processing consisting of de-saturating the red and magenta channels (there’s no other colour information).

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In addition to the IR R72 filter, carrying a three stop neutral density filter in a shirt pocket allows the use of the widest apertures in bright conditions for ‘normal’ photography – the minimum shutter speed is 1/2000 th of a second.

Up close the IR results are grainier than a ‘normal’ shot, but at 20MP it’s nowhere near as noticeable as using a 12MP sensor.

With a bit of practice this should be a tiny, versatile camera in conjunction with the two filters.

Hope you find this useful – thanks for looking!

Infrareds – yet more…

(Five images) Well, you can’t have too many! This set is all taken in the typical ‘IR genre’ – graveyards and their monuments. All taken on a converted Fuji F810 and R72 filter.

First – an impressive angel in a rural church. The form of the wings makes the shot.

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Next – layered to add to the effect, and the figure on the pillar gives it a vaguely ‘roman’ look. The hexagonal flare is quite nice too.

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Different angel – similar effect. Unfortunately one of the wings has been broken off or vandalised.00178424

This was very odd – a nautical monument miles inland. An odd place to find an anchor.00177103

Finally a favourite location – an overgrown graveyard with some very grand monuments. IR helps distinguish the metalwork from the undergrowth. 00175971

Right – not that many IR’s left – thank goodness. Summer is coming, and it’ll soon be IR season for 4 months so get ready!

Hope you like them and thanks for looking!

Infrared Easter

(Three images). Not that Easter is traditionally infrared…. Hopefully we’ll be getting more green foliage soon – though it’s late coming this year in the UK – which means its infrared season again at last. Here’s a few from the Fuji F810 converted to IR.

This one is gently layered and vignetted for the classic IR look. The faded trees in the distance contrast nicely with the dark sharp railings in the foreground.

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Next is a lane nearby and a narrow lane curving away – the tree on the left is huge. This turned out better than anticipated as it wasn’t that bright.

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Last an open gate and some leaves – the colour channel and desaturation controls creating the final effect leaving just a bit of colour.

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All shots taken for the book cover market, hope you like them!

Tree Tuesday Part Twelve

It’s Tuesday again (well nearly), and that means trees… I’ve dug out an old friend from the vaults and recharged the battery – the Fuji F810 converted for IR with a small screwdriver. It’s still working fine if a bit eccentrically, especially in the mode dial department, but it still works!

Equipped with this and an R72 filter held over the lens here’ s todays Tree Tuesday.

First – a huge oak which is in a lane nearby. The trunk must be seven feet thick and the tree itself several hundred years old. There’s enough creeper growth to give some IR response, so this is a good time of year to shoot before the main leaf canopy bursts out.

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Second – the same tree from a different angle across the fields. It probably started as a hedgerow tree and was allowed to grow, maybe in the 1700’s. There’s a rule called ‘Hooper’s Law’ which states that a hedgerow gains a woody species in a thirty metre section every hundred years – I must try a stretch of this one to check. The track next to the tree is at least two hundred years old (it’s on an old map), so it’s probably much older.

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Unusually these weren’t taken for the book cover market, but just for fun and Tree Tuesday – hope you like them and thanks for looking!

Infrared Landscapes

Enough lens reviews – back to just pictures – and infrared ones at that!

I’ve usually used IR for specific genres – medium distance views of deciduous trees, graveyards and spooky stuff generally. What I’ve been trying (with mixed success) over the last few years is to use it for what you might call ‘classical landscapes’ to see what happens – so here are the results.

First – taken on the modified Fuji F810 + R72 and a walk down to the coast cliffs in the summer to Winspit. The lines cut into the hill are medieval strip lynchets built to press more land into production on hill slopes.

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Next a lunchtime trip from work believe it or not (living in Dorset has it’s advantages). Rather than my usual treatment of  desaturating everything and then toning , the channel mixer was used. There’s not much room for manoeuvre though as most of the information is in the red channel.

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More channel mixing here – to give a ‘blood red’ effect. The shot was taken across the fields to Dorchester on a long tele setting.

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Finally a personal favourite – storm clouds bubbling up on the horizon and a long walk to the car park. Simple desaturation and ‘levels’.

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking!

Tree Tuesday Part Ten

Two more for Tree Tuesday – hope you like them.

Both in infrared – the first one is a clump or trees on a very exposed hilltop, hence the bent and contorted forms.

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Second one taken ages ago on an Olympus 8080 on a windy day on the heath nearby. This one’s a silver birch as I remember.

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Happy tree Tuesday!

Tree Tuesday Part Eight

Two for Tree Tuesday – and as a bonus both in infrared!

First up is really two (or is it three) trees – taken in spring, and contrasting the empty branches of a dead tree against bright cherry blossom. 00044670

Next a thorn bush – these grow on the chalk downland nearby and are usually the only tree in a large area of grass. They have a tough time in the winter as the gales rip over the exposed downs, and are often bent over into quite convoluted shapes. This one though seems quite healthy.

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.

Time For Some More Infrared

It’s been a while since I posted any infrared as I was determined to post something else. It’s been a while though, so here goes (four images). All shot on a Fuji F810 converted to IR, shot through a Hoya R72 filter.

First – IR through old glass – an arched church window on a very nice day. The window frames the clouds nicely.

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This next one was a real surprise – a chance shot of a tennis court net which turned out to be a real abstract. Still you never know what you’re going to get with IR…

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Aah – a traditional bit if IR gothic – ivy growing over a church window.

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Finally an old WW2 observation post overlooking the English Channel. There’s something about the post-processed colours and the intersection of lines I like – not sure why…

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As always these shots are taken for the book cover market, and all comments, critiques and questions are welcome.

Thanks for looking – hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography. It’s IR film next!

Tree Tuesday Number Three

My third ‘Tree Tuesday’ – and this first shot is through a Lensbaby on a Canon 60D, taken into the sunlight in a stand of pine trees.

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The second shot – and yes I said no more infra red for a while …. but it is Tree Tuesday so I might get away with it.  Efke 820 IR film in an OM1N, lightly toned in Photoshop.

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Hope you like them.