A Few More from the 5DMK2 and a Lensbaby Sweet 35

This is turning out to be a really good combo! The increased ‘lensbabyness’ of the image and the wider angle of view are proving useful!

All these were taken on a pretty uninspiring day in Jersey at Saie Harbour, a mixture of rocky outcrops and sand.

This first one has had a touch of the ‘cross processed film’ filter added to tune the colours a little. There may be a layer added too!

5d Mk2 lensbaby sweet 35

Just a layer for the next one – that tide was coming in very fast, a slow walking pace. For some reason the horizon never looks straight in this no matter how often it’s corrected…..

5d Mk2 lensbaby sweet 35

Finally a last variation on the same theme.The lovely ethereal rendering this lens gives is, to my at least, superb.

5d Mk2 lensbaby sweet 35

Thanks for looking – hope you like them!

The Lensbaby Sweet 35 on a Canon 5d Mk 2

The next lens in line for a mini-test on a Canon 5d Mk2 is the Lensbaby Sweet 35, a 35mm fixed focal length special effects lens used for many years on a 60D. The ‘test area’s for these shots were Kimmeridge Bay and Corfe Castle in Dorset (UK) , both popular with summer visitors. By using the Lensbaby I was hoping to blur away the modern ‘clutter’ and get a more timeless set of images. The Sweet 35 was in a ‘Composer’ mount, and all shots processed in DXO Optics 9 and Filmpack 4.

Canon 5d Mk2 Lensbaby Sweet 35

First shot – Corfe Castle. The Lensbaby at max aperture has done a great job of ‘eliminating’ the tourists swarming around the base.

In use it’s a nice surprise to have something small and light attached to the heavy 5D body rather than a bulky zoom lens.

Canon 5d Mk2 Lensbaby Sweet 35

A second shot from inside the village – this has worked well – the area under the houses was full of cars and pedestrians!

Focussing is easy on the large screen but best of all it’s now a proper 35mm lens rather than a 56mm equivalent on the 60D, giving a moderately wide angle view. After years of wanting a wider view on crop frame sensors using this lens, this is brilliant!

Canon 5d Mk2 Lensbaby Sweet 35

Some distracting telephone wires and TV aerials have been blurred away on this one – certainly easier than the Photoshop clone tool….

On to Kimmeridge for this shot.  The romantic tower on the cliff is Clavell’s Tower – available for holiday lets as long as you’re willing to book several years in advance.

Canon 5d Mk2 Lensbaby Sweet 35

I’d never seen these odd circular out of focus areas (see lower left) on the 60D – looking at them they are at the edge of the frame so the smaller sensor probably didn’t see them. They only occur at max aperture.

Not a bad result at all. Apart from the odd bokeh seen in the last shot, the wider angle of view is very welcome, and on full frame, the blurry edge of the frame is even more effective.

Hope you find this useful, thanks for looking.

If you’re interested in using other MF lenses on your DSLR have a look at the other reviews on the film, camera and lens review index tab.

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)….

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

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…

EPL5EPL5, Lensbaby, lens converter, micro four thirds, infra red

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!

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

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!

_MG_0455_DxO_DxOFPs

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!

_MG_0457_DxO_DxOFPs

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!

_MG_0450_DxOs

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!

Texture Layers Part Three

The last (for the time being) of the layer posts and this time it’s about even more subtle layering.

This was taken as a simple abstract but a light blue/brown helped it along nicely. Not too obvious, but then that’s the theme of the post…

00178886

Next a Lensbaby shot which was taken on a stormy day by the coast. The post-processing added an extra boost to an otherwise so-so image.

00182088

Finally one with a vignette, and the same image as number one layered to add something to an otherwise grey featureless sky. 00182158

Layering is a useful technique to add a bit of extra mystery and atmosphere to a shot which is graphically promising but lacks a certain ‘something’ – especially shots taken under flat skies. Give it a try using the hundreds of free layer/texture images on the web, or even better, shoot or create your own.

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.

Texture Layers Part Two

Following on from part one of this layers series, this on is dedicated to a more subtle (but not too subtle!) use of texture layers in post processing.

This first layer is almost like one of those odd Hoya filters from the 1980’s with a strong colour bias to one side. Combined  with a Lensbaby Sweet 35 at max aperture it makes a nice combination!

00217805

Next a shot of the same tower as the first post – but the rain and condensation in the inside of a car window added to the fogged effect. This was one of only a few shots from a wet and cold day which was worth the effort.

00265776

And finally a narrow alley with a ‘daguerreotype’ layer added – that bricked up window makes the shot. Converging lines again….00178893

All shots taken for the book market, hope you like them and thanks for looking.’

Lensbaby Magic

The Lensbaby is an unpredictable beast – the results you think you’re going don’t often appear.

So with that intro, some shots which were pre-visualised as a particular image but ended up as something better – Lensbaby ‘fairy dust’ if you like, and hypnotically good as you play around in Photoshop and watch the results emerge!

First then – one of ‘those’ shots taken by instinct on a Sweet 35 mounted on an EPL3 in the winter. I could look at the wave patterns for hours…

00221821

Next on the plastic lens and this was vaguely what I had in mind, just better than I’d imagined.

00076842

Finally the best example – I can’t even recognise where this was taken, just sunlight off a road somewhere and, well much more impressively abstract that whatever I’d thought of!

00084003

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.

Shooting Doors Part Four

A few more for the Legion – hope you like them!

First one – a badly bashed up and overgrown door on an old farm. APX100 film, OM1N.

00274947

This is ‘quality’ peeling paint – Canon 60D + some basic post processing.

00230123

Can’t do a post without a Lensbaby shot…. This one’s the Sweet 35 on an Olympus Pen.

00274817

Well it’s part of a door… The slatted parts made a nice graphic pattern surrounding the latch.

00196764

This one was taken as part of the series in the Rollei Blackbird film post – Zuiko 50mm F1.4 wide open.

00240683

Thanks for looking – hope they give you some ideas for your photography (doors in this case!).

More In Camera Processing

00275925

Why my first image won’t appear in the reader is anyone’s guess – always used to work – any ideas out there? Following on from the last post about using the Olympus PEN ‘Dramatic Tone’ effect, I’ve had a bit more of a play around using it on some Lensbaby Sweet 35 shots.

These first three were taken on a very stormy day on the coast – it was worth the effort despite getting soaked.

00274803

00274804

The weather has mostly been dark and overcast over the last few weeks, and the effect drags some lovely cloud detail out from an otherwise grey sky.

00274808It all lends itself to some dark, moody (maybe melodramatic!) landscapes, enhanced by DXO Filmpack post processing and maybe the odd layer here and there. There’s been a few birds added here as well – blurred in a layer using the ‘motion blur’ tool.

00274944

This is a milennium beacon inland – shows the ‘burnt in’ sky nicely – I used to do this on B/W prints with bits of card on sticks!

00274954

Might as well finish on a gothic feel – been trying to take a decent shot of this monument for years and this is my best attempt yet.

00274955

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.

p.s. Apologies – haven’t been posting much lately – been too busy taking pictures!

A Bit of ‘In Camera’ Processing

In the last few years, most new digital cameras have some sort of  ‘in camera’ processing special effects on board. This post looks at one of the more useful ones – ‘dramatic tone’ on an Olympus EPL3.

These shots have been given a bit of a twist by being shot on a Sweet 35 Lensbaby and the two seem to complement each other nicely.

EPL3_dramatic_tone_1

The processing (amongst other things) pulls out minor differences in mid tones – those clouds just looked plain white on the day. The effect can be previewed on the LCD and can produce a look which is similar to print dodging/burning,  film fogging or even strong flare.

EPL3_dramatic_tone_4

What’s more, minor movements of the camera produce some major variations in the way these effects are distributed on the image – it’s quite fascinating! It can also be applied to a ‘normal’ RAW image using the Olympus supplied software ‘Viewer 2’ but without any fine tuning by moving the camera obviously.

EPL3_dramatic_tone_3

The output from the process is in colour, but they seem to me to look better in mono – something done in DXO Filmpack choosing either one of the film profiles or the creative presets and tweaking the settings. To add a final finish a layer can be added too (see above)!

EPL3_dramatic_tone_2

So, with the effect toned down a little, and with conversion to a mono image it’s quite useful and not just a novelty (which many of the others are). Just don’t use it for every shot!

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.

Shooting Railings

You know you’ve been a book cover photographer for too long when you can’t walk past a set of old railings without wanting to take a few shots. The stark lines standing out against a moody sky or a clear background are an opportunity to create strong images.

So first – shot on film on an Olympus SLR and probably with the Zuiko 50mm F1.4, toned with a light orange filter in Photoshop. The out of focus background lifts the shot nicely.

00244451

Can’t remember anything about this one so it’s probably digital on the 60D but the symmetry is good.

00221853

This one is on a Fuju 810 converted to infra red. These gates are quite delicate and were once very ornate with vine leaves and fruit growing out from the now heavily distorted spiral shapes.

00175975

Onto something very modern and nowhere near as pretty Stark security on an industrial estate, layered and tweaked in DXO filmpack.

00244445

OK – it’s a picket fence not railings – but I thought I’d try and get away with it! High contrast suited this nicely with the detail receding into the distance. Canon 60D.

00221858

This one is definitely the 60D plus a Sweet 35 Lensbaby from a low angle using the flip screen. The bright halo around the bokeh highlights is typical of this lens at wide apertures.

00199877

Fuji F810 again with the curves of the railings complementing the curves of the celtic cross.

00178434

60D + Lensbaby glass lens. The hand like leaves in the top right were a nice – if lucky – break for this one! Lightly toned and layered.

00183913

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.

More Shooting with a Lensbaby

There seems to be a bit of interest in the results you can get using a Lensbaby, so maybe a few more shots would be OK. The first post introducing how to use a Lensbaby is here.

BTW – I have no links with the Lensbaby company – I just like using them.

Plastic Lens plus some gentle layers

I remember starting with the Lensbaby Muse and getting a bit frustrated with it, as it’s got to be bent and held in position which is tricky if you’re using the LCD to focus (not enough fingers!). It’s tough on the hand tendons too in cold weather as the flexible plastic lens mount gets difficult to move. The Composer though was much better as it stays in place and is easy to focus on the LCD like a conventional lens.

So here are some shots to show results from the Sweet 35 as well as the 50mm glass and plastic lenses, and a variety of post-processing treatments to go with them (most of them need some post processing).

First then, high contrast monochrome. This could be done in camera or even better in Photoshop. The first is with the Sweet 35, the second the 50mm single glass lens. The glass lenses are quite sharp in places, and high contrast emphasises this.

Secondly, the lovely soft plastic lens. This can produce results which sometimes look as if they’re paintings (only almost!).

Plastic lens, blue filter and monochrome ‘in camera’. Olympus 620.

Plastic Lens and ‘in camera’ monochrome and blue filter. Olympus 620.

Plastic lens, wide aperture and a layer or two.

Plastic lens plus a very light layer.

Finally some vintage style processing – layered to look like old prints. A simple sepia tone doesn’t give the same  ‘depth’ as a layer. The first shot is using a glass lens, the other two are taken on the Sweet 35.

Glass Lens and a Canon 60D

Sweet 35 and a Canon 60D

Glass lens and an Olympus 620

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

Hope you like them and they give you some creative ideas for your photography.