The other day I picked up a cheap old tele-converter for Pentax, for five dollars. I thought I’d test it out with my 500mm Tamron mirror lens, just for fun, expecting nothing. This is close to a 28x power telescope on the APS-C size sensor of my K100 DSLR. There are two problems with doing this; first thing is it reduces the aperture another f stop from f8 to f11, thereby slowing down the shutter and forcing the ISO higher. Both those factors effect image quality negatively. But second; the thing is really hard to hold steady! However, in the sunshine today I was able to get a few shots, which proved not bad. Remarkable in a way, when you consider these were hand held. The hawk probably would have been acceptable if I’d used a tripod, as the shutter speed was 1/45th of a second. That’s absurdly slow for a 1000mm lens. I applied some post processing to that image to try to make it look more artsy, since it was rather fuzzy to begin with. The heron was about 200 feet away however, and it turned out not too badly. If I wanted to get better results than this I’d have to buy a lens that costs over a thousand bucks, which isn’t going to happen soon.
Category Archives: Cameras
Long ago, in the era of film, it was fun to shoot street scenes. They only thing that curtailed my shooting then was the cost of film, processing, and printing; among other things, like the need to attend school, etc. We always shot in black and white too, as colour was much too expensive, besides which black and white was the medium on the street beat, and could be developed and printed in a home darkroom without an enormous investment in equipment. Digital has changed all that, mostly for the better, with the exception of the tendency to want to buy a new camera every few years. My Minolta SRT 101 lasted 25 years, and was every bit as good as the finest cameras money could buy. Not so today.
Nevertheless, my present DLSR is certainly good enough, even if it is already technically obsolete. This morning I had an hour to kill while getting some work done on the car, so I brought the camera along and wandered around the downtown core. I converted these images to black and white, because I feel that they have more impact when you remove colour as a consideration; it’s all about subject matter. That is the point of street photography. I tried not to shoot photos of people right up front and in their faces, because I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Today in fact I shot a picture of one fellow who passed me on the sidewalk and heard the click of the very noisy shutter of my Pentax K50. He stopped and turned to ask me if I’d taken his picture. Since I had a photograph of only his back I replied I had not, hoping he would drop the subject, but he didn’t. He told me to show him that I hadn’t taken his picture. I told him there was nothing to see, and walked away. He then called me an f-ing goof. Some street people are known to suffer from paranoia, so I guess he was one of them. I will not use the picture of his back in any case.
PS: last day for the free ebook!
We live beside a small pond called Swan Lake. We never see swans here, however. It’s a bird sanctuary, in a park that by some miracle was never destroyed by development. Thank you for that, whoever you were that was responsible. Daily, we walk around the lake, a distance of about a mile, which takes 45 minutes almost invariably. Sometimes I carry a camera, but we have a joke that whenever I do so, we see no wildlife worthy of a photo. Of course when I leave the camera home we run into owls and hawks face to face! But I still like to lug the camera sometimes. Yesterday I put on my 500mm mirror lens. It’s a Tamron, and in its day was very expensive. I got it at a thrift shop for $65, which is not much. I regularly see photographers on out walks, carrying gigantic telephoto lenses mounted on tripods worth more than my camera. All for taking pictures of ducks? I don’t know what they do in truth, but as amazing as those lenses must be, I will probably never buy one. I’m more of an opportunist – I hope for good shots to present themselves randomly. As long as I have the camera at hand, turned on, and set to the right settings of course, then sometimes I get a lucky shot. This long lens is hard to hold steady, however – it probably requires a tripod but I’m too lazy to bother. My Pentax K50 has built in shake reduction, and with my shutter set to 1/1000 I shoot and hope for the best. Of course I also have to focus manually, which is the trickiest part. But here are a few shots. I have numbered them. It’s a quiz! Guess what they are. My answers are below.
Write down your answers – no cheating!
Put down that book!
One more to go, then all will be revealed…
OK, here are the answers:
1. Fuzz on a stick
2. Donatello and Raphael
3. Black footed log roller
4. Orca-like duck
5. Giant hummingbird
OK, who guessed right?
After my first adventure with Caffenol film developer I loaded one of my twin lens reflexes with a roll of film, that was best before 2007, trusting that it would still be good 7 years out of date. Here are some of the results, and I can report that it worked quite well indeed. I much prefer medium format when it comes to film. Of course I always did, but it was so expensive that I ceased doing it around the time I bought this film. I scanned this at 1200 dpi and the resolution is amazing. I once read that even if the lenses on medium format cameras never approached the resolving power of the best 35mm cameras, they still could outperform them due to the huge advantage of the large negatives.
These pics were shot recently, one at a British car rally, and one on a trip to Port Angeles. They seemed to go together. Ricohflex TLR camera, Fuji ACROS Neopan ASA 100, developed in Caffenol C-M for 12 minutes. Scanned on an Epson 2400 with a homemade 120 format cardboard mask.