Lupin sketchy

Macro photography

I have had more than one person ask me about macro photography recently and today I had the opportunity to work with two very nice macro lenses along with my passable camera lenses.

Macro photography refers to images that are recorded at least 1/4 life size on the image sensor. This allows for standard 4x6 prints to be made that are life sized or larger. Some cameras and lenses will even specify the macro capabilities in a numeric fashion. The best lens I own for macro photography gets down to a 1:2 ratio which means that the thing I am taking a picture of is recorded on the image sensor I am using (in the old days this would have been film) at 50% of the real life size. Given the high density of pixels on modern image sensors this means the image can be enlarged up to several times life sized. I will discuss each lens I used for each of the pictures in testing Collapse )
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In the works

I have finished about half of the article on macro photography.  I should have it finished tomorrow night (that will be Monday morning for most of the people reading this).

Here is a teaser image that I shot today.
<a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="500" height="317" alt="Spiders" /></a>
Note the normal sized spider in the corner of the image waiting for leftovers.
My eye

Got some time on my hands.

Hey folks,

It's been a while since I have posted anything here and I'm curious if anyone is interested in learning more. High dynamic range photography (also known as HID photography) has captured my attention lately thanks to a cool program called Photomatix.  If anyone is curious to learn more I am happy to write up an article on how to use it with both point and shoot cameras and SLRs.

Another topic that seems to have captured attention lately is macro photography.  I don't haveany of the super cool macro lenses for my kit but I can still show you the basics as well as the advantages of different lens types.

I realize that all the pictures from previous classes are dead links.  I am willing to fix theseif anyone wants a review but I'm not going to do it unless someone speaks up.

I can also expand on any previous lesson that I've written or tackle a new subject if people want.  There are lots of people with shiny new cameras and I know from experience that having anassignment can really help when learning a particular feature.
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First off center submission.

Here is the first submission for the off center photo lesson and I am happy to say that this is exactly what I'm looking for. I also feel that the photographer made excellent use of tonal range with this black and white image. My only complaint is sharpness again. I would like to see just a bit more depth of field so that the entire part at the right is in focus while the rest of the image drifts out of focus. It is very hard to get enough control over depth of field to have a selected portion in focus while the rest is out of focus.

I can't wait to see what else people have to share.
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Off center photographs

Sorry this class is later arriving than I had originally intended. Between getting ready to move, going to parties and spending time with family and friends I have neglected this project of mine. Just as I am late with my postings, people are welcome to reply to my previous posts even though the deadline has long since past for both of my earlier classes.

This month I'm getting back to the basics of how to use your camera. One thing I've been seeing more and more of is out of focus pictures that don't need to be out of focus. I feel that it is important to understand how your autofocus system works and to play around with it a bit to get more comfortable using your camera.

The key thing to remember with autofocus cameras is that they need some form of contrast to focus on. This means that if you are trying to take a picture of something that has a long gradual colour shift on it your camera is not going to be able to detect any contrast and not have anything to focus on. In cases like that you will need to switch to manual focus and trust your own eyes.

The other big thing to remember is that most cameras only have autofocus sensors in the center of the image area. There are some SLRs out there that have some fancy selectable focus areas but it's important to make sure that your camera is focusing on what you want it to focus on. This brings us to the lesson in all of this. Most cameras (meaning any camera that cost more than $100) have something called focus lock. This means that you can press the shutter release halfway down and the camera will lock the focus distance and exposure settings on whatever you have in the middle of your viewing area. Once you have locked the focus you can reframe your image in the viewfinder the way you would like to see it.

Keep in mind that is how focus lock works for most cameras. Some cameras have the ability to switch between focus lock and continuous focussing which is handy if you are trying to take a picture of a moving subject (this sounds like a good subject for another class). If you have difficulty performing the following assignment you should check your camera user manual to see if you can change between focus lock and continuous focus. It shouldn't be too much of an issue and you can always feel free to contact me if you have questions about your particular camera.

This month's assignment is similar to the very first assignment in that I am looking for something specific to be in focus while the rest of the image is out of focus to some degree. This time I want the in focus portion of the image to be off center, showing that you had focused and reframed your image prior to snapping the picture. To keep things interesting I want the image to focus on a piece of modern technology. I'm sure that the people who are reading this shouldn't have any trouble finding subject matter.

Submissions, as always, should be sent to and may be in any image format. This time, people are welcome to adjust any image settings prior to submission but no cropping. I will do the adjustments to the image for you if you would like but I think that some people have begun to understand some of the adjustments I've been making and want to give them the chance to do it for themselves.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

No deadlines this month. I am going to be offline for a few days while we are moving from Hamilton to Waterloo. I expect to be in a position to write another class mid-November (maybe the beginning of December) and future classes should be on a monthly basis from then on. If anyone has any subject matter they would like me to cover here or even just have discussions of how a certain photograph was created then feel free to chat away. I find that I get some of my best ideas after someone asks a question.
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Class photos round 2

I realize this last lesson was pretty hard and I'm happy with the entries I received.
Sorry for the delay in getting these posted but I've been busy buying a house and playing with my other hobbies.
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A late arrival

It's a good thing I'm on vacation this week and have the time to take late submissions to this class. That means anyone who went away to Pennsic still has time to crank out a photo and submit it. The rough draft of the next class is already done and will be posted before I head to the races at the end of the week.

First... the image

The concepts of this class are certainly met with the shallow depth of field and the hands... it's even a pretty fun image. My first request is that people not use any flash until it is asked for in an assignment. Flash can have a big impact on the image and leave people wondering what happened. As it is, with this image you can see how it made the hands a bit brighter than the rest of the subject and it happens to work ok at bringing attention to the centre. I would have also liked to see a bit more depth of field in this image... let's say from the knuckles to the end of the banana would have been nice.

Behind the cut you can see I did a few basic tweaks to this image including a little tighter crop, small levels adjustment, a bit of colour adjustment and finally an increase to the saturation to make the banana and fingernails pop.
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Class photo 4

Here is the final submission to arrive before the deadline.

This image has very strong content because it is very clear what the photographer is focusing on (even if it is a bit out of focus due to the subject moving during the exposure). The hands can be made out in the background as well.

For adjustments to this photo after the fact I would leave the levels alone with this one because there is a nice highlight on the barrel tip that keeps the eyes focused on that point. I would crop it a bit tighter though. There is a lot of extra background information that is not necessary to have in the image.

This image is getting a quick review because I have to head to work now.
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Class photo 3

And here is the third submission for the assignment.

From a technical standpoint this image also meets the criteria of shallow depth of field. I find it interesting that the only sharp part of the image is the reflection of the hand while the rest of the image is out of focus. I am happy that the point of critical sharpness is in the middle of the image with objects closer to the lens and further away from the lens both going out of focus. I would like to see more of the image in focus rather than having to hunt for the sharp focal point.

As with the previous image, I do find this image to be a bit underexposed and want to make a basic adjustment using the levels command to make it Collapse )