Sunday, November 29, 2009

the process of shooting macro

Getting photographs of tiny things can be difficult. Especially if you are trying to blow them up really large to the point where they are completely out of proportion. I have a film camera setup that can do a reasonably good job of getting close to objects and capture them well.

2009-11-26 10.07.00 shooting a fly with an elephant gun

Here is my Mamiya RZ67 with an extension tube on the front, and a 65mm lens mounted on that. I was trying to get as close as possible to the berries that are almost touching the lens, so I extended the focus bellows to their maximum and then moved the camera in to find the point where I was closest and in focus. I have a fine thread plate that moves the camera very precisely and allow me to carefully move the focal plane. Here is a Polaroid of the photo that you see me taking above:

091126_04 the hunted

It is a little dark, I have to admit. With the berries so close to the lens, there is very little light on the lens side. I shot these with B&W film as well, I will add that to this post when I get it developed.

Here is a tiny flower that I captured the same way:

I will post the film shots of this as well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Polaroid: The New Digital?

I have shot film my whole life, Black & White and Color, both. Even wen I was developing my own B&W film and doing my own enlargements, I would be frustrated by the time lag between 'The Shot' and the finished vision. Digital photography is great for the feedback, but there are great limitations on the creative aspect of shooting images in the camera...I cannot do multiple exposures on one frame without adding files together in my computer, the texture and feel of a shot doesn't always carry across to digital - at least that is my excuse. A few weeks ago, I landed a Polaroid back for my medium format camera. I suddenly have the instant feedback about a shot using film that I have been missing. Each of the finished photos is a work of art on its own, and then there is the chemical negative. Here is a tree that I shot with Polaroid, lying on my back pointing up at the sky:


and here is the chemical negative that peeled from the photo:

091012_3 I'm positive this is a negative

I was going to follow these shots (I took a number of them with slightly different settings and framing) with a film shot for enlargement, but the light suddenly changed and I was forced to move on. The point is that I have a way of composing and testing a shot, and even using the original Polaroid as a gift.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Problems with Plastic?

I have been using the same Holga 120N plastic toy camera for a few months. It is held together with duct tape, the lens is scratched up and I can't find the lens cap. I have many interesting photos, some of which are posted here, all of which are posted here:

One morning during my ride to work, the church near Arlington Center was lit up with the pink and yellow sunrise. I shot this photo:

I finished the roll and wound it off, opened the back and found that the film was not packed very well. I spun the roll in my fingers, working out the slack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two views of the world

On Wednesday morning the 14th of October, I was enjoying the last sunny autumn morning for a while - according to the weather forecast. I captured some beautiful colors and reflections; the sun had broken over the low growing shrubs and trees and I was hidden behind some tall ones. To the South, I noticed a grouping of trees that were bare, making some wonderful textures against the clear sky. I started framing a shot, and on the East edge, the sun was making the bottom corner of the frame glow with morning sun. I shot with color film:

091013_2_09 Dancing Trees

I considered the shot as Black and White as well:

091014_1_10 Dancing Trees

The shots are very similar: the birds are in almost the same place in both, they held still while I changed film, the sun hadn't moved much, I didn't take the time to change settings, my feeling was to use average light metering to capture the detail of teh dark areas while possibly losing the clarity of the lightest areas.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I enjoy the process with a medium format film camera. There is a fair amount of thinking to do, setting up and tweaking of settings and adjustments. Digital is nice too, you have the instant feedback of your work right on the back of the camera. Sometimes, though, David can fell Goliath. Yesterday morning during my ride to work, I rode past a pond where I have shot some nice photos:


Nice tones and clarity, composition that is interesting if a little disjointed. I spent some time thinking and planning this one. And then yesterday, I rode past and the light looked good. Stopped quickly and ran down a path to the water. I took this quickly and ran back to the bike and off to work. No fuss no muss.

091007_1_12 Morning Autumn Light

What am I thinking?

The project with my Holga started as a way to express the frantic pace of bicycling in traffic, and some of the early shots that I have taken express that effectively. I set a rule for myself that I could only shoot while moving; this worked well at guiding the images in a focused way but I soon was duplicating images. I have since opened that rule and I will stop and shoot if I see something interesting and with the fall colors:


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Autumn in New England

It is almost as easy as pointing and shooting. Film still rules the day for me.