Saturday, 13 October 2012

Thinking Outside the Boxes

During the last few weeks I have been given a number of Brownie Box Cameras all by different people. Receiving a gift albeit a camera that you won't run a film through, is always special. I already had a few from my father and these little boxes just seemed to be asking to be stacked. I had spent a number of hours trying to get into the strobist thing with homemade aluminium arms for reflectors and playing with the Nikon SB800 flash with some older Sb26's. I had some problems with the SB26's interfering with the exposure using the SB800 in remote CLS mode even though I had them both on delayed slave triggering. Some reading to do but was rather fun experimenting with the flashes.

Looking at the Box cameras each has it's own distinct personality. Most have a comical Mickey Mouse look and some are rather battered. All have a story to tell and some I am sure have seen and recorded some wonderful scenes and family memories whilst others would rather forget some images they were forced to capture. I can just imagine the tales that are exchanged in that cupboard at night when the lights are turned off. Would you like to have travelled the world and bare the scars of your journeys or would you like to have been stuck in a Box only to be sold later in mint condition? Somehow in Life we fortunately have the choice to decide which Box or Bed we choose to remain or lie in!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

There is More, So Much More

This Abandoned Home was shown to me by my daughter in Harrismith recently. It's doors were wide open and we wondered who lived in this beautiful home with it's delicate choice of colours. As yet I don't have a wide angle for my Nikon D600 other than a manual focus 24mm f2.8 but on this particular day I was travelling light and had the 35mm f1.8 DX lens with me. We were rather pressed for time so I used the 35mm lens and I did some spraying and praying to be stitched later - bokeh panorama or the Brenizer technique style. Below is a single frame taken with the 35mm DX lens which does reveal vignetting even though using the new Adobe Camera Raw 7.2 with a high +75 vignetting removal setting was applied. After downsizing 32 images the Spherical photomerge option in Photoshop CS6 gave me the best result and the curved lines don't bother me too much and I actually prefer this look. There were some fixes to be made where some joins had jagged lines and I have found the free transform tool in warp mode most useful. Some adjustments were made to lighten the distant doorway and darken the entrance hall while some Nik Color Efex filters were used too. The final image that was created would be the equivalent of a 17mm F1.2 view calculated using Brett Maxwell's calculator. The 35mm DX worked admirably in this situation and as for now it will remain in the kit bag despite it's vignetting shortcomings.

I would be honest in saying that I did not pre-visualise this image other than that the arch with it's pastel hues caught my attention. Whilst working on the image the distant doorway and the light in the other room kept drawing my eye. What started out as a quick trip to a neighbouring town to fetch my daughter from school turned out to be a most pleasant surprise on so many levels. We had a great time together and as for me I just realised there truly is more and so much more waiting out there for us. There are so many new thresholds waiting to be crossed and so many rooms full of treasures waiting to be explored.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A Walk in the Park

It was late Sunday afternoon and the low light was particularly beautiful. The perfect opportunity to try out the new Nikon D600 with Nikkor 85mm f1,8 lens. This magnificent oak tree with brilliant backlighting caught my eye and I was keen to use the bokeh panorama or Brenizer Technique. This technique is usually done taking numerous photographs (35 in this tree's case) using a fast normal or short telephoto lens wide open which then gets stitched together in any panoramic software creating the look of a wideangle with a very shallow depth of field. This is a look that cannot be photographed conventionally as such superfast wideangle lenses don't exist.

As I approached the tree there were two young girls playing nearby and I was so keen to photograph them however nowadays one has to be so careful as one's intentions can so easily be misconstrued. Then the younger girl shouted "photo, photo!" and I gladly obliged. She was so full of life and only when I photographed her did I see her squint however in no way did that rob her of any confidence.

 She said her name was Believe and then she boldly asked if she could take my photograph. I was taken by surprise but then hastily put the camera on Auto and showed her where to press. The camera was too heavy and her little fingers struggled but after a few blurry shots suddenly there I was in focus and off she ran. Strangely in that brief interlude and reversal of roles something shifted inside and the sweet innocence of a child rubbed off. So spontaneous and carefree and with her name Believe it was rather a little taste of Heaven! The new Nikon and lens is such a great combination and hits the sweet spot for me but this little unexpected encounter was priceless and yes Believe it or not, anyone can take a photograph!