Late Sunday portrait

Zuleikha, just a few minutes ago during dinner:

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Zuleikha, August 2014

I removed the background I usually place at that door, since here I did want to see the reflection (of my studio strobe) on the glass. And perhaps with the exception of the door handle, it makes a nice frame for her in my opinion.

Thanks for viewing.

Young chili peppers

Mitchie has a couple of pots outside in which she’s growing chili peppers – the very hot sort from Thailand I think. And tho they’re still very young and tiny, definitely less than my own thumb size, I tried to take some photos of them since yesterday. First I took the “Pen” camera with the longest lens I have, the 40-150mm fully zoomed out (which is equivalent to a 300mm lens on 24x36mm film):

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Young chili peppers

And today I tried again with my 50mm macro lens on the DSLR (like 100mm, but a lot closer than yesterday):

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More young chili peppers 1/2

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More young chili peppers 2/2

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Young chili peppers, close-up

They’re moving a bit in the wind, so you really have to be patient and wait for the right moment if you don’t want to use a high ISO setting. Especially if you’re that close.

Thanks for viewing.

Workflow variations

Today I decided to live without autofocus. I started in the company in the morning, and I was particularly interested in how this manual focusing would work together with face- and/or even nearest eye detection.

Well, using face detection works pretty well. The camera recognizes the person in the photo, and if you have focus assist switched on, the image in the viewfinder will be zoomed in up to 14x as soon as you move the focus ring. It will jump back and show you the whole picture if you don’t turn it for a moment, or if you half-press the shutter. With real manual lenses you’ll have to zoom in yourself, otherwise it’s the same. Without face detection turned on, you’ll have to move the focus point yourself first – on my little “Pen” camera I could even do this with a tap onto its rear display.

So it’s pretty easy to focus on eye lashes for instance. This isn’t sharpened at all (I rarely do that since a while):

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Zuleikha, August 2014. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 at f/1.4, manually focused through the VF-2 viewfinder.

It’s fun to leave the automatics behind, and it makes you stop and think a little bit more before pressing that shutter.

Thanks for reading.

Some went missing…

This morning they took down several trees around the houses where we live. Now the view is like this:

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A missing tree. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5 lens.

And it used to be like this:

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An old friend. Olympus E-PL1 with Panasonic Lumix 20mm/1.7 lens.

It had to be. That tree was indeed old and bent over, and one of the next storms would probably have brought it down anyway. Plus – and that’s more important – it happened on demand of the fire fighters. That tree was blocking access to the house for their rescue ladder trucks, so it was a bit of a silly idea to plant a tree right there in the first place.

Still I miss it. The place and the sky simply look naked without it. It gave us a nice and cool shadow during the summers, and it was home and shelter for some doves’ nests as well.

Well – nothing is eternal, right? Still I feel a bit like Dogmatix (Idefix in German) whenever Obelix rips out one of those trees…

Thanks for reading.

Getting closer

We have thunderstorms since a few days, and rain. Which is good – the plants need it. Mitchie and Zuleikha went to the cinema, so what does a man do when left at home? Right. He starts dust-cleaning a bit ;-) :-P – and of course, playing around as well.

I mounted the Four Thirds Zuiko Digital 50mm macro lens onto my E-PL5 camera via an autofocus-capable adapter and first took a photo of a still uncleaned figure:

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Dusty “nubi”

Then I took off the front panel of one of the speakers to take a photo of its tweeter:

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Tweeter (of a Nubert model 381 loudspeaker)

And after cleaning that little guy a bit as well, I got real close. The closer you get, the more you have to stop down because your depth of field will become very thin. Thankfully, with a 50mm lens there’s still some room – but this is f/22:

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“nubi”

It’s about as close as I could get with my 1:2 macro lens. If you want to get closer, try the 35mm 1:1 macro from the Four Thirds series, or an older manual Olympus OM or any other manufacturer’s macro. There’s a 90mm/2 macro from the OM series which is possibly the best you can get, but these are over 1k€/$ even used, and they’re a bit hard to find. The best value should be the 35mm, or any used and manual 50mm macro (ours was about 120€ or so, not even a third of my also used autofocus lens).

Update, about three hours later:

I took a photo of that small guy again, this time with Mitchie’s old and manual OM Zuiko 50mm/3.5 macro lens, at f/11 (instead of f/22 with my own). If anything, it’s even a bit sharper, which it should be because diffraction won’t be as bad at f/11. Colours and contrast are a bit different, but it’s also because of the time of day – 16:30 and 19:30 means different light of course. So here’s the photo from a 120€ lens:

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“nubi” with a manual OM lens

At least as good as my ZD lens, which is great praise.

Thanks for reading.

Another useful tool…

… and another present from Mitchie (my wife), this time for what they call Eidul Fitri in Southern Malaysia, which means the end of Ramadan.

It has a counter weight:

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Boom stand detail: counter weight. Olympus E-PL5 with 45mm lens.

It has a pivot:

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Boom stand detail: pivot. Olympus E-PL5 with 45mm lens.

It is a boom stand!

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Boom stand, carrying my studio strobe and a 20″ beauty dish. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm lens.

Very useful, even essential if you want to achieve what they call ‘butterfly lighting’. I made use of it for the family photo session today already (tho not for ‘butterfly’). It’s a Chinese product, but it seems to be pretty sturdy, so I trust it enough to hang it right above my own head in our dining room. And as you can see, it doesn’t come with the usual sandbag but with a solid 4.5kg counter weight – so this is meant to be kept in “the studio” (read: our home).

So thanks again sayang!

And thanks to you all for reading.

Our little studio helper

While I was setting up the lights and background for today’s family photo session, Tuna helped me a lot. And she seemed to like the storm grey, so I had to take her photo of course:

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Tuna the studio cat 1/2. Olympus E-PL5 with 45mm lens, flash.

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Tuna the studio cat 2/2. Olympus E-PL5 with 45mm lens, flash.

Thanks for viewing.

Selamat Hari Raya

So – Ramadan is over, and if you’re interested you can read about it in Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Indonesia, Arab, or in English or even in German.

We’ll take some family photos for Mitchie to send home today, and to test my lighting setup I took a photo of some blueberry muffins which she and Zuleikha made yesterday:

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Blueberry muffins. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens at f/9. Flashes with beauty dish (main) and softbox (fill). Cropped 5:4 in post.

Thanks for viewing.