Projects

Well it’s been a long while since I’ve written on this blog and we now find ourselves in interesting times. Passing time during this lockdown has been interesting as a photographer. While I still have the daily exercise of dog walking, I find myself getting bored of photographing the same plants on the same walks. Probably need to try some different walks!

Still, there are photos to be made and I will find them. Here are a few, taken recently.

The next thing to say is that my darkroom is out of order. Lots of the blackout material had gone mouldy. Irritating job, at the worst of times, but I stripped it back and hundreds of woodlice fell on my units. Not so good. The wood behind the blackout material had gone a bit soggy too, so that needs treating. I’ll get around to it eventually, but for now, no lith printing.

Anyway, I decided to take on a few photographic projects to pass the time. One thing I’ve been interested in for a while is cyanotypes (which is where the term blueprint comes from). I decided to get some Part A and Part B, as well as the book “Blueprint to cyanotypes: Exploring a historical alternative photographic process”. The video that inspired me to do this, and which made me want to try wet cyanotypes is this one on youtube and I think it’s an interesting starting place to see how the process works.

I also ordered some pre-coated paper from silverprint, but have yet to use it, as I found the wet processes so intriguing. It’s a bit “trying to run before you can walk”! I would highly recommend trying cyanotypes, with the pre-coated or wet method. It’s fun and quite cool to see the colour change, both when exposing it in the sun and in the wash. Then as you look at it over several days, it dries down to an even richer blue.

These are my three cyanotypes, so far:

So. That’s one project. The other is the Lomomod no 1, make your own camera kit from lomography. Now I’ll be honest. I thought this would be a quick project. Snap a few things together and you’ve got a camera. Nope!

I’ve so far made the back of the camera. It took about an hour and a half. It was very much a Zen like process and as they describe in the accompanying booklets, it’s based on joints rather than using glue or whatever. Very interesting. Assembling the back taught me several things. One, double check the images, because I put one of the main parts on upside down. Two, believe it when they suggest using a little sandpaper when joints don’t just click in. I broke a piece, which thankfully had a spare… which I also broke. But it’s OK, the spare had a spare too!

So yeah, lots to keep me occupied! Hope all who read this can find ways of keeping their creative juices flowing during this strange time. I’ll finish on a photo of our lad, just because 🙂 Taken with a Lensbaby Composer Pro II and Edge 35 Optic.

Embracing the Bokeh

So as I said in my previous post, I was going to start playing with my lensbaby and adapters on the Z6. Well I have been. At present, my sweet 35 optic eludes me, so I’ve been using my sweet 50. The sweet 50 is a bit broken, in that the f/stops won’t click into place so it’s more of a continuous scale and is a bit loose. That said, it still works! So here are a couple of images, from the past few days. All taken with the Z6, FTZ adapter and Lensbaby Composer.

Z6…

….or how I learned to stop worrying and love mirrorless, full-frame cameras.

A Kniphofia, found on a dog walk. Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 S

So, I’ve been using my Nikon Z6 for a couple of months now and it’s a fun camera to use. It’s also quiet, and has an even quieter silent mode if you need it. You can even use your DX lenses with it, you just need the FTZ adapter and need to be happy with your full-frame sensor acting as a crop sensor.

What I believe to be a buddleja, surrounded by succulents. Petzval 55mm MKII

That said, even the 24-70mm f/4 S kit lense is nice, with crisp focus and not bad bokeh. As I’ve been posting of late, I’ve been using the Petzval 55 MKII lense quite a lot, at the expense of the kit lense. But no more. I’m using them both now and enjoying them equally.

Lots of little black berries. Petzval 55mm MKII

As for the performance of the camera itself, the extra megapixels are nice and the camera itself is easy to use. I do occasionally change a setting without realizing it, or changing it and then not knowing how to change it back! This is however solved by a trip to the hefty manual.

A Euphorbia. Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 S

As always, I will keep experimenting with this camera and I’ll start using the FTZ adapter with my currently abandoned lensbaby optics!

Up Close and Petzval-y

So, I said previously that I’d experiment with using extension tubes with the Petzval 55 MK II lense. I was slightly disappointed to find that the swirling bokeh associated with this lense is mostly lost in macro. That said, the bokeh itself is so soft and silky, irrespective of swirl and that it’s a joy to use. Even shooting at f/1.7, in macro, there’s a nice crispness to the areas that are in focus.

While it may not always be my first stop for macro work, it’ll definitely be in my arsenal for the future!

A succulent, my first experiment with extension tubes on the Petzval lense
Another succulent.
A Euphorbia
My Haworthia, covered in spider webs.
A slightly more abstract shot of my Haworthia, again with spider webs on it.
d20. Taken for macro Monday on flickr, for the theme of red.

Petzval, Petzval and more Petzval

So, I’m really loving this Petzval lense. The more I use it, the more I get a feel for it. It’s barely left my camera. Just a few more shots from the past few days. I’ll be looking to try the lense with some extension tubes in the next day or two, to see how it performs.

My wife and our spaniel. I was really enamoured of the bokeh I got on the sweeping tree branches.
I liked the way this leaf stood out against the background and the petzval lense gave it some extra interest with the swirlyness.
I wasn’t sure if I liked this image to start off with, but it has grown on me. The focus is in just the right place, I think.
A Peony that’s died back. Again, loving the bokeh.

Getting a bit Petzval

So I spent out on a new lense, the Petzval 55mm f/1.7 MK II from lomogrpahy. I have to say, it’s a beautiful lense, which gives interesting, swirling bokeh effects and is a nice prime lense too. The way it renders colours is interesting, giving a distinct look. You can turn the bokeh effect down, but why you’d do this I don’t know!

Here are a few shots I’ve captured with it over the past few days.

Swirly Quince
Purple Berries
Sleepy Spaniel
MODS

Back in the saddle again…

So, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. I hit a bit of a rut and wasn’t taking many photos. Even now, I’ve not been in my darkroom for ages. But still, I’ve finally started taking more photos and I’ve started another 365 project, which is pushing me a bit. It turns out I was missing the need to take photos every day. It gets the old creative juices flowing!

Skimia Japonica
Primrose Flower
Some berries, sliced with the Edge 35 Optic.
The centre of a gerbera
A slice of autumn, with the Edge 35 Optic.
A glowing rose
The stigma of a hemerocallis, or day lilly.
And finally, a hairy little spider.