Tag Archives: Macro

2544 – Closer Than Most

Today’s three images were taken with my single least-used lens, the Olympus 60/2.8 macro.

It’s not a bad lens, not at all, it’s only that macro photography is not my forté. By all means, I really should sell this lens, pass it on to someone with a passion for macro photography, but then, I always had at least one macro lens, and sometimes they come handy.

The Image of the Day is of a wet cobweb on a fence, the water drops are on a leaf below the fence, and the third image shows the scene from a normal perspective.

The Song of the Day is “Closer Than Most” from the 2000 Beautiful South album “Painting It Red”. Hear it on YouTube.

1780 – I’m Just a Jitterbug

Today I’ve used the D300. It is in Carinthia now, with only some of my lenses so far, but I will keep it here and gradually carry my lenses to Carinthia as well.

Today I have mounted the Sigma 150/2.8, one of my rarely used lenses (but the only macro here in Carinthia), and although I’ve made some better images (technically in any case), I somehow like this critter. I was photographing some transformers through the fence of a power plant when I saw the bug crawling into my direction. It was big, at least 2 cm, and it was fast. I tried a few shots and only this one was even slightly usable. I had panned the camera and in a way the image retains the feeling of speed.

The Song of the Day is “I’m Just a Jitterbug”, a recording from 1938, featuring Chick Webb and the young Ella Fitzgerald. Enjoy it on YouTube.

1310 – Muddy Water

Muddy? Not in this image, no. We had rain in Carinthia this Saturday, but it was completely harmless. Not so in Vienna though. Just look at this video from Thursday afternoon.

At the time I’ve been at home, only about 10 minutes from there. Of course I live at about the highest part of the district and this is the lowest, where the waters from 7th and 8th district flow together.

On Thursday afternoon the rain was as intense as I’ve ever seen, and normally this does not last longer than ten, maybe fifteen minutes, but this time it went on for almost an hour. I had no idea of the extent though until I saw this video. Here’s another one.

The Song of the Day is “Muddy Water” from Madeleine Peyroux’s 1996 album “Dreamland”. Wonderful rendition, unfortunately it is not available on YouTube. I can give you Bessie Smith instead. Different but not bad 🙂

1050 – Same Old Thing

This is just more of the same, but really, I like it 🙂

Today I returned to the place with the cables and the dragonflies. They seem to love the heat, and they seem to be pretty unimpressed by photographers and big macro lenses.

I could have gone on for hours, but in the end there are only so many perspectives that you can use, and some of them are impossible for me without being able to fly myself.

It’s really interesting: macro photography is so much fun with this lens, it completely crosses my original plan of abusing it as a street lens. I’m stubborn though 🙂

The images were all taken with the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro and post-processing is about the same as in “1048 – A Clown With A Funny Nose“: local contrast enhancements of the sharp parts with Topaz Detail and Topaz Adjust, taking the presets that match best, Hue/Saturation layers in various blending modes to push saturation without burning out color channels, sometimes a vignette, basically that’s it.

The Song of the Day is “Same Old Thing” by The Streets. I have it on their 2002 album “Original Pirate Material”, an album that I got from Michael as a birthday present. Hear it on YouTube.

1048 – A Clown With A Funny Nose

Sorry for the delay. I had some technical problems and it took me a while to get connected to the Internet again, yes, to even get my images off the memory card. Hmm … a digital camera without a card reader or a USB cable is pretty useless, but so is a film camera without a lab 🙂

Interestingly enough, using the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro I am much more prone to actually make macro images than with the 70/2.8. Must be the increased working distance. There were lots of dragonflies on a cable, baking in the sun, and I saw some people taking images with compact cameras, but when they came too much into the comfort zone of the insects, they normally flew away. No problem with the 150 though.

The Song of the Day is “Bravo Pour le Clown!” by Edith Piaf. I have it on a collection that is not available any more, but almost any collection will do, for example “The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf”. Hear it on YouTube.

1045 – Misty Mountains

As promised, here are two more images for today, like the birds of the last post taken with the Sigma 150/2.8 Macro.

The first shows a wasp struggling to get out of a spider’s net. Cruel things happen around us all the time, most of them going unnoticed. And even if, a wasp is dangerous, just look at the colors. Our compassion is only for the furry, cuddly animals with big eyes.

In case you’re interested: this ended 1:0 for the wasp. It finally got free.

The other image is more like what I was looking for in this early morning after a rainy evening. I set out so early, because I hoped to get scenes just like this: mountains shrouded by wind-torn mist.

Just like yesterday’s image (which actually also was from today), this is a rather brutal re-mapping of tones, certainly much more dramatic than it was in reality. While yesterday’s challenge was to isolate the birds, today I wanted a certain balance between the cliff in the foreground and the bright spot in the sky.

The Song of the Day is “Misty Mountain Hop“, originally from the 1971 album “Led Zeppelin IV”. I have it on the 4 CD collection “Led Zeppelin Remasters”. Hear it on YouTube.

916 – If I Were A Bell

I have not used a long lens in quite some time now, and the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro not since September 25, 2008. Wow, that’s half a year!

For me the joy of using such a lens comes from the endless variety of things that it allows me to see. I can go very near as in this flower macro (and these are really, really tiny flowers), semi-near as in the Image of the Day, or I can use the same lens to record a street scene. Completely different worlds, all in one lens.

In fact, going to work took me much longer today. I took many more images (OK, I threw many more away as well), and I had a hard time stopping being immersed in photography and instead go working.

I seriously consider using this as my SoFoBoMo lens, or if not shooting all images with this particular lens, at least adhering to that style of changing between different worlds. Two other lenses that work particularly well in that regard are the Sigma 50/1.4 and the Sigma 20/1.8, the former for its creamy bokeh wide open, and the latter for its macro capabilities. All three lenses are particularly well suited to dreaming the urban dream.

“Urban Dreams”. I have used that title for my exhibition last year, and I am extremely tempted to use “Urban Dreams II” as title of this year’s SoFoBoMo book. Does that sound good? Well, to me it sound so good that I’ve just committed to the title and created my book page on the SoFoBoMo site.

In a way that will be easy, because it leaves me great flexibility. Dreaming of the City! That can be everything, can it? On the other hand, it is challenging as well, because this is not the jumble of a daily photoblog, this is the linearity, the cohesion and the order of a book. In any case this is very different from last year’s project, images of one afternoon’s walk through the canyon “Tscheppaschlucht” in Carinthia.

There the whole structure was given through the temporal order, and the only thing that I had to do, was post-processing the images to a consistent style.

Anyway, we can’t always do the same thing. Let’s see how it turns out this year.

As to the Song of the Day, it’s “If I Were A Bell” from “Guys and Dolls”. I have at least two versions of it, Ella’s is fantastic, but today we take Holly Cole on her 1992 album “Blame It on My Youth”. Thankfully her songs begin to appear on YouTube. Here is this one.

709 – When The Leaves Come Falling Down

This is the third Image of the Day that I post today, I’m on the train to Vienna again and have finally caught up. Sunday. I did not do an awful lot besides working on images and writing blog entries.

I had wanted to go swiming once again, but when I finally could rouse myself to even consider going out, it was already 4pm, not really sunny any more, and it already began to get cooler. I decided to stay home.

Earlier that day, while having breakfast on the terrace, I had seen an interesting leaf, thus I mounted the Sigma 70/2.8 and tried four different arrangements of leaves, flowers and an apple. These are the two that I liked most.

The Song of the Day is “When The Leaves Come Falling Down” from Van Morrison’s 1999 album “Back on Top“. See him perform live on YouTube.

653 – Too Marvelous for Words

Schmetterling, farfalla, mariposa, papillon, butterfly, … It’s interesting, in different languages some things have completely different names, just as if these languages did not have common roots. Butterflies are one of them.

The Nikon 85/1.8 is not exactly a macro lens and these images are cropped, but at least it is sharp and focuses precisely. I saw the two butterflies this afternoon in a forest, on my way to the lake. It took me 40 images and some patience to come up with these.

The Song of the Day is the Johnny Mercer standard “Too Marvelous for Words“, this time sung, yes, sung indeed, by Oscar Peterson on his 1952 album “Romance (The Vocal Styling of Oscar Peterson)“. Very recommendable, sometimes hard to get, at the moment a tad expensive, even if you get it used. Of course there’s no video of Oscar singing, but I can recommend Ella instead 🙂

648 – Inbetweenies

Do you know that feeling? That feeling when it is time for a new toy? Yesterday I have hinted at something and today’s image was made with a new Sigma 28/1.8. You know my images made with its wider sibling, the 20/1.8, and this one has the same amazing near-focusing capability.

Unfortunately not all was wine and roses. Wide open, at low light, I found it’s contrast severely lacking. I mean, I expected it, but not to this extend. In this regard the 20/1.8 fares better.

I originally bought this lens as a wide-but-not-so-wide street lens with macro capabilities. Being able to focus near, is one of the two things that I miss with my Sigma 30/1.4. The other thing is bokeh. What the 30/1.4 does to off-center out-of-focus point lights, can be more than harsh. On the other hand, contrast of the 30/1.4 is fantastic, even wide open. I may come back to the idea and get the Nikon 35/2.0 at some later time. This time I have traded the Sigma 28/1.8 in for a completely different lens 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Inbetweenies” by Ian Dury & The Blockheads. The compilation that I have is not readily available any more, I suggest you get “Reasons to Be Cheerful: The Very Best of Ian Dury & the Blockheads“. Hear a sound sample from some live concert on YouTube.