Saturday, February 24, 2007

In my previous post I said I might post a picture from Lexington Reservoir. Well, I actually decided to put that picture in my California Gallery on PBase, so instead I have a different landscape shot for today. This was again taken with the IR camera yesterday. I think the clouds look simply unreal and though the photo lacks any real foreground element (the tree isn't as prominent as I would have liked it and this was on 'protected land' so I couldn't move up closer), I still find something about it interesting. What do you guys think?

Technical Specs: Canon Rebel XT IR, 17-40 @ 24mm, f/8, 1/640s, ISO 200.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lets get back to more IR fun :) This is a quick shot from the front of the house this morning. I left just a little bit of color in the bushes. I have a small gallery of IR shots on Picasa (something I'm still working on) as well, including some I took on a hike last weekend.

I went out to the Lexington reservoir today and took a couple of quick shots there as well. Maybe I'll post one of those tomorrow.

Technical Specs: Canon Rebel XT IR, Canon 15mm fisheye, f/8, 1/400s, ISO 100.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lets take a break from the IR images for a day. Today I received the first piece of what will eventually become the lighting rig in my improvised home studio. I got the first of two Canon 580ex flashes, and wouldn't you know it, the day I get the first one, Canon announces the release of the 580EX II. Anyway, regardless, I am extremely pleased with the performance of the flash. I am now waiting for the second unit, the ST-E2 wireless trigger, the lighting stands and the umbrella. Once I get all my lighting gear together I should be able to do some interesting still life (as well as portraits and macro).

I took this image with the new flash and also spent some time in Photoshop applying some of the retouching people do for glamour shots. I need to learn more about glamour retouching...

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 85 f/1.2 II, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 100.

Monday, February 19, 2007

People in IR

Edward asked for more IR pictures and since I'm inclined to oblige, we have today's picture. Actually I shot this several days ago, but, meh, who's really counting.

People have a very interesting appearance in infrared. The fine structure of the skin is lost, meaning that wrinkles, pores and other skin imperfections disappear (along with moles and other surface blemishes). The only downside is the rather eerie and freaky appearance of the eyes.

I think that if you can shoot people while avoiding directly shooting the eyes there is certainly potential for interesting an B&W by shooting IR.

As time permits I'll keep experimenting with more IR. This was shot with the built-in flash on the Rebel XT. Many light sources emit IR, with the exception of fluorescent lighting.

Technical Specs: Canon Rebel XT IR, 10-22@22mm, f/4.5, 1/25s, ISO 200, flash fired.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Don't really have much to say today. Umm... here's a picture. Took it a couple of days ago in the backyard.

Technical Specs: Canon Rebel XT IR, 10-22@13mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 100.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The camera Uwe bought

For the past month or so, I've been planning on getting an infrared camera (actually I had wanted one since the last time I had fun with IR). I managed to score a deal on a 30D and was fully set to get it converted for IR-only. The dilemma I had was deciding who to get to do the conversion. There are several companies out there offer this service, MaxMax and LifePixel to name two. My main reasons for getting dedicated IR was so that the autofocus would function and also for the faster shutter times so that I can hand-hold.

The reason autofocus gets affected is because lenses focus light at a different focal point in IR than in the visible range. Thus if you focus in the visible range, you'll be slightly front focused in IR. LifePixel claims their calibrate the camera you send them so that it focuses properly with the Canon 50mm @ f/2.8, but for other lenses you may need to stop down so that you have sufficient depth of field that your object of interest is in focus. MaxMax however claims (well it is a little vague on their site) that they can calibrate the camera such that it will autofocus properly with any lens (except the 10-22 which requires you to specially the calibrate the camera for use with that lens). I still wanted verification on this so I emailed the folks at MaxMax. While I was still thinking about this, I had the opportunity to buy a Rebel XT that had already been converted by MaxMax. Since going this route would save me a lot of money I went for it. It turns out this camera was the one Uwe Steinmueller bought and wrote about here, he eventually sold it when he got his 5D converted for IR.

I've been playing with it for the last day and so far the autofocusing hasn't disappointed (though it was off with the 85L @ f/2 but that might just have been my handholding with the narrow DOF). Even the 10-22 I have seems to focus well. There's a lot of experimentation I'd like to do, but I'm really looking forward to taking the camera to Death Valley later this year in April.

Technical Specs: Canon Rebel XT IR-only, 10-22@10mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 200.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


We've been working on getting gas inserts into the fireplaces since we first moved in. For this fireplace we wanted to get a sealed gas insert. It turns out that because of the design of the fireplace (i.e. note the lack of a uniformly flat surface due to the bricks on the side) an insert wouldn't be possible unless the bricks on the side were removed. After going back and forth for a while, we just decided to demolish everything and rebuild the surround and mantle ourselves.

I was curious to see how long it would take our handy-man to bring down the whole thing. He managed to do everything and clean up the subsequent mess in under 2 hours!

Now you can see what is left behind. It wasn't until the old brick work was demolished did I realize just how much of a eye-sore it was and how much I disliked it. Now comes the interesting part of designing the new fireplace. The gas insert was ordered yesterday but it'll probably be another month before it comes in and they can come install it.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 35mm f/1.4

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birds in the Backyard

The weather here today pretty terrible (well its better than it being -20 with 2 ft. of snow) so here is something I took about a week ago.

There are two large trees in our backyard and last weekend there were a lot of birds flying all over stopping to perch on these trees. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics. This is one, here is another.

5 points if you can identify the species, 10 if you identify both. :)

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4x TC, f/8 @ 1/250s, ISO 800.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shooting really small things

A few weeks before Christmas, we got a lens in our lab for which there is no equal from any other manufacturer (to my knowledge anyway). I speak of course of the Canon 65mm MPE, a manual focus macro lens that is capable of magnification up to 5x life size (in comparison my 100mm macro lens is capable of 1x life size). As no one was using the lens, I took the opportunity to play with it last night.

Macro photography is hard, and its only harder when you trying to do something at 5x magnification. The issue is mostly that your depth of field is so shallow (i.e. <1mm) that its impossible to focus. I had to play around for quite a while to get it right, and the low light of the kitchen wasn't a help either.

I think that if I want to do any serious macro photography, I'll have to invest in a macro light as well as a macro slide rail. I did manage to take an abstract involving rice on a Teflon pan.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, MPE 65mm, 90s @ f/11, ISO 100, ~4x magnification.