December Azalea

_IGP8430Stuck inside since Thanksgiving with a bug, I needed some outside time today. Of course it was damp, grey and chilly.  The good news was, a few steps from our front door are some Encore Azaleas that survived my planting. They bloom in spring and fall and the color is welcome on a dull December 1st.

Soft diffuse light from an overcast sky doesn’t lend itself to vibrant color or contrast.  It’s simple to change that with a hand held flash.

I put my camera on a tripod and composed and focused the image.  The lens was an old manual focus 50mm stopped down to f8. It has a MFD (minimum focus distance) of about 18 inches. Adding a 1.5x Teleconvertor made the focal length 75mm without changing the MFD.  It let me fill most of the frame with a single blossom.

Shutter speed was 1/160 for flash sync and ISO to 100.  The exposure would be black except for flash contribution.  A wireless trigger in the camera hot shoe let me hand hold the flash, move around and change the light direction.

The camera was set for 2 second delay which in my case also activates Mirror Lock Up.  When I push the shutter on my wired remote, the mirror is locked in the up position and the shutter opens two seconds later to allow vibration form the mirror action to settle out.  Tripod, not touching the camera, mirror lockup – all contribute to making the camera as stable as possible for the sharpest possible image.

I wrapped a snoot around the flash to control light spill and set it to half power.  A few exposures showed me I need to drop the power to about 1/16th.

Gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Pentax M 50 1.7 lens,  Kenko 1.5x TC, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head and Vello Wired Remote, Yongnou RF-603NII Wireless Trigger and 560III Flash

Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro

Three Roses

On a morning walk after an overnight rain, I found these next to neighborhood mailboxes.

A gray, over cast day with its soft, diffuse light makes an easy exposure.  My eight year old Tamron 28-75/2.8 lens lets me focus as close as 12″.  That’s 12″ to the film plane or sensor in the camera.  At that distance, wide open at f2.8  and zoomed out to 75mm. a Depth of Field Calculator said my DoF was .05″. At 16″, it was .1″ DoF.  I believe that because I had to back up a little, it was very thin to hand hold.

My intent was to just get an edge or a hint of focused color and rain and let the background go soft with high contrast, to isolate the single blossom from the background. The mulch & mailbox posts share none of the elegance of the roses.

These are really a sketchpad, serendipity.  More carefully made versions would involve a tripod, remote release and Mirror Lock Up with a multi second delay.  And maybe some lighting. This is the large news print pad, Conte crayon version but that’s where you learn to draw.

All images are top lit with soft diffuse light, low key and high contrast.   001 28-75 4768

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