Photo Friday: Macro Shot

2008-09-04 at 20-07-59

We took this immediately after getting our 105mm macro lens. This, if memory serves was more than just the lens itself. We did put in a couple of extension tubes, as well as an inverted 50mm in order to really bring in the focus point. The pineapple is so close, that you can see how poorly we cleaned it. The snapshot above doesn't really do it justice, if you look at an untouched crop of the original you can see some ugly nasty detail.

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Focus Stacking Pioneer SE-L 40

SE-L 40

My brother produced this pair of Pioneer headphones, while he was looking for a soldering iron.  Our current 'get the GPS working again' state of mind was not congruent with my desire to photograph the set, so I asked if I could borrow them for a couple of days.  After we finished getting the GPS running, Christmas happened, and the SE-L 40's sat atop the refrigerator, thankful to be out of the shop.

On the last day of 2009, I managed to return to the headphones.  Using black fabric as a backdrop, I maneuvered my tripod and camera to a composition that I was happy with.  I put an extension ring between my camera and the telephoto lens, ensuring that I would be able to focus on something that close to the camera.  Then came the boring part.

On manual exposure and white balance, I painstakingly moved the focus ring through ten different positions, sat and waited until the camera wasn't shaking and then triggered the camera using my cable release.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Patience is only needed when trying to steady the camera.  A lens that long will magnify any shake in the camera.  Furthermore having an abusively large camera on the end of a stick doesn't help all that much either.

The reasoning for my madness is to defeat depth of field and produce the image I wanted.  At 200mm focusing 30-40cm in front of the camera means that your focal plane is thin.  In practice, when I was focusing on the tip of the plug, where it morphs into fabric wrapped wire started to show some comfortable bokeh.  Sharpness at the front of the image resulted in a unrecognizable, out of focus, blob at the back.

With my sequence of focus planes, I used a focus stacking software to sandwich all the images into a final image.  Focus stacking software detects the sharp portions of each image to use in the final output.  I used a program called Helicon, although if you are looking for some other Focus Stacking software there are more to choose from.  Technically the image is 'rendered', and not really a 'photograph'.  Although I don't see much difference between using one algorithm to sandwich focal planes together versus using another to sharpen all the edges within a photograph.  Is one photography while the other isn't?

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Photo Friday: Extreme Closeup

Mysteries inside Fruit

I've been unusually busy recently. So busy in fact that I didn't even get a chance to look at the Photo Friday website until Monday. The challenge excited me, as the recent aquisistion of a 105 Macro meant that I would have some fresh photos to use for the challenge.

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Photo Friday: The Ordinary

2008-09-04 at 20-40-46

Photo Friday's challenge this week is The Ordinary. Luckily we just finished some Macro work with fruits. Here's a kiwi, stupidly close.

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Super Macro

2008-09-04 at 21-08-24

Ever since my business partner defected from the forces of evil to join the righteous side of the fight we've looked forward to pooling the company's funds towards a lens that we could both use. Today, we broke the seal and purchased a new piece of glass.

We picked up the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. That hodgepodge of letters and numbers all add up to one thing: Awesome. Obviously, Nikon has expanded their Japanese plant to extract Awesomeness from the source and distill it into easy to purchase units. The photo above is not a crop, it is the full frame image, and a version exists that is so large and sharp you can make out the dust on my sensor. I giggle whenever I think that this picture can be printed 2 feet across and still resolve better than 150 dpi.

Of course we didn't stick to using just the lens. The photo above also utilized a 1.7 teleconverter, which pushed our reproduction ratio well past 1:1. To end the night we reverse mounted a 50mm lens, and filled the entire frame of the D3, with less than 8mm of a tape measure. That means with the ridiculous setup, we are projecting the image 4.5 times bigger than it is in real life.

This flickr set is where I've put some the the results of our experimentation and where I will continue to add new miracles when they are found.

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