Kino Precision


Early January isn’t the best time for macro-photography – the usual subjects, flowers, insects, ferns, lichens, mosses are mostly absent and there isn’t much greenery anywhere. There’s usually a lot of bright winter sunshine in Maryland around this time, even if there isn’t much snow. It’s cold, and that adds to the challenge. Bright colors are conspicuous by their absence… one has to be imaginative, and look for interesting patterns, textures etc that might be good macro subjects.

Indoor macro-photography is another matter altogether, there’s a wealth of interesting subject matter around the house to photograph – coins, food, grains, spices, toys, gadgets, fabrics, clothing details, you name it…. However, indoor macrophotography has another problem – that of lighting. It’s hard to get enough lighting for hand-held macro photographs, unless a Flash unit is utilized. For the most part, shooting near a sunny window takes care of the lighting issue. Here are some pictures that I took of everyday objects – shoe brush bristles, fruit, a crossword puzzle, brooms etc.


Shoe brush bristles
Crossword Puzzle
Orange
Orange
Broom
Broom

A note about camera care – Using any camera outdoors when it is cold requires a bit of care, but digital cameras need some extra precautions… handling the little buttons is a little more difficult since numb fingers lose their dexterity. Make sure you have the camera strap securely around the neck to ensure against dropping the camera. If that’s not convenient, wrap the strap around the wrist a couple of times.

Keep the camera dry, and warm as possible. Keep it close to the body, covered with a jacket when you’re not shooting. Batteries don’t like cold conditions, and who knows what the cold does to the electronic innards? Most cameras have an “operating” temperature range specified, but I always take that with a grain of salt. Better to exercise extra care than to be sorry. Moreover, when going back inside from very cold conditions, make sure you put the camera and lens inside a large zip-lock bag so that moisture does not condense on the camera. Keep it in the bag until it reaches room temperature – at least ½ hour, if not more.

The Sony Alpha 700 has environmental sealing, but it’s not weather-proof. The seals can only prevent accidental entry of dust, sand and moisture, but I don’t think ANY camera is designed for prolonged use in adverse conditions (maybe they make special cameras to MIL specifications for the armed forces, but I haven’t come across any yet).

Enough digression – Anyway, here I was, out in the backyard, looking for interesting things to photograph… it was late afternoon, and the winter sun was already low in the sky – the light was yellowish-white and the shadows were getting longer by the minute. Here are some of the objects I found around the yard… leaves, bark, mulch, some green shoots on potted plants etc.


Tender leaves
Jasmine tendril
Blue Atlas Pine
Cedar Pine
Decayed mulch
Lichen on Dogwood
Electric Meter
Electric Meter
Leaf at Sunset
Leaf, in shade

I used the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro lens… it’s one of my favorites, I love it as much as I love my Panagor 90mm f/2.8 (that’s another superb 1:1 macro lens by Kino Precision. I can mount it on the Sony Alpha 700 with the Bower Minolta AF-Olympus OM adapter).

The Sigma 50mm is a true macro lens, and it goes up to a 1:1 magnification. The Sony A700’s crop factor of 1.5x gives the Sigma an apparent 75mm focal length, allowing it to be used from further away. This additional stand-off distance can be an advantage when it’s not possible to get too close to the subject for whatever reason… especially if they are skittish bugs…

Which brings us to this little fellow – this tree shield (stink) bug somehow made its way into the house and was wandering around. My daughter Sunayana found it and convinced her cousin Vasudev to capture it for her. We took a few pictures of the critter before letting it loose outside in the late afternoon when it was a little warmer.

I looked him up on the ‘What’s that Bug?’ site and on the Bug Guide. It’s a Stink Bug, belonging to the order Hemiptera, family Pentatomidae, and genus Euschistus. Pretty complicated name for a little bug. It’s common to see stink bugs during the summer months when there is plenty of greenery around to feed on, but what was it doing running around in mid-winter? I used the Sigma 50mm for this as well. Here are the pictures of him on the kitchen counter, and later on the deck railing. I took the last picture as he was scuttling away to find a corner.


Shield Bug
Shield Bug
Shield Bug
Shield Bug
Shield Bug
Shield Bug

Photographed with a Sony Alpha 700 dSLR and a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens.



Creative Commons License
olympus/zuiko by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.text and images © 2008 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. thank you for visiting olympus/zuiko.

Fall comes pretty late to Montgomery County. The colors just seemed to peak just last week, a full 3 weeks after most of the Northeast had their glorious blazes. But then, we don’t have that many Maples here -just enough to set them off against the yellows and brown-golds and greens. We have lots of Sycamores, Pin and White Oak, Birches and Yellow Poplar that seem to hold on to their green a lot longer. Even now, there are a lot of trees that are still predominantly green, just starting to go yellow and red

These pictures were all taken around Gaithersburg, Rockville and Germantown. The woods around Robertson Park and Morris Park are especially beautiful this week. I was out these past 2 weekends with a few cameras. These pictures were all taken with my OM-2n. I used the Tokina RMC 70-210 f/3.5 and the Vivitar SERIES ONE 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom lens

If the Tokina RMC 70-210mm Zoom appears to have the same specifications as the Vivitar SERIES ONE, it’s because they share the same design genes. Lens enthusiasts and fans of the Vivitar Series One lenses will recall that Vivitar had several versions of the Series One 70-210mm. Their first one was the Kino Precision made 70-210m lens (serial number 22xxxxx) that was built like a tank. Weighed 2 lbs and has a 67mm front element. The second version of the lens was made for Vivitar by Tokina (serial number 37xxxxx).

The Tokina made lens was smaller and lighter than the Kino version – just as sharp, and with a constant f/3.5 aperture like its predecessor, but with a 62mm front element. Vivitar went through their lens manufacturers real quickly in those days…. they then turned to Komine to produce the third version (Serial number 28xxxxx) and dropped Tokina. Tokina then produced the lens under its own name, the Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5 (with their special multicoated lens) which I was lucky enough to get my hands on. It’s a very beautiful lens, silky smooth operation and a pleasure to use.

On a side note: You’d think that Vivitar would have stayed with Komine, since the 3rd version of the 70-210mm Series One is considered by many to to be superior to the previous two – it had a f/2.8-4 aperture instead of the fixed f/3.5 but weighed as much as the Kino version (860gms) in spite of the smaller 62mm front element. Vivitar went on to make a 4th and 5th version of the Series One 70-210mm, turning to Cosina for the manufacture. Alas, the quality just wasn’t the same. If you’re in the market, I’d suggest that you look for the Kino, Tokina and Komine versions and give the Cosina versions a pass.

I love the older version Kino made Vivitar Series One, but it’s a bear to carry and I can barely hand-hold it. Besides, it looks disproportionately large on the small frame of my OM SLR bodies. I always worry about damage to the mount with such a big lens. I can see how why the later versions (especially the 2nd and 3rd versions made by Tokina and Komine) became so popular – they were smaller, even though they weighed just as much. The Tokina version weighs 790gms. Still very heavy by modern standards. Hey, it has 14 elements in 10 groups.

Check out Mark Roberts’ photography website for a comparison of the different Vivitar Series One 70-210mm lenses. He prefers the Komine Version (#3) but I think the Tokina has better contrast. The Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, however does not have a Macro mode like it’s Vivitar Series One counterparts.


Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Photographed with an OM2n, Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5 with Fuji Superia 200 film. I used a polarizer in the sunlight. The exposures in low light were at 1/125 sec at f/5.6


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

That’s my nephew Vasu – a real milk lover. I was cleaning my Olympus OM 2n, wiping it down after a hike when spotted him sitting at the dining table with a glass and gallon of milk. He didn’t notice I was photographing him until the last shot, when he caught me out of the corner of his eye. Natural light imparts a certain undefinable quality to pictures thats almost impossible to duplicate. These were in color, but I desaturated them since I liked the black and white effect much better with the milk theme.


Got Milk?
Got Milk?
Got Milk?

Photographed with an OM 2n and Panagor 90mm f/2.8 1/250 sec at f/5.6 on Fuji Superia 200 film


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Just a few macro shots I took a few weeks ago in an open field close to my workplace. I walked out into the field during my lunch break, when the sun was right overhead.
Normally, it’s usually the worst time of the day to take pictures since the light is bright and flat, with no shadows to provide relief or modeling of the subject.. on the other hand, mid-day light is usually good for macro photography since one doesn’t have to worry about shading the subject with the lens when really up close, and since it’s so bright, it’s possible to stop down quite a bit in to achieve some depth of field.
I was using the OM-1 with the Kino Precision made Panagor 90mm f/2.8, possibly the best choice of macro lens for photographing flowers and flying insects.

Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet
Macro Panagor 90mm at 9 inches
Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet
Macro Panagor 90mm at 9 inches
Macro Panagor 90mm: Thistle close-up
Macro Panagor 90mm at about 3 feet

Photographed with an OM-1, and Panagor 90mm f/2.8, with Fuji Super HQ 200 film. I used a polarizer. Exposure was at 1/250 at f/11 at about 8 inches distance


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

As far as fireworks, I had stupidly forgotten to take my Tripod along – I usually have it in my car, but we were using the old minivan for the long 15 hour trip from Maryland to Illinois, so I was only able to shoot handheld. I used the OM-10 with the Olympus Winder 2 connected. The lens was a Panagor 90mm f/2.8 lens

When we reached Miller Park in Bloomington, and finally located ourselves, I realized almost immediately that a 90mm was the wrong lens. I had picked the lens since I had figured that we’d be pretty far away from the fireworks, and the medium telephoto would pull the image in closer.

Boy, was I wrong – The fireworks at Miller park were shot from across the small lake, and the viewing area was directly across from the firing area, which means that the fireworks were almost directly overhead… really!. A Zuiko wideangle such as 28mm f/3.5 or 35mm f/2.8 or even my regular “normal” 50mm f/1/8 lens would have probably been better. Oh, well. Next time I’ll remember the Tripod.


Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
L
Fireworks
Fireworks

Photographed with an OM-10, Panagor 90mm f/2.8 and Fuji Superia 400 film. 1/2 sec at f/4


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Assateague Island is on Maryland’s Eastern shore, on the Atlantic Ocean – just a few miles south of Ocean City, but what a difference. There is none of the hustle and bustle of the hotels and tourist industry, instead, just a peaceful nature preserve, with pristine white sand beaches, very family friendly – and above all, there is peace and quiet.Of course, I didn’t go alone… the whole family was there, and the kids had a great time in spite of the wind and cold water.

One of the unique features of Assateague Island (and believe me, this IS unique – is the population of wild horses. Yes, genuine horses in the wild. Of course, they are correctly termed as “feral” horses, animals that were once domesticated, but which have escaped and bred in the wild over the past few hundred years.

The official record has it that these horses are descendants of domestic animals that Eastern Maryland farmers permitted to graze on the island. They apparently avoided the mainland taxes on the horses, and saved the expense of fencing them in. After all, where would they go on an Island that is little more than a sand bank?

I like to think that perhaps they were survivors from a shipwreck that made it to shore? Or even more intriguing, perhaps they were the property of pirates and salvagers that made their home on that narrow barrier island. I prefer this explanation for the horses on the island rather than the prosaic one of avoiding taxes. The horses are very handsome beasts – they are skittish of course, and it’s best not to get too close, since they can bite and kick, causing serious injury.

I observed tourists feeding and trying to approach the animals in spite of the many warnings and threats of citations and fines. People just don’t appreciate how dangerous a 2000 lb beast can be. Still, the horses frequent the grassy verge by the roads and can be spotted all over. The herd on the Maryland side of the island is estimated at about 300 beasts. The Virginia end is also a National Seashore preserve, with approximately the same number of animals.

The whole place has a magical quality to it… the clean beaches, the wildness of the Atlantic in Spring, when the water is still very cold, the horses, the twisted trees and shrubs that are hardy enough to survive the rugged conditions, and of course, the calmness of the Bay side of the island, the warm sun – all make for a perfect day trip.

The facilities on the island are primitive, but sufficient. It’s best to pack lots of cold drinks and a substantial picnic lunch. And a couple of folding chairs to lounge in. It’s also very windy in the Spring, so a windcheater type jacket is a good idea. I tried to fly my big box kite, but the wind was so strong that the line almost sliced my fingers.

I had taken my Minolta with a Phoenix 28-105mm and a Tamron 70-300mm lens, and an Olympus OM-2n with a Kiron 28-210mm super zoom – the famous cult classic lens. I had also lugged along my Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 preset lens, but did not get an occasion to use it. I had taken the zooms and the long telephoto in case I could not get near enough to get good pictures of the wild horses, but the horses were right by the roadside.


Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Fuji Superia 400 film, Circular polarizer 1/350 sec at f/13

Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses
Wild Horses

Photographed with a Olympus OM-2n, Kiron 28-210mm lens, Fuji Super HQ 200 film, Circular polarizer 1/125 sec at f/11


The Beach has to be seen to be believed. In late Spring, it’s still cold and windy, so there aren’t many people around. Lots of surf fishermen though, trying for Bluefin and Sea Bass. That changes around Memorial Day and then the beach is packed all through Summer until Fall. I prefer the peace and quiet of the off-season, so our next trip will probably be late September or early October.

Dunes
Dunes
Surf Fishing
South Beach
North Beach

Photographed with a Olympus OM-2n, Kiron 28-210mm lens, Fuji Super HQ 200 film, Circular polarizer 1/125 sec at f/11

North Beach
North Beach
Bay Side, near Verrazano Bridge
Bay side, near Verrazano bridge

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Fuji Superia 400 film, Circular polarizer 1/350 sec at f/13



Creative Commons License
olympus/zuiko by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. thank you for visiting olympus/zuiko.

This was a chance find… Rte 407 is in Carroll County, and connects Rte 27 to I-270.. for the most part, it runs through a quiet rural community, mostly farmland and dairy farms. I came upon this old abandoned gas station, with its vivid colors, and HAD to stop. I had my OM-1n with me, with the Vivitar 28-85mm “Stovepipe” lens. This particular Vivitar was made by Kino Precision, and has a bit of history about it. It’s a beautiful lens… fast and sharp.

Gas Station #1
Gas Station #2

Photographed with a Olympus OM-1n, Vivitar 28-85mm f/2.8-3.5 lens and Fuji 200 HQ Super film


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Next Page »