Panagor


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.



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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.

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.
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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.
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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.
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Pick your own Strawberries – A favorite Maryland late Spring ritual, especially in Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll Counties. There are a number of fine orchards along Rte 27 and Rte 355, and fresh picked strawberries come into season June 1st – 25th every year. Then there are the cherries and blueberries, but that’s another post.

That’s my Sunny with the Strawberries. We went strawberry picking at the Rock Hill Orchard in Mt. Airy. It’s closer to Damascus though, just outside the Damascus town limits. It was a very hot day, very bright and hazy. I had carried my OM-1 along with the 90mm lens, and a polarizer. The polarizer saved the pictures from looking all washed out… it was that bright.

I really should get a hood for the 90mm. I love thar old Panagor lens, it was a real bargain… and besides being a fine portrait lens, it’s 1:1 macro. There’s something about the 75-90mm focal length range that I can’t pin down. but I love the perspective and definition that it offers.

Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy
Strawberry Picking, Mt. Airy

Photographed with an OM-1 with a Panagor 90mm f/2.8 Macro lens on Fuji 200 film. I used a Circular Polarizer. Exposure was 1/250 sec at f/11/span>


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Roses outside the Pizza Hut at the intersection of Darnestown Road (Rte 28) and Quince Orchard Road (Rte 124) in Gaithersburg, MD. I took these pictures on my way to work, the roses caught my eye, and I pulled up – the store was still closed since it was so early in the morning, but as I was composing, the manager came out and asked me to go ahead. I complimented him on the beautiful flowers, and immediately got to work. I used my trusty Olympus OM-1 with the Panagor 90mm lens. The Panagor is my go to Macro lens, since it has a 1:1 macro capability, but more often than not, I use it for general photography, especially when photographing flowers. For flowers, there is no better lens, it’s sharp, reproduces true color (no cool or warm effect) and with a polarizer in place, it’s perfect.


Roses
Roses
Roses

Photographed with an Olympus OM-1 and Panagor 90mm f/2.8 lens at 1/125 second and f/11 using a polarizer. I used Fuji Super HQ 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.
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More pictures that I clicked over the past couple of months in Carroll and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. I was out almost every weekend, and when possible, early in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings. The progression of plants coming into leaf or flower, breaking the dormancy of a long cold winter is truly a miracle. There’s no real theme here, just my own enjoyment of Spring reflected in these few pictures. The cameras and lenses I used are listed in the photo captions.


OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-2N, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Polarizer
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm

OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Polarizer
OM-2N, Panagor 90mm f/2.8
OM-2N, Panagor 90mm f/2.8
OM-2N, 50mm with Vivitar2x Macro Teleconverter
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
Minolta 800si, Phoenix 28-105mm
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm f/4
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm f/4
OM-1, Zuiko 200mm 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.
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