Summer


Sauter’s Delight is a farm located just outside of Westminster, MD on Old Bachman’s Valley Road. It’s very picturesque, and I have photographed it several times. Also, since it’s easily accessible, because it’s easy to park by the roadside without having traffic whizzing past all the time. These were taken over the course of the year, from Late Winter through Early Summer to Late Summer with different cameras, lenses and film using the Sunny 16 rule.


Late Winter, OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8
Late Winter, OM-1, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8
Early Summer, OM-2, Vivitar 24mm f/2.8
Early Summer, OM-2, Sigma 35-105 (60mm)
Late Summer, OM-2, Zuiko 200 f/4
Late Summer, OM-2, Zuiko 200 f/4

Photographed with an OM-1 and OM-2 Camera, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Sigma 35-105mm, Zuiko 200mm f/4 and Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 lenses on Fuji 200 and Fuji 400 film. Exposures ranged from 1/500 at f/16 to 1/250 at f/8


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

Advertisements

I finally got this great old camera cleaned up and replaced the seals. I loaded it up with 100 speed film and went shooting. I even did some low light photography with the superfast 50mm f/1.4 lens opened up to f/2. The TL-Super is one of the under-appreciated classics, in my opinion. (Matt Denton thinks very highly of it too, so I am in good company).

This was a pre-Contax collaboration era genuine Yashica design with a M42 screw mount, and like all Yashicas, had lenses designed by Tomioka. At this point in time, (1966) Tominon was not yet a part of Yashica, and although they made all the Yashica lenses, Tomioka was still designing and manufacturing lenses on contract for others.

Tomioka was absorbed into Yashica in 1968, right before the Yashica-Zeiss partnering on the Contax. They changed everything, except the quality. They dropped the M42 mount and designed the C/Y mount. But this post is about the TL-Super, not Contax, so…

My TL-Super has a dead meter – I think there’s a bit of gunk stuck in there somewhere gumming up the works and until I work up enough courage to take the top off, I’ll have to manage using the Sunny 16 rule. The battery isn’t a problem, though – easily available SR44 1.5V alkaline – one the first cameras to use this now common battery. Considering that this camera is from April 1966, that’s surprising since everyone used mercury batteries back then.

Here’s a mix of shots under different lighting conditions around Montogomery County MD. I desaturated the pictures from the park (sunny at the Xylophone) because they were taken in very low light conditions, and I liked the black and white effect better than the dull grays in color.

I as particularly pleased with the pictures I took at Great falls, with the Kayaker battling the current – I watched him try several times, get close, and then lose to the river. The Potomoc is practically running dry by late summer, all rocks and hardly any water falls – but still beautiful.


Great Falls
Great Falls
Sunny
Sunny

River
River
River
Great Falls
Great Falls
Canal Boat – Charles Mercer
Canal Boat – Charles Mercer
Canal Boat – Charles Mercer
Canal Boat – Charles Mercer
Canal Boat – Charles Mercer
Sunny by the Canal
Sunny – very close, aperture wide open. Bokeh

Neighborhood Pond
Neighborhood Pond
Sunny – Germantown Park
Sunny – Germantown Park
Sunny – Germantown Park

Photographed with an Yashica TL-Super, 50mm f/1.4 lens, Fujicolor 100, Polarizer in sunlight. Sunny f/16 rule, f/11 at 1/125, f/5.6 at 1/125sec. Last 3 photographs were at f/2 at 1/125


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

Mid summer is THE time for flowers – by this time, the colors of early Spring are long forgotten, gone are the flowering spring bulbs, the cherry and the peach blossoms. By late June and early July, the second wave of color manifests itself, with the annuals and summer perennials coming into bloom.

This is also the best time for wildflowers, and beautiful roadside displays in the countryside. Strictly speaking, these aren’t “native” wildflowers – but out in the country, there is always a kind soul that scatters seed along the grassy verges where they tend to naturalize over time.

I came upon this country home, with an extensive garden reaching out to the roadside.. flowers everywhere. So were the bees, drunk with the nectar. I pulled over and dragged out my trusty Minolta 800si. I had some 400 Speed film in there since I had been testing my Toyo 500, but the flowers were too beautiful to pass up the opportunity.

I used a Sigma 50mm Macro lens for the flowers and my trusty Phoenix 28-105mm general purpose zoom for the old barn next door. I would have preferred a slower film with the 50mm lens, perhaps a 200 ASA or even a 100 ASA, but since I was working with the 400 speed, I set the camera to aperture priority and stopped down to f/13 and used a polarizer to get the light down to a useable level and help with color saturation.

It was early afternoon, the time of day when the light is high and flat, and hardly any modeling. With a manual camera I’d have underexposed a little to be sure of retaining the subtle colors, but the Minolta Dynax 800si’s matrix metering is so accurate that I did not have to worry. Besides, Fuji Superia 400 is very forgiving and has a great deal of latitude, behaving splendidly in bright sunlight as well as shade.


Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 50mm f/2.8
Phoenix 28-105mm
Phoenix 28-105mm

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 1:1 macro and Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-f/3.6 lenses, Fuji Superia 400 film. I used a Polarizing filter.


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

I was in Boulder CO earlier this month (a work related visit), but I stayed in a hotel in Louisville CO, since it was much cheaper (and easier) to get a room, and besides, it’s only 10 minutes from Boulder. Louisville is a nice place, lots of places to get a decent meal.

I was exploring one evening and just driving along north from my hotel, when I stumbled upon this little gem of a recreation area. Davidson Mesa is an “open space” with minimal impact trails, and it’s the one place to get a clear view of the Front Range without any buildings and traffic getting in the way. It’s one heck of a resource for the good citizens of Louisville and surrounding areas.

For this trip, I had lugged my big Minolta Dynax 800si along with the Tamron 70-300mm and Phoenix 35-105mm, and for good measure, an old Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 (OM-Mount) with a OM-Maxxum adapter. The film was 400 and 200 speed Fuji film.

I’d have liked to have used higher resolution 100 speed film, but I had 2 zooms with me, and besides, the light in the foothills changes rapidly, and I wanted to have the additional latitude. On my last trip to Colorado last year, I had some 50speed slide film with me, and I was limited to using my 50mm f/1.7 since none of my other lenses were fast enough to handle the extra slow film.

I had the Tamron lens on the camera that evening and the Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 OM mount lens with a Bower adapter to fit it on the Minolta. I had included the zoom in my camera kit at the last minute, just in case I wanted to photograph some of the hard to access rocky crags along Boulder Creek. Normally one would not associate a long zoom with landscape photography, but the distance was just right to encompass the open space.

With ISO/ASA 400 film, the Tamron 70-300mm is great for portraits as well – just set to about 100mm and open to f/4 and you’ll get a couple of feet of depth of field, just enough for a person, throwing everything else pleasantly out of focus. I took a couple of pictures with the Vivitar 24mm as well, the Bower mount works like a charm. I just set the camera on manual and exposed at 1/500 sec at f/11.

I also wanted to get a soft and fuzzy view of the distant mountains, and emphasize the foreground and trail… there was also an interesting fence going off into the distance that I wanted to work into the composition somehow. For the soft shots, I used the camera on Portrait mode, hunkered down to minimize camera shake, picked the foreground subjects (rocks and grass) and shot.

There was a storm in the mountains that day, so the lighting near the Mesa was spectacular. The grass simply seemed to glow… modern film emulsions do a great job in capturing subtle colors, but some things are just too ethereal to capture. I did my best.

Here are the pictures from Davidson Mesa. The second picture is from another park right across the road from the Mesa parking area. It’s called Harper Lake.


Davidson Mesa
Harper Lake

Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa
Davidson Mesa – Vivitar 24mm f/2.8
Davidson Mesa – Vivitar 24mm f/2.8

These pictures were also taken near Louisville, from a lookout point on Rte 36

Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36
Rte 36

Photographed with a Minolta Dynax 800si, Tamron 70-300mm f/3.5-4.6, Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 with Fuji Superia 400 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

It’s been so hot and hazy all over Maryland, especially around DC – the humidity saps the strength, and the lighting just doesn’t inspire one to whip out the camera – I’ve been trying to shoot regularly though. I’ve been playing with an ancient Fujicarex II which I picked up recently on EBay in pristine condition in its original case, along with the instruction manual and – get this, 2 additional lenses. Turns out that this is one of the few cameras made with interchangeable front elements. I’ll have a post about this camera soon, just shot a roll of Fuji 100.

I feel guilty that I haven’t posted an entry to OlympusZuiko all of August – but I have been working on restructuring the site, adding a Macrophotography section and Classics section. The Macro section is to try and describe all the macro equipment that I seem to have picked up – from screw-in supplementary diopter lenses, extension tubes and macro lenses to bellows (with their neat dedicated bellows lenses).

In addition, I plan to have a subsection about special purpose cameras like the Honeywell Repronar 805/805A system with its modified early Pentax camera and the Yashica Dental Eye with it’s fixed 50mm ring flash macro lens. The Classic section will cover the few other cameras I have (this would be a good place for the Fujicarex) – the Yashica TL-Super, Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder and of course, this will be the new home for the Ricoh Cameras.

Fall will be a busy time for photography – the quality of the light at any time of day makes it especially attractive, and I plan to make the most of it. I’ve also been working on cleaning up and restoring ( as far as I can manage) the Pentax Honeywell Repronar camera. I should be able to use it for macro pictures in a couple more days, as soon as I figure out how to stabilize the camera and bellows without the Repronar base.


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

I was away in Bloomington for the July 4th weekend – I had taken a couple of cameras with me, and an assortment of lenses – it was generally too hot and hazy for photography, except in the very early morning and late evening. Besides, I had decided to work on the garden cleanup that I was never able to do in Spring.

I had an “accidental” Olympus OM-10 which I recently acquired (I bought it because I was more interested in the lens it was attached to – a Komine made Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 1:1 macro).

Anyway, I wasn’t particularly interested in the OM-10, since all my other Olympus cameras are the single digit professional series machines. I was pleasantly surprised at the rugged build of the camera, it was in pretty good condition externally, although this camera needed a thorough cleaning and replacement of the light trap seals, a replacement battery cover etc. As usual, John Goodman’s light trap seal kit came in handy – he’s an awesome resource for the amateur camera restoration enthusiast.

I was able to make the fixes in Bloomington and shot a roll of film to see what the OM-10 is capable of. I thought it would be a good time to use my Olympus Winder 2, since I hadn’t used it in a while.

The OM-10 is an aperture priority camera with no manual shutter setting, which is not a problem at all – manual settings need the OM-10 manual adapter, occasionally available on Ebay, but not really needed. All one has to do is set a particular aperture (and focus, of course) and the camera takes care of the shutter speed. The shutter setting is indicated in the viewfinder LED. I recommend opening up the lens aperture to maintain a shutter speed range of 1/125 for a 50mm lens and 1/250 for a short zoom.

Here are the pictures with the OM-10 (with Winder) with a Sigma 35-105mm lens. My little Sunny at the water playground in McGraw Park.

McGraw Park
McGraw Park
McGraw Park
McGraw Park
McGraw Park
McGraw Park
McGraw Park

Garden
Garden
Sandy Sandy

Photographed with an Olympus OM-10, Sigma 35-105mm f/3.5-5.6 Fujicolor Superia 400 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

Hyperfocal distance focusing (also known as Universal Focus) is that distance setting which maximizes the depth of field for a selected aperture. To understand what this means, we should define some terminology first – critical focus and circles of confusion. Bear with me here… although we can jump to setting and really using the hyperfocal distance setting, it would be good to understand the basic principles.

When a normal helicoid design lens is focused, there are no abrupt steps – rather, it is a continuum where the subject image being focused starts off blurred, and as the focus ring is rotated, the image slowly becomes clearer and clearer until it reaches the point of maximum clarity, and then, if the photographer continues to rotate the focus ring, the clarity begins diminishing slowly until the it becomes blurry and unfocused again.

In this continuum, the point of maximum clarity is the point of “critical focus”. On either side of this point of critical focus there is a region of “acceptable clarity” where the image appears reasonably sharp to the eye. This portion of the focus continuum where the image is acceptably sharp is the “Depth of Focus” for that lens.

If we imagine the continuum as a series of circles that reduce in size, at the point of critical focus, the circle is smallest and the image is sharp and clearly defined, as we move away from the critical focus, the circles slowly become larger, until the subject becomes blurry and then totally undefined. At that point, the circle is the largest. The correct name for these circles is “circles of confusion”. Years ago, manufacturers provided the minimum circle of confusion data for their lenses – for example 0.03mm etc.

Normally when we focus, we point the camera lens at a subject and rotate the lens focusing ring until the object is in critical focus. We are now guaranteed that the subject is now clearly defined, but what of the surroundings? Depending on the aperture setting, have differing depths of field. When we wish to focus at an object at a distance, we rotate the lens to the ∞ setting. Again, our depth of field is determined by the aperture setting.

If we choose a small aperture – f/16 or f/22, we are assured that we have a large depth of field, but a lot of the depth of field may be used inefficiently. We need to remember that the DOF is distributed unequally. 1/3 of the DOF is in FRONT of the subject, and 2/3 of the DOF is BEHIND the subject. If we are focusing on a subject at infinity – only 1/3 of the depth of field is really utilized, since everything behind the subject is already in focus by virtue of the ∞ setting.

What we can do to optimize depth of field is to set the critical focus at a point in FRONT of the subject, such that the subject is close to the far end of the depth of field. In short, we position the subject such that the maximum depth of field occurs in front of the subject, and a small portion occurs behind the subject. If we ensure that the infinity setting occurs just behind the subject, then every thing beyond that will ALSO be in focus.

If all this isn’t enough to digest, we also have to remember that distance to infinity (∞) for each lens varies – for a wide angle lens, ∞ setting could be just beyond 6 feet, and for a long focus lens, infinity settings could occur hundreds of feet away.

So much for theory. So how is this useful? Where can we use this?

As an example, let us assume that for a particular lens, the ∞ setting is around 30 feet, and we are focusing at a subject at just 30 feet away. If the lens is rotated to the infinity setting, the subject is clearly in focus, and we go ahead and take the shot without a second thought. Let us also assume that the possible DOF for this lens is 24 feet. From the previous discussion, we know that 1/3 of the DOF (8 feet) is in front of the subject. The 2/3 remaining DOF (16 feet) is unused, since everything beyond 30 feet is in focus anyway.

In the above shot, everything from 22 feet onwards will be in focus, but everything else between the photographer and 22 feet will be blurred. If we had set the lens at it’s hyperfocal distance instead of at ∞, the depth of field would have been fully utilized, with everything from 6 feet in front of the photographer to infinity being clearly in focus. What a difference!

In the above example, suppose we had been photographing a street scene. Or perhaps we were out trying to photograph a bunch of kids playing a pick-up neighborhood basketball game. Trying to critically focus on a particular subject would end up wasting a lot of time, and lots of blurry photographs. Street photography has to be quick, and opportunistic, and thus is a perfect application of hyperfocal distance setting.

Combine this with the Sunny f/16 rule, and we could just concentrate on the action, without worrying about metering, lighting, foregrounds, backgrounds, or what’s in focus and what isn’t. Every shot will be clear and in focus.

Despite all the mind-numbing theory we just covered, in actual practice, using hyperfocal distance couldn’t be easier. We just have to remember a couple of things — It’s best when used with a moderate wide-angle or normal lens (28mm, 35mm, 50mm etc). 24mm lenses have a very short ∞ setting anyway. Be sure to pick a lens that has a depth of field scale marked on it. Most of the older lenses have them. Modern AF lenses don’t generally have DOF markings, but there are calculation tables available. They’re cumbersome and not intuitive, but hey, it’s better than nothing. Here is a link.

The following steps assume that we are using a manual focus SLR like an Olympus OM-1, a Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 lens and 200 ASA film. It’s a sunny day, and we are out photographing a noisy and colorful summer street festival. Since it’s bright and sunny, let’s go one step further and use the Sunny f/16 rule as well.

Step #1 — Since it’s a sunny day, and we are using 200 ASA film, we will set the aperture on the Zuiko at f/16 and the shutter speed at 1/250 (sunny f/16 rule for a bright day with clearly defined shadows).
Step #2 — Once we have selected the aperture, everything falls into place. The same steps will be followed if we were selecting f/22 or f/11 or whatever.
Step #3 — Rotate the focus ring until the infinity ∞ mark is at the f/16 mark on the DOF scale. The distance indicated at the red index mark (5 meters about 15 feet) is the hyperfocal distance at this aperture.
Step #4 — Look at the distance indicated at the f/16 mark on the other side of the DOF scale – this is half the hyperfocal distance ( 2.5 meters or about 8 feet). At this setting, everything between the distances indicated between the f/16 index marks on the DOF scale will be in focus ie, between 8 feet and ∞.

The photographs will clarify the above….

Lens focused at ∞
Lens focused at 3m
Lens at hyperfocal distance 5m (DOF ranges from 2.5m
to ∞ and thus encompasses both 3m and ∞ in
previous examples)

Thus we can be assured that everything on the street from 8 feet onwards (about ½ a parking space length) will be in focus, and we can be free to enjoy the action without fiddling around with the focus ring. Remember that filters will require additional aperture compensation when using the Sunny f/16 rule. If we are using a polarizer, the setting should be f/8 or set the shutter speed to 1/125 sec.

As far as lenses go, I have written this with the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 prime lens as an example, but the best part is, any decently built normal or moderate wide angle will work as well as a hyperfocal distance lens – Zuiko, Vivitar, Kiron, Quantaray, Panagor, Sigma, Soligor, Albinar, whatever… just as long as it has a depth of field scale and can be stopped down to at least f/16. A short zoom can be used as well, if it has a depth of field scale. You’ll find it’s far easier with a prime lens.

If we choose not to use the Sunny f/16 rule, it’s even easier, since the camera’s TTL meter will compensate for the filters and indicate the correct shutter speed. Just set the aperture at f/16, and then follow steps #3 and #4. We simply adjust the shutter speed to what the meter advises, stand back to ½ the indicated hyperfocal distance point (8 feet) and shoot.

The same thing applies if we are using an OM-2. OM-PC or other camera that has an Auto setting. Set the aperture at f/16 or f/11. Rotate the focus ring as described in step #3 and let the camera set the correct shutter speed, stand back, and shoot. The hyperfocal distance will change for the larger apertures (f/11 and f/8) so we may not have as great a depth of field as at f/16. If you have to use filters, then shift to a 35mm or 28mm lens, for the greatest depth of field at the wider apertures needed.

Let the Summer street festivals begin!


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 »