Lucas Test Shot

This capture of Lucas the Spider (one of my favorite plushies) was done with the Nikon D800E and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 Skopar at f/8. I did some light processing with DXO Photolab 7.

This little Lucas the Spider plushie is a favorite test subject for lenses. If I shoot at night, then I have some light sources in the background and I can get a sense for how the out of focus areas are represented by the lens.

I shot this with my Nikon D800E (ancient at this time) and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 APO-Skopar lens I bought earlier this year. I really prefer legacy glass to modern glass for the older lenses’ character, including their flaws. They often render more interesting images in everything from color, to sharpness (or lack thereof), to background blur (bokeh in photo parlance). Their optical imperfections produce interesting effects that I often like.

The Voigtlander lenses are proving quite interesting and have a modern adaptation. They have a microchip interface to the digital cameras (my Nikons) that enables the camera’s CPU to read the lens settings and incorporate that data into exposure control and fill in the EXIF data in the image file.

I like the Voigtlander lenses enough that I think I will add to my collection of them. I suspect they will become commonly used on my Nikon film bodies.

Daily Image: Lichen and Stob 18 July 2024

A bit of lichen and the stob of a branch. Shot with Fufifilm X-T5 and Voigtlander 27mm f/2 at f/4.

I am enjoying the little Voigtlander 27mm f/2 Ultron for the Fuji X-Mount cameras quite a lot lately. I decided to take a break from the legacy glass and the Sony A7Sii and shoot my Fujifilm cameras a bit.

I like the Voigtlander 27mm for a number of reasons. It has a chip and so communicates its settings to the camera. That means that the EXIF data is populated and the camera can use the information to adjust exposure as needed. Yes, it adjusts exposure without these data, but with them the camera can do more.

Do not ask me how. It is magic.

That said, the Ultron optical formula does not produce the clinically (near) perfect images of computer designed glass. The images from the Voigtlander have some character to them. They are not always perfect at the edges and corners. They have interesting bokeh (out of focus areas). They produce good colors and are plenty sharp enough.

I have been playing with images of the lichen that grows on the Ponderosa Pines in the national forest. I should probably back off the exposure in the subject image just a bit as the stob seems almost blown out. But I like the image anyway and it was slightly adjusted in DXO PhotoLab 7.

The Girl and I enjoyed the hike yesterday. It was a good day. Life is good.

Daily Image: On the Trail 19 June 2024

The well-worn trail from the sand pit to Mexican Ditch at Silver Saddle Ranch. Fujifilm X-T1, Fujinon 35mm f/2 at f/8. Raw image converted to Acros film simulation in-camera. Straight out of camera.

We hiked out at Silver Saddle Ranch the last few days. It is closer to the house and the weather has been cooler, so Sera does not get too hot. I am on the watch for snakes and keep her close in. There is also the chance of encountering another canine and she can be reactive (depending on the other dog).

On this particular hike, I carried the Fuji X-T1 (my first Fujifilm camera) with the little Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens. It is from Fuji’s compact lens series, which remind me of the old film rangefinder camera lenses. The rangefinder cameras and their lenses tended to be compact (and good). There was also less of a range of focal lengths for those cameras because of the limitations of the rangefinder focusing system.

But, I digress. I do like to talk about equipment.

I struggled to keep my attention focused on my space. My mind wandered in every direction, that barking dog or chattering monkey figuratively trailing me on the trail. It took effort to reign in my wandery mind and focus on my Girl and our hike. The camera I brought to help me with that did not help. I struggled to find a subject to capture or a place to pose The Girl so I could make an image.

I elected to carry the old X-T1 because it is small and the 35mm lens offers a different look at things than the 23mm of the X100V. I thought about tossing another lens into the bag before we left the house, but elected to keep the kit small. A recent goal is to keep things as simple as practical because of my propensity for making things overly complicated.

Aside: As I write this early Wednesday morning, Sera just wandered in to my workroom to check on me. She looked at me, made eye contact, and asked if I am OK. She knows I am up early, even for me, and decided to check on me. After some interaction, a few pets, a doggie smile, she headed back to bed. I will return there and sleep a bit more before I really start my day.

For most of the last year, I have been shooting mostly JPG images with the Fuji X Weekly film simulations. The Fuji cameras are particularly good at reproducing certain film looks and I want that film look. (That means I need to shoot more film, I think.)

But, over the last week or so, I decided to revert back to shooting in RAW and then post-processing the RAW files to a processed (in-camera or at the computer) JPG after the fact. I generally have an idea whether I am looking at a subject that will present better in black and white or color.

So, for the trail image above, I knew that I would produce a black and white image. I also knew I wanted to use one of the embedded film simulations in the X-T1. The ACROS seems like the one to use.

Today and tomorrow I will finish up my preparations for a Field Day 2024 expedition. I will camp with friends out south from Smith Valley, Nevada. We will have a good time of radio play and fellowship.

When I come home Monday, I will have to do a quick reprovision of the camper because I have field work the remainder of next week. Then I expect to be home for a bit as I have a number of personal projects to work on before the summer ends.

Camping is good. The fellowship of friends is also good. Life is good. I am grateful.

Daily Image: Johnson and Roberts, 03 April 2024

Shot with the Nikon F2AS and a Voigtlander 90mm f/2.8 lens on Ilford XP2.

This is another frame from a cemetery walk a month ago. The film sat in the camera for a while until I finished the roll. Then it sat in the camera bag for a week until I had time to get it to the processor.

It will be interesting to scan some frames for myself using either a digital camera of the film scanner I have at home.

Although it was cold, the sun was shining. The Girl wanted out to chase squirrels, but dog are expressly forbidden. That is most likely because too many people do not police up after their dogs. So, those who do pay the penalty.

Although the sun was warm, the wind had a bite to it. Older Son and I finished before too long because of the cold.

Still, it was a good day. Life is good.

New Drone for 2024

This is along one of my regular walking paths in Ozark, Missouri. I had the new drone out for a test run and made this capture. I like having the ability to get an aerial image of an area.

Late last year I determined to upgrade my DJI Mini to the newest version, the Mini Pro 4. There are a lot of upgrades to the smallest DJI drone, but the one I wanted the most was an independent controller. I have never liked using my iPhone as the controller and was always concerned I would get a phone call in the middle of a flight. I had no idea what that might do to the controls and I get a log of spam calls.

I had a pretty good chunk of Best Buy store credits from my computer upgrades last year. So I elected to use them against the purchase of the new drone. I got about a ten percent discount as a result.

I like the ability to add aerial shots to my photography and will need to get Part 107 certification so I can legally use my drone on field walks. The imagery will help provide context for the ground shots. This will be a good thing.

The drone flies well, too. Life is good.

Tree in James River — Test Frame Bronica S2A Nikkor-P 75mm f/2.8

Fallen tree on James River. Shot with Bronica S2A and Nikkor-P 75mm f/2.8 at f/4 on Ilford XP2.

I recently acquired a Zenza Bronica S2A medium format camera. It shoots 6x6cm frames and came with a Nikkor-P 75mm f/2.8 lens. I have a lot more to say about the camera but will save it for another day.

I ran a roll of Ilford XP2 through the camera as a test roll before I decided to accept it. The scans came in on Saturday and I started to review them.

What I can say so far is that the camera is working correctly, at least for the test conditions used. The scan of the negative looks good, but a review of the negative with a loupe and good light will tell me more detail than the scan can. Nonetheless, I think this is a keeper.

I am looking forward to spending a lot more time with this camera. I want to shoot some real black and white film, such as Tri-X, FP4+, or HP5+, and then develop the negatives myself. I will figure out the scanning later, but I could use a DSLR to do the scans or dig out my film scanner.

I am grateful. Life is good.