17-40-70-200mm Angle of view

A bit of an experiment, one of those things that you think might be a good idea but somehow never get round to.  The objective was to show the effects of using different focal lengths on the same subject and thereby demonstrate the compositional options.

I chose the 8 straw bales as the subject, with the tree in the background as the secondary element, ensuring the bales occupied about the same amount of the frame in each case.  As the focal length increased, I increased the distance from the subject.

17 mm
Forgive the shadow!  The bales are the dominant subject in the frame.

40 mm

70 mm

200 mm
The tree becomes starts to dominate.

17 mm – Position as 200 mm

After I took the 200 mm shot I stayed in the same position and replaced that lens with one of 17mm.  A crop to include just the bales shows that from a perspective point of view the 17mm shares the same as the 200 mm at the same position.

The increase in focal length also demonstrates foreshortening – the bringing together the apparent distance between objects .


Fun with a Tube

Every so often I like to have a play with pinhole photography – not with the commercially available holes and attachments but things I make myself.  I’ve had a crack at doing some with my digital camera, but to be honest, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.  So I’ve tended to stick with film.

My original objective was to create a gizzmo that would fit on the front of my Rollei in such a way that I could attach/detach at will – thus I could drop a pinhole shot into the middle of a film if I wanted.  I wanted use my Rollei as it has a significant advantage because using the waist level finder and a dark cloth over my head I can just about see the image of the subject I’m taking reasonably well.

As you may know, in theory, the pinhole can be any distance from the film plane, the further away the larger the image of the subject but the longer the exposure needs to be.  Okay in theory, but practice?  I had to give it a try.  So I put a pinhole at the front of a parcel tube which I then attached to the front of my camera.

In the picture, the front of the ‘lens’ is supported by a lighting stand with a catapult taped to the top to give a u-shaped support.  Trying to maintain the tube/camera/film plain was a real nightmare.

A couple of examples of the output.

‘Standard’ Pinhole to Film Distance

‘Telephoto’ Pinhole to Film Distance

Standard – the arrow points to the ‘target’

Kirk Deighton Church

I’ll leave you to consider the results, but the tube clearly exhibits a lack of contrast (in part I believe due to scatter in the tube). Also the Church picture is suffering from a slight light leak or glare.

I’m sorry I can’t give you details of exposure – I calculate each exposure using a meter and conversion tables, but the long tube ones will be pushing towards 15 to 20 minutes.

It’s unlikely that I will be making any more attempts, it’s just too much faffing about – trying to line things up, especially on uneven ground – the slightest out of alignment and the image quality/light level drops significantly.


Greenhow Hill Mines

Some of the remains of Greenhow Hill, North Yorkshire lead mining area, which seems to have been in use from the 16th Century through to the 19th in some form or other.

I’d been up there (it’s moorland and pretty bleak) a couple of weeks before to take photos and it seemed to me that I needed more height to get a better perspective on the craters.  I had it in my mind that I might be able to make it look a bit like a lunar landscape, so I took my 7-tread aluminium steps I use for decorating along.  I have no doubt the farmer must have wondered what the heck I was doing, carrying a set of steps through his field but there you go.  Fortunately the ground was quite hard as it had been frosty that morning, while I wasn’t exactly stable at the top of the steps, it wasn’t so dangerous that I wouldn’t risk it.  (It’s quite a strange feeling being at the top of steps in the middle of a field with no ceiling or walls around).

Anyway, I still didn’t really get the height I wanted but this one is about the best I got.  Fortunately it was a very bright cloudless day, which gave just the right sort of hard, contrasty light to start to give an extra-terrestrial feel (well that’s my view anyway!).

I often second visit, sometimes more, places where an idea comes to me to photograph in a certain way, or a picture I’ve taken on a first visit prompts an alternative approach when I get home and view it on a larger screen.  I’d recommend the approach to anyone.  We often come up with ‘good ideas’ only to forget about them over passage of time, or allow other photographic priorities to take precedence.


Deer in the Forest

If you go down to the woods today and all that…..

What do you think the chances are of getting a shot like this…?

Slim, in my estimation.

Something I do very rarely – frankly I don’t have the imagination or the time or the skill – I have enough trouble getting the photos I take looking right, or at least to my taste.  Okay, so this is a very simple composite.  The original forest picture is perfectly satisfactory but there was this light gap which felt it needed something to fill it.  I remembered a picture of a deer I’d taken, it wasn’t quite up to scratch, a bit of camera shake, but perfectly sufficient for the purpose here (in actual fact I think I should have knocked the focus back a little for this size image).  I’m not 100% sure of the scaling.  But now the picture has a true single point of interest, before the eye hunted round looking for something to fix on.

Does it matter it’s a composite? Does knowing that fact detract? (yes)  Would it be dishonest not to own up? (dunno – as photographers, do we worry about how a picture was created more than appreciating the finished article, do we look for vertical verticals, level horizons before looking at the picture?


Acer in the Rain

I was waiting for my daughter to come out of work – or at least work experience (part of her ‘A’ – level study requirement) and it was raining quite heavily.  It seemed an ideal opportunity to try some ‘wet window’ shots.  This one was about the best I could manage.  But it got me thinking.

One of the main problems with doing wet window shots is that it’s invariably dull and miserable, certainly is in this part of the world.  So how difficult would it be, (I like minimum effort at the best of times!), to conjur up a bright sunny day behind a wet rainy window.

This is the result of some work in my back garden on a bright sunny day.

Piece of picture glass held by one edge in one of those DIY portable workbenches (Workmate?), a garden hose with a sprinkler attachment, and camera on a tripod with a remote release.

First consideration is the water has to be running all the time, otherwise you have just water droplets – which looks okay but not quite the same thing.  Having too much water falling down the glass just gives blurry ‘normal view’ pictures, not the casual distortion shown here.

While I have to think of another way of supporting the glass (the bench is a little too cumbersome), I can probably work  something similar with a couple of light lighting stands, I can’t see any real reason why something similar couldn’t be achieved ‘in the field’ with a watering can.  Hopefully with a more exciting subject.


SAFETY NOTE – Picture glass is not really the thing to use it’s far to thin and fragile, for my experimentation that’s all I had to hand.  A piece of safety glass would be more appropriate.