Category Archives: Equipment

About focus, life and work

Paris Spring

I stress about focus a lot. Crisp images are my goal, one day, when I can afford gear to make them.
I usually don’t use post production sharpen tools. I find that they cheapen the photo and only fool amateurs.

The problem with low-end equipment (aka, affordable DSLR and lenses) is that it’s not very sharp. You can try and use only that one aperture point where your favorite lens takes the crispest photos or, like me, you swallow your pride and keep on taking the best photo you can take.

To me, swallowing the pride and posting anything that isn’t perfect is very hard. But if I didn’t I would have no public photos and would have stop photographing a long time ago.

Making photos encourages you to learn and thrive and take better photos each time. It’s the ONLY WAY to learn. You never stop learning.

When I look back I’m very glad I didn’t stop. I’m glad everyday for not giving up the previous day. Everyday.

I’m just a gal trying to capture light with a machine. I’m not perfect and my machine is not perfect either but that’s not stopping me. And it should not stop you either.

Posted in Equipment, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

First photos using two polarizing filters as a neutral density filter

Aka “Homemade” Neutral Density Filter

Pont Saint-Michel

View of Pont Saint-Michel, Paris.

In the beginning of the month I wrote about Neutral Density Filters and how expensive it was to get them shipped to France so I decided to follow this article that talked about creating your own with two polarizing filters. I ordered the filters and they arrived safely to my door last week. Yay! for post office efficiency!

Île de la Cité

Woman walking in Île de la Cité, Paris.

Last weekend I tried them on and this is what I learned:

- You will need a “Circular Polarizing Filter” and a “Linear Polarizing Filter”. I got mine at eBay for about €29 from 2 different vendors. The “CPF” was €20 and if from a German brand named Hoya and the “LPF” was €9 and is made by Rowi;

- You have to screw them to your lens in the correct order -> First the “CPF” and then the “LPF”, or else it doesn’t work;

- Mount your camera in a tripod – You will need this because you’re about to do very long exposures;

- Focus your camera, switch it to manual focus after, if you use Auto Focus;

- Turn the filters until you get your viewfinder black, like you would get if you had your lens cap on;

- Switch the camera to manual and start experimenting. -> For these first photos you can see here I used 30 seconds exposures with a small aperture. I could have opted to do shorter exposures with a wider aperture but that would defeat the purpose, which was to have the buildings in focus while the movement of the people (and the water, in the Saint-Michel bridge) was captured and did a sort of “swoosh effect” (this is a technical term, “swoosh”…);

- As expected, the color aberrations where severe. I had to apply a black and white blue filter in post processing. Surprisingly though, not much more needed postprocessing. I’m very happy with the first results!

#193 - Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris filled with people walking by.

Alas, it started to rain so I had to pack up my gear. Next time I’ll try to do it on a dryer day.

Posted in Equipment, My Photos, Photography, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Wishlist – New Toy Camera – Underwater Digi Cam

Underwater Digi Cam pictures by Photojojo

Last week Photojojo sent out their newsletter that promoted their Underwater Digi Cam.

Oh, my… Now I want one!

I got my lomo ActionSampler Chrome toy camera in Portugal for €45 some years ago and I thought it was cheap. It’s a crappy piece of plastic but it takes pictures! I love everything that takes pictures – except maybe old mobile phones. The problem with the Action Sampler is that it is a film camera and I’m known for my laziness so the film stays in the camera forever until I send it to be developed.

This new toy takes digital pictures underwater and it costs $35! How can I not love it?!

I want it and I want it NOW!!!

Posted in Camera, Equipment, Wishlist | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Photo Equipment – Part I

Sony Alpha a200I use an old Sony Alpha A200. It’s an entry-level digital SLR and I got it two years ago as a birthday surprise gift from my father.
I was saving to get a Nikon d80, which is also an entry-level camera but after I got the Sony I decided to wait and buy a more professional camera later.

I use the Sony Alpha A200 almost exclusively with a Minolta AF 50 F1.7 vintage SLR lens. It gives me about the same image on the viewfinder as 75mm on a 35mm SLR camera.
I bought this lens on ebay for about €100. I love it because of the shallow depth of field given by the F1.7 setting.

Almost every week I read reviews of medium format cameras, analyze photos made by those cameras, convince myself that it’s probably not the cameras used that are making such photos and read opinions about why I should NOT buy one. Apart from the price tag, I mean.

This is my quest, I guess. Understand how to make the photos I want to make. Learn what is it that makes them special. I know it’s not the camera. At least, not everything is the camera. That is why I use my old Sony Alpha A200 with my second hand scratchy lens. Because I believe that it’s not the camera. It’s about the search, about the knowledge and about the passion. Or else I would just give up.

Posted in Equipment, My Photos | Tagged , , | 2 Comments