Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Variable ND Filter - Vario ND2-400 MMX

Recently, I purchased a couple of 'new' second hand lenses.  (see my earlier post, if you haven't already done so!)   

I was happy to see that included in that deal were 2 variable ND filters.  This was good because it meant that I didn't have to stack ND filters as I had been doing and also, I could focus through the variable filter at it's lightest setting and then adjust it to go darker without having to remove separate filters and then re-install them when I was ready to take the photo.

I went down to Rathmines where I knew there were some old piers of a wharf that had served the RAAF Base there when it was a Flying Boat Base.  It was my intention to use the variable filter to get some long exposure shots using the variable ND filter.

The filter I was using is a ND2-400.  ND2 being equivalent to 1 stop of exposure and ND400 being equivalent to 9 stops of exposure (according to Google!).  The filter cuts out the light coming into the camera.  This means that to get a properly exposed photo, the shutter speed slows right down and we are left with a long exposure photo.  You can see some examples of long exposure here in a previous blog post.

I took a few photos, chimping as I went along.  Now there's an interesting word; Chimping.  It is a virtual new word and simply means 'immediately looking at the result of a photo on a digital camera after each shot'.  Anyway, I wasn't entirely happy with the result.  Considering that the top level of the variable ND is equivalent to 9 stops (allegedly!) I was only getting a 2 second shutter speed from ISO100 at f22;  I had thought that I would get longer.

One thing about using the filter that I had not considered was the vignetting in each corner caused by using a filter on a wide angle lens.  This happened all the time when opened up wide to 10mm.

Another problem also showed up and this is a common problem found when using a circular polariser on a wide angle lens; it makes one part of the photo go darker.  Now, a variable ND filter is simply 2 pieces of polarising glass; one circular and the other linear.  One filter is turned to offset the polarisation, making the filter darker or lighter.  I did end up with this problem and a darker area appeared up the top of some photos, right in the middle!

I wasn't too impressed with my first use of a variable ND filter.

I think my next step is to purchase a 77mm filter holder and separate ND filters for this lens.  It may be a little more fiddly but I think it would give better results.  Once I have the holder to fit the lens, I can then purchase more filters for that as time goes on.

Photos Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography
All Rights Reserved

The RAW file.  You can see the filter in the corners of the photo (at the widest of 10mm) and
the dark blotch in the middle at the top caused by the polarisation on a wide angle lens.
Shutter speed at  2.5 second.
It was always my intention to edit in B&W.  Photo edited in Nik Collection, Silver EFEX Pro.

Vignetting applied in Silver EFEX Pro helps to hide that dark blotch.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Ballina & Lennox Head

Catching up on some more photos from our road trip.  We've been back over a month now and want to go on another!

One of the places we stopped over for a few nights was Ballina.  Lovely town on the coast where the Richmond River meets the sea.

If ever you're there and you are looking for a good pub meal, I can recommend the Shaws Bay Hotel.  Great food and a beautiful spot overlooking the river. 

We walked out on the breakwall to the harbour entrance to catch the Sunset.  It was interesting watching the boats coming in over the bar through the heads; there was a slight swell and it was a little rough over the bar.

Whilst in Ballina it's only a quick trip up to Lennox Head.  Good surf and there is a lookout for some up high perspective shots.  Quite a lot of nice cafes there as well.

By this time on our trip, my Canon 18-55mm lens had well and truly given up the ghost and the digital shots here were taken using my trusty 50mm f1.8 .  The other photos in this post were on Fuji Industrial 400 film and shot with my Canon EOS 300V.

All photos Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved

Through the heads at Ballina, NSW, Australia

Made it through safely - Ballina, NSW, Australia

Given the direction of this boat, I reckon they were headed for the Shaws Bay Hotel!
Ballina, NSW, Australia

There always has to be a B&W shot! - Ballina, NSW, Australia

The lighthouse at Ballina, NSW, Australia

A decent sized fishing fleet at Ballina, NSW, Australia

Beautiful building this!  Ballina Courthouse - Ballina, NSW, Australia

Spied this handsome chap peering at me on the beach at Lennox Head, NSW, Australia

Lennox Head, NSW, Australia

Surfing at Lennox Head, NSW, Australia

Love the colour from this roll of Fuji Industrial 400 film - Lennox Head, NSW, Australia

Saturday, 5 May 2018

New Lenses!

So, in my last post about Dorrigo, I mentioned that my stalwart Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens had stopped working on auto focus.

I had tried using it on manual but because I wear multi focal lenses I find it difficult (even with the diopter adjusted) to get the correct focus all the time.  My glasses bump against the eyepiece and, depending on the position of the Sun I get blinded by light through the gap of the eyepiece and my glasses.  Sometimes I'd get it right and sometimes it was slightly out.

The lens was 6 years old and had had a really good workout over that time.  I didn't want to purchase another kit lens; I wanted to go up a step.  

I searched online for a few weeks, getting ideas of what I could get.  I wanted a 'wide-ish' angle lens that went a bit wider than the 18mm I had been used to.  A little dismayed by prices (I am a hobby photographer) I have to put value for money (price!) at the top of the list.

I had wanted to keep to Canon products but soon realised that was not going to be within the budget constraints.  So, I started searching for other brands, namely Tamron and Sigma.  It's not easy when faced with different options!  And then something popped up from an area that I had not considered.

As you may know, if you follow my blog regularly (AND YOU SHOULD!) I own a few film cameras.  I am always on the search for new film cameras in good condition.  One of the places I have found to be good to find vintage film cameras is Facebook Marketplace.  I had the idea one day to change my search options from Film Cameras to Canon Lenses.  One advertisement stood out to me.

It was for 2 Tamron lenses with a Canon EF-S Mount; a Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 and a Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5.  They came with UV filters also.  I was stoked!  Firstly, I could leave the 18-270mm on my camera and get the best of a wide angle and large zoom capability or, I could put on the 10-24 and get even wider angle shots.  I put in an offer and was happy that the seller agreed with the lower than advertised price.  When I picked them up I was even more surprised to find that each lens had its own circular polariser and variable ND2-400 filter.  With that variable ND filter I can get some great long exposure photos without having to stack separate ND filters (as I have been doing).  Both lenses have auto/manual focus options and image stabilisation.

They are in great condition and I have yet to take the 10-24mm out for a real workout.  I have taken some photos with it quickly as a test but it needs a really good workout which I hope to get into this week.  The 18-270mm lens has already been thrown in the deep end for an Awards Presentation Day at my workplace; those photos turned out lovely and sharp!

So, for less than the price of one new Canon lens, I have 2 used lenses that are in great condition and will see a lot of work!

The photos in this Blog Post and corresponding Google+ page are
©Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved 
and may not be used without permission.

Above and below - Test photos taken with the 10-24mm wide angle lens.
Initial reports indicate an excellent purchase!

Dorrigo - National Park & Waterfalls

A few weeks ago, Kim & I went on a road trip.  We were on the way to Brisbane for my Mums 90th Birthday.  We decided to make a road trip of the journey on the way up.

The first couple of nights away we stayed at Bellingen.  Lovely little town on the Waterfall Way, west of the Pacific Motorway.  So called the Waterfall Way because the further west you travel, there are waterfalls literally on the side of the road!  

Travelling further west of Bellingen is the town of Dorrigo.  Another lovely small Aussie town.  Just before entering Dorrigo however, you can turn right onto Dome Road which will take you to the Dorrigo Rain Forest Centre in the Dorrigo National Park.  From the Rain Forest Centre there is a return walk through the rain forest to a number of waterfalls.  The walk averages about 2 hours but when you have a camera (and there is quite a bit to capture) it can take a little longer!

We started the walk about 10am.  It was still quite hot for March; low 30s (celcius) and very high humidity.  Once we started walking into the rain forest the temperature fell a little due to the shade from the high canopy but the humidity increased; almost like a sauna!

This walk is not like any other bush walking I have done; the path is nicely graded and is all asphalt.  There are a couple of 'steepish' parts to the walk but all in all it was very walkable.  There are a few waterfalls to see on this walk.  We were lucky because there had been steady rain in the mountains for a few days prior to our arrival and there was plenty of water flowing.

After we finished our walk we went into Dorrigo for a bite to eat.  From there we went to Dangar Falls which is north of Dorrigo on Coramba Road.  Spectacular falls with a lovely pool at the bottom to swim in.  

I used a Canon 50mm f1.8 for most of these photos; my stalwart kit lens 18-55mm had been having some problems with auto focus and refused to work for most of the time.  I could have used it in manual focus but I wear multi focal glasses and it's a pain looking through the eyepiece with them, even if I can adjust the dioptor!  A couple of days later the lens gave up altogether.  I have since replaced it but that is the subject of another blog post!  

The photos on this Blog Post and corresponding Google+ page are 
©Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved
and may not be used without permission.

Dangar Falls - Dorrigo,NSW, Australia

Amazing rain forest growth!

Sauteed Mushrooms anyone (good luck with that!).

Caught this cute guy scrambling around on the rain forest floor.

Chrystal Shower Falls.

Chrystal Shower Falls.

Some lovely ferns growing in the rain forest.
Lovely Rural Landscape - Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

Lovely light coming down through the tree tops.

Every Australian Town has one of these.
War Memorial - Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

Every Australian Town has one of these too - the local Pub!
Dorrigo, NSW, Australia
Where we had lunch.
Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

Bronica ETRSi and 35MM N Film Back

You may recall that I wrote in an earlier article  (Jan 2019) about some difficulties I was having with a 35mm N  Film Back on my Bronica ...