December 28, 2012

Street Photography in Morocco + Making black and white

A few months ago I finnaly found my SD card from my trip to Morocco two years ago!

So I started making some black and whites of some pictures.

I noticed I made a lot of street pics. And, well, in Morocco streets are very crowded. Making the pics black and white pulls the attention back to the subject of the photo, the people in it.

Unless the colors are important, for example if I want to track attention to clothing or food, I leave it in colors.

I did this with the excellent free program called Paint.NET. It's a lot like photoshop, wich I used to have, but not anymore unfortunately...
Steps you mainly have to do:
1: Composition! You may need to crop a photo. Or put it back straight. But I wouldn't do this a lot. A photo that isn't straight is actually sometimes better than a straight one in street photography.
To crop: select the whole photo, use the "move selection" tool and hold shift while making the selection smaller to keep the same ratio. move around with selection till you are pleased. Then Image->crop to selection.
To turn: select photo, richt click on corners of selection to turn. Then crop.
2: Sometimes I let paint.NET do "Auto levels" (Adjustments->Auto- levels).This doesn't always turn out great, but it does manage to fix the contrast pretty well.
3: Turn it in black and white! (Adjustments->black and white)
4: Play with the contrast and brightness! (Adjustments-> Brightness/contrast) Don't mess with it a lot though. It just sometimes comes in handy with black and white:)

I start to really love black and white!
I know these pics are not super -WOW- pics, but that is what makes it street photography. These pics make great pics not because of their perfectness, but because they aren't perfect at all. They are a mess. They let you FEEL the streets.
Everybody can do street photography, the only special skills you need to have, is to DARE to take a picture, and that you know when and what to shoot.

The beautiful blue burka, tradition for the women in the city Taroudant

Men, and goats:)

old man, selling spices

Love the movement, although it's not a clear shot:)


small street with shoemakers and cloth repairing people:)


For more pics you can visit my Flickr!

December 26, 2012

Macro photography with reverse rings (poor guys macro) explained

I got my first macro shots with a reverse ring! :D

I was really surprised how fast I managed to get a clear shot!
It was very challenging working in Manual mode.

But in one evening experimenting with my camera, I already learned a lot.

So, here is a "how-to" for working with macro reverse rings!

1. You need the right lens. You need a manual lens with an aperture ring.What also comes in handy is an Automatic-Manual switch. Why do we need that? The lens is reversed so that switch doesn't function anymore, right? No! (See 5. )

2. Mount the reverse ring on your camera first. And demount it. Just to make sure it fits right. Now mount it again, and than screw the lens on.

3. Turn your camera on. Set the camera on M mode. Set the lens on the biggest aperture it has! (The smallest number) Now, you can look through the viewfinder and try to guess the settings you need and make a composition.

4. The problem with macro is that you don't want a too shallow DOF, Depth of field. This is the area wich is in focus. And I tell you, this is very small with a reversed ring. It's probably 1cm to 5mm. To make the DOF bigger, you'll need a smaller aperture. Ok then, lets make a smaller aperture.
Ow....Our viewfinder turns black, and our picture turns out too dark...
So this is why you will either work with a longer shutter speed or with flash. The longer shutter speed is not a good option since we are working MACRO!! Every slight movement will make a blurry picture. And the advantage of a flash is too freeze the image. So turn on that flash!!
I did my pictures for now with the simple pop-up.
I'll soon make a flash extender and diffuser so that the flash will actually point at the subject and wont be that harsh anymore.

5.Ok, our flash is on. But we still can't see anything through the viewfinder! This is where the pin on the backside of your lens comes in handy! Turn the lenses aperture wide open. When you have a A-M switch, turn it to A. Now you can turn the aperture to about f8 or f11 depending on the situation. Push the pin, and....MAGIC! the aperture stops down!

6. We are going to take the picture! Settings ok (ISO,Shutter speed, white balance...)? Aperture wide open? Then immediately push the pin so the aperture stops down, and take the picture!
If you don't have the A-M switch I think you'll have to turn the aperture ring quickly to a higher f stop without moving your camera and take the picture.

I hope this helps!!

Here are the first pictures I took with this method:
Peacock feather details

a little christmas ornament


Skin on my thumb, iiiiieeeew looks so awkward!

cuticle of one of my fingers


December 25, 2012

Happy Newtonmass!!

And off course a merry merry christmas to everyone!

To all non nerdfighters and science lovers: 25th december is the birthday of the great Isaac Newton. (Actually 4th of January in the old calendar back than)

We really have to think a little moment at him.This great mind invented modern calculus, Newtons laws of motion and much more fundamentals for todays physics and mathematics.

What I will do on christmas eve, today, is go outside, look up at the stars, and thank him. Thank you, Newton. Thank you for opening the door to understand our universe much better.

Here a little carol for you, Newton!

God rest ye merry, physicists
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Isaac Newton
was born on Christmas Day!
His gravity and calculus and “f” equals “m” “a”!
Oh, pillars of physics and math, physics and math,
Oh, pillars of physics and math!

A factor of big G – the same for flea and giant star.
Then multiply the masses and divide by square of “r”.
The force that keeps us on the earth and orbits moons afar!
Oh, pillars of physics and math, physics and math,
Oh, pillars of physics and math!

Now, calculus is math for those
who change things bit by bit.
To figure out derivatives
and get the curve to fit.
Then integrate and you can find the area under it!
Oh, pillars of physics and math, physics and math,
Oh, pillars of physics and math!

For those of you wanting to send a "Happy Newtonmass" card: Here is a card I made using photoshop;) You can use it!

December 03, 2012

New M42 Lenses for my DSLR!


A few days ago, I bought 2 excellent second hand lenses!

They are M42 lenses wich means their backside has a 42mm screw.
These are old lenses from the 70's. But they are so excellent!

The Yashinon auto DX is a fix 50mm lens with aperture up to 2.0! It's a heavy lens, and you can feel the quality.
The Super Marexar is a 28mm wide angel lens with aperture 2.8. Also big!
For the guys who aren't that common with all these numbers: You should know how bigger the aperture, how smaller the aperture number, or f-stop. And how smaller this number, how more lightsensitive the lens is, so that you can shoot in darker conditions, and what makes it more expensive. Also, a big aperture gives you a smaller DOF, depth of field, and gives you a nice bokeh!

So how do I attach these lenses to my modern DSLR?
Just buy an adaptor! :D

You should know that you have to shoot all manual! You can addapt aperture and focus on your lens itself.
You have to put your camera on A (aperture priority), S (shutter priority) or M (fully manual)
In the A mode you set the aperture you chose on your lens, and your camera will choose the shutter speed etc. In S mode, you choose the shutter speed, but, notice, your camera will tell you which aperture is needed, so you have to addapt this on the lens!!

If you want to use a M42 lens for portraits, people, animals or macro (with extension tubes etc) they are perfect!
However for landscape photography, or all other subjects on which you should focus to infinity, this will not work! Unless you buy an adaptor with a correcting glass in it, which I do not recommend. The quality of the lens will then be equal to the quality of the glass in your adapter, which is usualy bad....

I intented to use these lenses reversed on an extension tube to do macro photography!
I am still waiting for the reverse ring and extension tubes to arrive (China stuff from ebay) :D