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Messages - Mr Bean

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31
Lenses / Picked up a new 24mm f1.4L II today
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:40:58 PM »
The price at the local camera store was too tempting, and I'd been hanging out for 6 months to get one. The other "trigger" point was I'll be in NY in a few weeks, and my current lens collection jumped from 15mm to 40mm or so. This one slots in nicely :)

Playing with it last night, the short DOF is wonderful, particularly for a wide angle lens. It certainly is a solid little lump of a lens ;)

32
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Oh neat, a Nikon 300f2 (1981)
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:44:12 AM »
I like hearing your story about seeing the lens on display, and seeing the print!  Moments like that are what make impressions on us.  I've had several moments like that, but they usually have something to do with exotic sports cars or women, haha.  It's a shame the specialty camera shops are going away, or at least they are here.
Yeah, the Camera Exchange still exists as a camera shop, but its moved out from Melbourne (too expensive) and its just a shadow of itself, unfortunately. It was almost like a museum, with the range of second hand gear. A lot of Nikor gear from the late 60's and 70's. Alas, just not the market these days   :-\

I would love to visit Australia someday, especially that valley with the dinosaur-era trees still growing there.  I know it's restricted but somehow I want to go and take pictures of it. 
Wollemi pine, I presume. That's out near the Blue Mountains (some hours drive west of Sydney). A stunning place to visit (the Blue Mountains).

I'm also amazed at the wildfires you have in your rainforests down there...where the tree sap is about as flammable as gasoline...so it doesn't matter if it's a wet season, you can still have forest fires...that's crazy!  The cedar trees and pine trees we have here in Tennessee, have highly flammable sap...but it's nowhere near that bad.  They would not burn easily after days of rain...and most of the hardwoods would not burn at all in the wet.
Eucalyptus (gum) leaves contain a small amount of flammable oil, which means they burn really well, even when green off the tree. The forests tend to be dry in the summer, rather than a rainforest, and very moist in winter. Spring creates a great deal of growth, leading into summer, when it starts to dry out. As a natural process, the trees drop a lot of leaves in this dry time, leading to a high volume (2-4 inches) of dry leaf matter on the ground. This acts as a mulch, to slow the drying out, and reduces the evaporation from the tree (less surface area). But, if a fire starts, then its an issue.

Oops, I'm getting onto one of my pet subjects and way off topic....sorry to the OP.... ;)

33
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Oh neat, a Nikon 300f2 (1981)
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:49:17 PM »
I've heard of the Canon 65mm f/.75, but not the 50mm f/.95.  I only know of the Canon 50mm f/1.0.  I think it went out of production in the early 1990's?  You can still rent it.
A few years back, there was a camera shop, here in Melbourne (Australia) called the "Camera Exchange". In one of the displays, they had one of these 50mm f0.95 lenses and a large BW print (a portrait) made from this lens. Exceptional image, considering the speed of the lens.

In a second cabinet, they had the Nikor 6mm lens. A beautiful, fishbowl shaped lens :)

As another poster has mentioned, these lenses were made back in the film era. In the case of super fast apertures, I guess that was partly driven by the fact that changing ISO wasn't as easy as it is these days.

34
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: February 16, 2014, 07:17:34 AM »
Thanks Graham. I happen to press the camera button (at 6fps) and got the whole sequence. But it only took about 5-6 frames for the bug to be an ex-bug ;)

It helped me having my house mate act as a spotter, as I was glued to the viewfinder. My house mate would tell me when a parent was approaching, so I could prepare to hold the button down. I got a lot of shots this afternoon :)

35
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: February 16, 2014, 02:01:43 AM »
Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike, baby about to be fed. These ones are hanging around the property at the moment. The young one is being fed constantly.
5D3 with 300mm f4 L

36
Photography Technique / Re: The Cheapo Camera bag to fool the bad guys.
« on: February 03, 2014, 06:36:24 PM »
I like some of the ideas here. I'll be in NY next month and was wondering what to do camera-wise, when wandering around (I'll be with a friend who grew up in NY).

At the moment, I'll "dumb down" the 5D3 by taking the L bracket off, along with the grip. And I'll have the 40mm pancake on (or carrying it) with the 24mm. I've been looking at one of the LowePro bags (Messenger I think it is), which is compact enough.

Funnily enough, I just spent the weekend in Hobart (Tasmania) wandering around Salamanca Market and Mona Gallery, with the 5D3 + 40mm pancake. Seeing folks walking around with Canon / Nikon gear with long'ish (or noticeable) zoom gear, I had more comments from people asking "what was that lens on the camera"...."what can you do with a lens like that, that doesn't zoom?".... ;)

37
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Oh neat, a Nikon 300f2 (1981)
« on: January 28, 2014, 07:31:34 AM »
I'd read about this lens over the years. The lens was a little pricey for its time (early 80's) at around $29,000!  Along with the 6mm fish eye (with a field of view of 220 deg), it was made in an era where exotic lenses were the norm for Nikon and Canon. Ah the good 'ol days ;)

38
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:55:24 AM »
Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.

Check how your light pollution is with this map:

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dlorenz/web/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html

Yellow and up are bad. Green is ok. You really want to be in blue or gray areas, where the skies are really dark. Trust me, I've experimented very recently with how much light pollution affects results. I live in a brighter yellow area bordering on an orange area in Denver, Colorado. LP is pretty bad over my house, even though it doesn't seem as much to my bare eyes. Green areas improve quite a bit. Blue areas are amazing, the number of stars increases considerably, and astrophotography gets much better.
Thanks for the link, that's really neat. Looks like I'm pale yellow, moving into green. It's not bad, considering I'm an hours drive from the City. Last October I went to Tasmania for a week. The areas around Cradle Mountain were stunning for clear night skies. I'll have to head back later this year :)

I've just downloaded DeepSkyStacker. I'll go out and try again, now that Orion is up :)

39
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 05:24:10 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.

Good start. The trick is stacking. Your single frame here is dim and noisy, as a single frame. Now, if you take about 100 of these 1 second shots, then align and stack them, you can greatly reduce the noise, and "fill in the blanks" and improve detail. Once you have a stacked image with lower noise and more detail, you will have MUCH more freedom to push the exposure around in ACR/LR or Photoshop. The grainy, poorly saturated example here could become a pretty amazing photo of the Orion nebula. :)

Another tip. If  you live in or near a city, head out of town by about 50 miles (preferably at least the same distance from any other city). That should get you much darker skies. Darker skies mean more nebula detail, less noise, and even better results after stacking.

For stacking software, I recommend starting out with DeepSkyStacker. It's pretty easy...the trickiest part is "stretching" the exposure after DSS is done doing it's thing. The curves editor in DSS is pretty quirky, and not the easiest thing to use. Play with it for a couple of hours, though, and you'll start to get the hang of it.

Trust me, though...with that lens and the 5D III, you can get MUCH, MUCH better results...just takes a little more effort.
Thanks for the tips jrista. I might give it a go tonight :)

The last time I did any "real" astrophotography was back with Halleys Comet using Fuji gas hypered film, standing in the middle of a paddock all night, keeping the scope on track ;)

Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.

40
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 02:39:39 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.

41
Landscape / Re: Sunset landscape
« on: January 24, 2014, 07:38:54 AM »
From last night's sunset. NE of Melbourne. I just happened to spot the sun on the horizon, as I was leaving a friends place. Luckily, the camera was with me :)
5D3 with 300mm f4

42
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Polarizing filter for Zeiss 15mm f2.8
« on: January 24, 2014, 03:09:09 AM »
Thanks Eldar. I'm heading to the US in 5 weeks time, and will be in NY in mid March. I'm planning on visiting B&H while I'm there and my see if they have one. However, it will greatly depend on how my credit card holds up (the shopping list has already become rather long)  ;)

43
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Polarizing filter for Zeiss 15mm f2.8
« on: January 23, 2014, 07:17:33 PM »
Eldar, I'd be interested to see the results of a CPL on the Zeiss 15mm. I had considered one for mine, but I've read and am aware of the effect of a PL on a UWA lens with broad sky (uneven darkening due to polarized light). I would be interested in one for foliage/water pic's where I think it would help with the unwanted reflections. Personally, I'd probably buy the Zeiss CPL, seeing I spent so much on the lens in the first place ;)

44
Photography Technique / Re: DIY. Indoor Light box for Macro Photography
« on: January 17, 2014, 03:04:56 PM »
Thanks for the practical (and cheap) idea surapon. I like the way you deal with these things, and the hand drawings :)

45
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 16, 2014, 05:27:34 AM »
Thanks Northstar. They're part of the cockatoo family of birds. Not too afraid of people. In fact, the only reason I saw these two was I went to top up the water bowl, and the male was sitting in the bush, 2m from me.

Regarding the weather, Melbourne (Australia) has had a run of 4 days 40+c. Tomorrow is expected to be 42c, then a cool change and milder weather after that. I hope so. I can handle it, but these guys and other critters are really suffering.

This is the female, on a better day....

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