black & white

SAHM

SAHM, that's what my wife calls herself, a Stay At Home Mom.  SAHM, that's what I call Stay At Home Macro.

From time to time I will purchase some flowers, my wife thinks they are for her, but no, they are for my SAHM.  See what I did there? ;)

I setup the flowers in a vase on the dining room table next to a window.  I will use the available window light and if I need more, I will use one of the little LED lights that are designed for on camera video lights.  They work great for adding a little light to a macro subject.  In this case, a daisy.

ISO 400, 90mm, F/16 @ 1/4 second

Hover over the image to see the camera settings used.  Click the image to view it larger.

The angle of light plays a very important role in the final image.  Holding it an angle that will accentuate details you want is important, especially if you plan to process the image as a black & white, as I have here.

Another tip...Glycerin.  If you mix a 50/50 water glycerin mix you will have a liquid that will not evaporate.  For the most part, it will stay where you put it, too.  This single drop remained here during and after my entire shooting session.

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  This setup was mounted on my Sirui W-2204 Tripos and K-20 Ballhead.  THe image was process in Lightroom and converted to black & white using On1 Perfect B&W.

Taking a break from birds

Several months back I was asked to do an article about long exposures using Tiffen ND (neutral density) filters, more specifically, the Tiffen Apex ND filter from their XLE Filter series.  The Apex is a 10 stop ND filter.  It is also equipped with a standard near IR blocker and a hot mirror to eliminate all IR pollution that you might normally get with long exposures.

This image was made at a lake close to my home.  It was taken near mid day, but using the filter I was able to get the exposure over a minute.  Which allowed me to show some movement in the clouds and water, leaving it looking much smoother than it was.

ISO 50, 24mm, F/22 @ 1 minute 14 seconds

Hover over the image to see camera settings.  Click the image to view it larger.

If you aren't familiar with using Solid ND Filters there are a few things to keep in mind.  You will need to compose and focus before attaching your filter.  Most likely you won't even be able to see through the camera after attaching the filter.  Be sure to switch your lens to manual focus.  If not, your camera will try to auto focus, which it will never be able to do, with the filter attached.  Another good tool to have is a ND Filter Calculator app to keep on your smartphone.  There are several of them that you can download for free and they all do the same thing.  You can put in your base exposure (aperture, ISO and shutter speed) and the number of stops of your ND filter and it does the math to calculate your new shutter speed.  It's super simple.  Even I can use it!

This image was made using my Sony A7R II, Tamron 24-70mm Lens and Tiffen Apex ND Filter.  Of course, a minute long exposure requires a very stable tripod.  For this shot I used my Sirui T-2205X and G-20X Ballhead.  Although this is designed to be more of a "travel" setup, it is more than sturdy enough to hold your wide angle lens for long exposure photography.

The Aftermath

Last year, after a workshop I was teaching in Grand Teton National Park was over, a few friends and I took an impromptu run up to Yellowstone.  There were several memories made on this trip and even more great photos!

The photo below was taken at Old Faithful.  Not really planning on photographing it at this time, we kind of casually pulled up for a restroom stop.  Then on our way out the geyser was erupting, so we grabbed our cameras and took a few shots.  By the time we had cameras and got close enough most of the crowd had dispersed and the eruption was all but over.

I normally don't include people in my photos often, but when they do a few things like show scale...and emotion, it's hard not to.  

I quickly grabbed this image with my Tamron 24-70mm lens.  I shot it at 70mm mostly because we were late and I am slow.  I needed all the reach the lens had.  I shot this in Aperture Priority at F/16.  Setting the ISO to 100 yielded a shutter speed of 1/60th.  That is a bit slow, but the VC of the lens kicked in and helped out a lot!

After processing in Lightroom I sent this image over to the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 filter to do the black and white conversion.  I added some grain during the black and white processing step.  I am pleased with the classic look.