Nov 6 2011

Added Minolta Bellows Lens Manual

Dave Anderson

As part of the groundwork for some posts I’ve been working on, I have posted my scans of the Owner Manual for Minolta Micro Bellows 12.5 f/2 and 25 f/2.5 lenses. There is also a link to that page in the “Useful Links” section in the main menu above.

Jul 9 2011

Sony a900/Lightroom Shadow Detail Test

Dave Anderson

Back in May of this year I ran an experiment with the Sony a900 and Lightroom, looking at shadow details to see what sort of results I would get at different ISOs. There is a lot of discussion around what is the “best” ISO with these cameras, and since it seems to depend on how the photographer exposes and what RAW conversion software is used I decided to perform some tests starting with the test of shadow noise handling described in this article.

Not long after buying this camera I found some information from Iliah Borg indicating that ISO 320 offered the greatest dynamic range. Although this is well above base ISO Iliah had stated that ISO 320 was required “to unstop the shadows”. I shot thousands of pictures at ISO 320 with good results but finally decided to test for myself a bit more in-depth, as I had heard photographers whose work I respect and admire suggesting ISO 160 as a cleaner setting to use.

I shot the following set of pictures in my garage, careful to avoid blocking up shadows. The blown-out side window is not relevant for this test, later I will do some testing around midtones and highlights.

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Mar 29 2011

Setting up an 8″ Reflector Telescope for Astrophotography

Dave Anderson

I received an awesome birthday gift from my wife last fall, an Orion XT8 Dobsonian reflector. I’ve had a bit of fun with it just stargazing, but eventually that wasn’t enough and I wanted to try photographing with it. I had some minor success with eyepiece projection photography as in the Moon and Jupiter shots below. The thing is, the specs listed on the label are just too interesting to pass up. As a prime focus lens, it’s a 1200mm f/5.9 optic. Who could resist trying to see what they could make of that?

Initial experiments with eyepiece projection on an Orion XT8 Dobsonian telescope with a 25mm Plossl eyepiece and a 2x barlow, magnification 96x projected onto 35mm full-frame sensor.
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Dec 6 2010

A couple of weeks with the Sony ɑ55

Dave Anderson

I was reading through this article on cnet and the following statement sort of jumped out at me:

"Many people like the optical viewfinder, but from a technological point of view we think [translucent mirror designs] are better."

"Better" in what way, and according to who? Before the Sony SLT cameras hit the market I had never seen an EVF that I liked, and since I own a DSLR with what is arguably the best OVF in the business — the ɑ900 — I found myself wondering about the direction that Sony will take with the ɑ900/850 successor. The following post details my experiences and thoughts about this new “wonder-camera”. Continue reading

Oct 22 2010

A Day Trip to Yosemite

Dave Anderson

On Oct 8, 2010 I went on a day trip to Yosemite with Tony Beach. I had never been there, Tony had not been there since he was a teenager. We set out to gain a bit of familiarity with the park, scout some locations for future shooting excursions, and just maybe get a few decent shots. We had a late start and a wrong turn on the way, also stopped for lunch along the way.

We didn’t start shooting until a bit after 4pm, at Bridal Veil Falls:

Bridal Veil Falls.
Note: All images on this page will open a larger version in a new tab/window when clicked.
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Aug 23 2010

Gabor aka “panopeeper”… a great and well respected man, Rawnalyze author. RIP.

Dave Anderson

Those words — “great and well respected man” -resonated with me. I did not know Gabor personally but some who did spread the word of his demise, fanning out from this thread. His username there was “panopeeper” thus the alias. I first heard of it when Joseph S. Wisniewski posted about it in the open talk Forum here(I do not frequent the Canon forums). It is very sad to hear of someone so helpful and generous passing, even if I reaped the rewards of his generosity without ever having met him. Rest in Peace Gabor, and thank you for your great achievement of creating and distributing such a valuable tool(Rawnalyze) that furthers the understanding of the workings of digital photography.
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Aug 21 2010

Shooting at the 2010 Monterey Historics

Dave Anderson

I went on a drive/outing with a few fellow NorCal 928’ers to the Monterey Historics on Aug. 14, 2010. Of course I wanted to take my camera and get some shots. I love old machinery, especially old cars so combining this with photography was a double bonus.

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Jul 31 2010

Installing Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ballhead on Tiltall Tripod

Dave Anderson

This weekend, having collected and fabricated the necessary parts, it was time to upgrade the head on the venerable Uniphot tripod that I purchased around 1988. The tripod has served me well for all these years, though really the dual-handle head tilt mechanism isn’t always ideal. Often it moves when tightening, and while I have learned to mentally compensate for this my recent forays into shooting panoramas have sometimes been frustrating because of this. Getting my node rail properly leveled was much more fiddly than it needed to be. I’m shooting longer lenses these days(and wider sometimes, but that’s another story). When trying, for example, to get a shot of the moon with a 500mm lens the tiny bit of movement upon tightening the head makes for quite a shift in the image centering. Below are some details and pics…

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Mar 29 2010

About My Tiltall tripods…

Dave Anderson

This subject was the catalyst for me to set up a blog. Gary Regester has a terrific page dedicated to the history of Tiltall Tripods plus sources for updated center columns, spare parts, etc. here and a Tiltall-specific blog here. I contacted Gary to point out some differences between the knowledge posted on the two sites above and my own observations based on the tripod that I bought new about 20 years ago, also to share some enhancements I have made with the help of my brother. Gary suggested that I provide links to my blog so that I could offer these enhancements to “The Cult of Tiltall” followers. Funny thing is, I didn’t have a blog at the time. 😀

Well, here is that info. I have not yet spoken with my brother about producing the parts in quantity, if there is sufficient interest I will do so. Before proceeding I will need to understand the specific differences between Tiltall variations that would affect fitment of these parts, so if I have anything wrong please let me know.

Also in this post I will show the Leitz version that I picked up recently for about $40 that was manhandled and needs some TLC, along with my observations as to how it differs from my Uniphot model.

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Mar 28 2010

Photoshop CS5 gets "Content-Aware Fill"

Dave Anderson

Photoshsop CS5(along with other Creative Suite applications) launches April 12, 2010 “at 8am PDT”. :) I guess they state a time so everyone can stand by with their finger on the download button. 😀

Anyway, the “Content Aware Fill” has been in the buzz on various forums, so I thought I would go ahead and post a note about it, and include the demo video plus an extra demo that you may not have seen: Continue reading