Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blurring the Background

I took a photo of this creation at a cluttered antique mall.  The camera I use most often for this type of photo allows no control over depth of field so the background is more in focus than I would like.

To make the subject stand out more I used Photoshop to make a selection of the subject and then I did some blurring of the background.

Most photo editors have some capability to do selections and blurring.  Editors like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and The Gimp have pretty extensive options in this area.  So if you don't like how the focus came out in your image you have many options for making a change.  The ends and outs of making a selection and various blurring options are beyond my ability to cover in a brief post.  I will say that gaining some skill in making selections will add greatly to your ability to get your photos to look the way you intend.

Along with the blur brush Photoshop has a blurring filter with several options.  Here I used the motion blur option.  It lets you change the degree of the motion blur and the angle of the blur.

The motion blur filter in Photoshop. It has been a while since I have used Photoshop Elements, however I seem to remember that it had similar options.

The Gimp photo editor also has a blurring filter with several options.  If you are looking for a photo editor The Gimp may be a good option.  It is free and has many of the same capabilities as Photoshop. 

My main idea with this post is just to introduce some options to some who may not have heard of them.  If you do a search enough info exists on this topic to keep anyone busy for many days. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Circular Polarizer and more Holga HL-C

A couple of days ago there were some nice clouds which have been rare this summer. To make the clouds stand out more I used a circular polarizing filter. 

If you don't know about polarizing filters The Luminous Landscape has a good section about polarizing filters.  If you do much landscape photography a polarizing filter is very helpful.

Here along with helping with the clouds I think the polarizer also helps with the color saturation. 

In the post on Tuesday  I forgot to mention that most of the time I use the fish-eye attachment with the Holga HL-C when using a camera that is not full-frame. With the smaller sensor there is no fish-eye effect, however there is an amount of distortion that I like. 

An example of using the fish-eye attachment with an APS sensor.

That's all for today. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holga Lens for Canon Digital in Downtown Champaign Illinois

I don't have any kind of ideological preference for film or digital. I think both have their place in image-making. I do think it is unfortunate that many photographers do have some prejudices or just a lack of curiosity that inhibits their range of image-making tools. Myself I like going using both film and digital.  I also like using different lenses even if they are cheap plastic ones. Many times I have been happily surprised by such exploration.

Yesterday was the kind of bright sunny day that the Holga lens for Canon does well with. If you haven't heard of this lens I wrote about it here.

Radio Maria is a restaurant in downtown Champaign.  The name is my current favorite local restaurant name.

Photomatix has an option to make a HDR image from a single raw file.  Here I used that to add some pop to the Holga HL-C image.  The seating is for the Blind Pig in downtown Champaign.  The building in the background is the Champaign City Building.

Sometimes a digital image doesn't need color.  I used Topaz BW Effects to convert this image.

Overall I was pleased with how things came out with using the Holga HL-C.  The time of day when I took these images is one where the light is still fairly harsh around here.  I think the Holga HL-C softened and diffused the light well.
Holga HL-C in Champaign Illinois Gallery

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Images from the Forties

If you have looked here over the past few months you may have already seen the galleries I made with some negatives I found in old film containers.  My best guess is that this was from a family centered around Saint Joseph, Illinois. And were mostly taken during the 1940's.  Here are some of the other galleries:

Found Negatives
Found Film 2
A 1940's Visit to the Country
Family Reunion at Crystal Lake Park

This roll of negatives is all of people. Some of whom you may have seen before in other galleries, and at least one new family member.

When I first saw this image the word, "King Baby" popped into my head.

Notice the women reflected in the mirror.  I was hoping that I might also be able to see the photographer in the reflection, however I could not.  Still don't know what camera was used for these pictures. 

This couple and the child have been other rolls of film. Until now I had thought thin ties were the fashion of the Forties.

I don't mean to be unkind, however my first thought about this image is that she reminds me of Margaret Hamilton from the Wizard of Oz.

Lastly, here is a man who makes some appearances on other rolls.  He appears to be in the Army Air Forces. I talked some about him in an earlier post.

So far I have scanned maybe ten rolls of film for the images in the various galleries.  And while they all have been very curled, along with dust spots and scratches, they again show films value for the long-term storing of images.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kentmere 400 and Xtol

I was not happy with the fairly large and course grain that I was getting developing Kentmere 400 in HC-110.  I tried a few different times and methods, however none gave results that I liked much.  So I decided to try some Xtol.  I like Xtol and it is supposed to be a fairly environmentally friendly developer.  The downside for me is that it requires that I mix up a five liter batch.  Not as convenient as one-shot developers like HCC-110 and Rodinal.  Still I have been planning to do more B&W and figure that I will be able to use up this batch before it goes bad.

My first attempt was using 1+1 solution at 68 for 10 minutes.  The camera is the Olympus XA.

Another with 1+1 and the Olympus XA.  Overall all I was pleased with the grain and detail with this effort.

Here I used stock solution at 68 for 7:30.  I was pleased here with the range of tones along with the sharpeness, grain, and contrast.  The camera here was a Minolta Maxxum with the 50mm f/1.7 lens. 

 Another with the stock solution and the Minolta Maxxum.

After this test I do believe that very good results can be had from Kentmere 400 when used with Xtol. Which is good since I still have quite a lot of the film and the developer to use.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Bentley and a Lexxus

I can only speculate on the the rational for naming these cameras.  It probably would be fascinating to talk to someone who was involved in the actual naming.

Both cameras were likely give-a-ways or very cheaply sold cameras during the 1980's.  The Lexxus has the feature of a sliding lens cover.  The Bentley has three choices in aperture setting.  The Bentley also likely has some lead added for extra weight because it is much heavier than a plastic camera should be.

My favorite photo from the only roll of film that I have taken with the Bentley. 

The Lexxus's rendering of an old fuel pump.

The Bentley and the Lexxus fall into the category of cameras that I have only taken a few pictures with.  And it is highly likely that I will not take pictures with either again.  Still at least they deserve a little place in the sun, so I made a Toy Camera Gallery for photos for these two and some other cameras that fall into the same catergory. Hopefully I will add more cameras when I get the inclination.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Zeiss Ikon Nettar II 517/16

Made: 1949 to 1958
Film: 120
Lens: Novar 1:6.3/75mm
Shutter: Vario leaf, 1/25 sec – 1/200 sec
Viewfinder: Optical direct vision

The best thing about the Nettar to me is that it is the only medium format camera that I have which can be carried in a pant pocket.  I've done this a few times without any trouble when I took the Nettar along for a bike ride.  The Nettar was an economy camera, however that doesn't mean that it lacked quality.  Even after 50 years my version looks good and performs well. The three element Novar lens does pretty well although it does have a tendency to vignette.  The Vario shutter wasn't top of the line back in its day, however it still seems accurate over its limited range of speeds.  The 517/16 version takes 12 6x6 images on 120 film.  The exposures are counted  by the red window method.  One nice feature is that there is a slide to hide the red window between winds.

There is no double exposure prevention so occasionally I get shots like this.

The Nettar is a scale focusing camera and has no exposure meter.  The way I use the Nettar most often is to set it at the aperture and distance suggested by red dots on the aperture and focusing rings.  That way the focus runs from around seven feet to infinity.  These settings work pretty well for general purpose daylight shooting.  And it would seem that with its widest aperture being f/6.3 that the Nettar is pretty much limited to daylight shooting without a flash.  The 517/16 does have a hot shoe, however not being much of a flash photographer I know nothing of the Nettar's flash abilities.

The folders that Zeiss Ikon made used leather for the bellows which seem to hold up better than the cloth ones.  My Nettar is one of the rare folders of its vintage that I have encountered that still has a bellows without any problems. I think because the bellows tend to hold up and the rest of the camera appears to be of good quality and durable, that you are more likely to find a Nettar in good working order than with many similar cameras of its age.

Zeiss Ikon Nettar II 517/16 Gallery

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Introduced: 1997
Lens:  Canon 35mm f/4.5, 3 elements in 3 groups.
Shutter: Auto/Flash ON mode:(ISO 100) 1/100,f/4.5 to 1/180,f/11, Flash OFF mode: 1/45,f/4.5 to 1/180,f/11
Battery: Two AA

Haven't done a point & shoot for a while so here is the Canon SURESHOT Owl.  The main feature with this camera is the big viewfinder. Canon says it is three times the size of a conventional viewfinder and can easily be used by someone wearing eyeglasses.  All the modes are on one fairly large sized dial.

The Owl seems like it was a pretty okay camera for taking pictures of your  cats or kids.

I thought this was an interesting picture.  I didn't see the bird when I took it.

I can't think of much else to say about this camera other then in its day it did its job. I will add that I think that it is one of the more appealing looking plastic point & shoots.  I don't think it comes through that well in my photo, however in person the camera does have the look and feel of a little owl.
Canon SURESHOT Gallery

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photax III

First Made: 1947
Lens: Boyer Série VIII
Shutter speeds: 1/100, 1/25, T
Film: 620
Image size: 6x9
This camera has a button for the shutter release rather than the release that has an option for a cable release.  This model is supposed to be rare.

Another camera that I got because I liked the way it looked.  Also it was made in France and I did not have a French camera at the time.  My Photax III is one in a series of Photax camera made by M.I.O.M., a plastics products manufacturer. Like a lot of companies at the time they apparently decided to try to get in on the market for easy to use family type cameras.  And they appear to have succeeded.    The Photax line stayed in production from the late 1930's until the 1960's.

The Agfa Clack would likely be competition for the Photax line in Europe.  By my experience the Clack is the better picture taker.  Although I think the Photax is better looking.

The Photax III is almost entirely made of Bakelite and does seem like it may be fragile.  So far I haven't dropped it to find out.  It does not seem like it would survive some of the careless handling that a camera like the Clack would shake off. And for me at least that seeming fragility does inhibit my shooting with the Photax III. That along with the need to rewind 120 film onto the 620 spool has limited me to just a couple of rolls of film through the Photax III.  For the present I am keeping the Photax III just because I like to look at it.