Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Looking ahead to 2013

No, this blog hasn't been abandoned, I have just been really busy.

First off, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Canon 40D, Pentax 50mm f/4 macro (M42 mount), 1/60, f/4, ISO 1000
Here's a fun picture of a Christmas bauble. The cool thing about photographing a reflecting sphere is that the reflection contains a complete view of the whole room, the only thing missing is the portion directly behind the sphere itself. So now you know what the ground floor of our flat looks like, including our little wire Christmas baobab. My wife, Erica, wrote the greeting back to front so that it looks correct on the photo. Alternatively, I could have flipped the image horizontally. If you look closely, you'll see that the Canon logo on my camera is still reversed.


Another cool thing about this shot is that I used my lovely little Pentax Super-Multi-Coated Macro Takumar 50mm f/4 lens. This lens was built some time in the 1970's (serial number is 5950069, if anybody can figure out from this exactly when it was made, please comment). It has an M42 mount, that is a screw mount with 42mm diameter that was first introduced by Zeiss in 1938 and popularised by Pentax in the 1960's and 1970's, before they changed to their K-mount.

M42 lenses are really cheap (I bought mine for R300 - that's about $35!), are often optically excellent (so long as you avoid zoom lenses, those really were lousy back then), and can be mounted on Canons using a cheap and simple adaptor. The front element is ridiculously small (50mm/4 = 12.5mm) and deeply recessed in a black cone, so it looks a bit strange. It's an incredibly solidly built little thing, with a very smooth focus ring. The image quality is fantastic, and it focuses down to about 23cm.

In general I can highly recommend getting old manual focus lenses with obsolete mounts, and using them with adaptors. You can get some real gems for a bargain. I also have some others, including a Leica Summicron-R 50mm f/2, and a Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 (in C/Y mount).

You don't need to be a rocket scientist... appear on a NASA website! Having my shot appear on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day was one the highlights of my year.

So near and yet so far...


My Quiver Trees by Night 2 image was entered in a number of competitions. After the disappointment of the Canon SA competition, it again got within sniffing distance of a 5D3 in the DLSR Training Competition. Pity, but actually the winning image is absolutely stunning, and I'm proud to have gotten so far in the face of such stiff competition. Looks like I'll keep using my trusty old 40D; at least I don't have to buy a bunch of full-frame lenses now.

Quiver Trees by Night 2

Looking ahead


I have a number of things lined up for this blog in the near future. First is a completely new online print gallery, where it will be much easier to view and buy prints of my images. A special thanks to all of you who have bought my prints, may they give you much pleasure for years to come!

I am especially pleased that Andrew Carter, an excellent landscape photographer from Australia, has agreed to write a guest post on this blog. That'll be up very soon.

I also have a few things I would like to post when I get around to it. I have a number of pictures of lemurs and chameleons from last year's trip to Madagascar, and I'd also like to write something about infrared photography. Here is something to tide you over until then. Enjoy!

Been telling fibs again!
Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 f/4 IS + Raynox closeup adaptor, 1/250, f/22, ISO 100, flash

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