Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Say Hello to My Little Friend

I've always believed that the quiet anchor to The Clarity of Night is photography. I'm only an amateur (as if I had to tell you that, LOL!) A wannabe. But I did go through a pretty big photography stage as a teenager, and I have to admit, that it's become another treasured creative outlet for me. Anyway, you get the picture. (Pun intended.)

So back to blogging.... My theory has been that to effectively write in this internet/blog, you really have to adopt a more multimedia approach to build interest and harness its full power. Photography, videos,'s all good. All the photos you see here are mine, except on rare occasion. I use photos to inspire me and use stories to inspire photos. Once in a great while, I even post a little bit on photography itself. (Ahem.)

If you've been with me a while, you know I often love to explore close, small subjects. Like the post just below this one. Buds, insects, frogs, flowers, etc. I like get right in there. However, I've lacked an essential tool to do it relatively well. And that's a macro lens.

For those non-photographers out there, macro lenses are specialty lenses that can achieve a subject ratio of 1:1. Basically, that means that the subject will appear to be actual size on the camera sensor. However, since photos are viewed much larger than the size of the sensor, finished photos have a magnified effect.

Why am I blathering about this? Well, without further ado, let me introduce the Nikkor AF-S Micro 105mm ED VR lens (pictured above). I treated myself for my birthday (thanks Aine!!), and snagged this baby. It's my first professional-grade lens. CAN YOU TELL I'M EXCITED?!

Another cool thing about this lens is that the focal length (105mm) makes it a good portrait and general subject lens. I'm thinking I'll get lots of use from it, although my previous workhorse lens will still be important in my landscape photography, especially when I do shots from a moving car.

Here one extra tidbit. The picture in the last post features an impossible range of focus. Macro lenses have notoriously thin fields of view. For example, here is the same shot, but with only the back of the twig in focus.

For last post's picture, I've used a technique called stacking. It's a composite picture formed from 5 different shots, each having a different part of the subject in focus. The stacking program then integrates all 5 shots by choosing only those portions in focus. The end result is a single picture with everything in focus. Pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, I don't talk photography much, so thank you for indulging me. Now and again, I get the itch.


Anonymous said...

Happy shooting!

Catherine Vibert said...

I am so incredibly jealous of your new lens purchase. But Happy Birthday! I treated myself to a digital SLR with a good workhorse lens last fall for my birthday. But the lens collection awaits a funds collection, so I can't get all macro which I pine over.
Did you use photoshop to stack? I'm glad you told us the technique. Very cool.

JaneyV said...

Happy Birthday. Hubby will be jealous of your new lens. He enjoyed your last post on stacking btw. Do continue to do these they are really interesting. I learn ever such a lot over here.

SzélsőFa said...

Happy Birthday, Jason, and congratulations on receiving this mighty lens!
May a whole long bunch of photos uploaded to this blog help you and us to learn, explore and enjoy photography and the world around us.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I realized that I was smiling the whole time I was reading your post. I guess I felt your enthusiam through your words.

Your pictures have always been amazing. Can't wait to see what's in store!

Oh, and Happy Birthday - with many happy returns of the day.

Aine said...

You're welcome!!

Nothing makes me happier than the smile on your face! :)

Looking forward to great photos this year! (Not that the past photos were shabby...) Your passion for photography is inspiring. I'm thrilled to be able to watch each stage of your experimenting and learning. Thank you for adding this hobby to our lives!

Vesper said...

Well, hello, Jason's new little friend! :-)
And here's looking forward to many more beautiful photos from such a talented "wannabe". :-)

But, now I realise that I missed your birthday, Mr. Capricorn. I'm sorry! Many happy returns of the day, Jason, and all the best!

Sarah Hina said...

If you're a wannabe, the rest of us are in trouble. ;)

It's a beautiful lens, and you'll take beautiful, inspiring photos with it. I love the new perspective, the wonderful clarity.

And as someone's who's just gotten the photogrphy itch, I can see a glorious future to come. Now I just need another birthday. ;)

The Preacherman said...

point the thing and press the button.

If it doesn't work sulk until the wifey buys you an easier one...

The Preacher guide to photography

Anonymous said...

Aggie, I'm on it. :)

Catvibe, my birthday is early in the month, but I haven't been able to do much photography because of the crappy weather. My workhorse lens is a great walk-around lens. 18-200mm zoom. However, it's a jack of all trades, master of none situation. As for the stacking program, I can find you the link. It's a program called Combine (I think). And even better, it's free!!

Janey, tell hubby to keep the faith. :) And egging me on to talk more photography is dangerous. Trust me. ;)

Szelsofa, thanks for encouragement! I'm really looking forward to forest photography this year.

Kaye, yeah, I think enthusiasm crept in there. I'm really looking forward to all of the inspiration the images will bring!

Aine, well, I'm really smiling at your comment, so mission accomplished. :) :) Thanks again for being such a great partner!

Vesper, no worries on my birthday. It slips in right after New Year's Day when folks are dog tired from celebrating. (And the lens says 'hi' back. :) )

Sarah, thank you! :) I see glory in your future too. Can you do a half birthday celebration? President's day present? A gift just because you're you?? ;)

Preacherman, that may be a much healthier approach. :)

Anil Sawan said...

wowwieee.. congratz.. your new friend looks gorgeous :)Nikon!! its like a dream to me, its pretty expensive out here :(

Aniket Thakkar said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you Jason (though its not like my wishes can go back and make your Birthday any better... and as we all can see Aine took care of it that it was a darn good one for you! So keep the wishes as a gesture :)... may the pics you take make you happier than each preceding day... (and may you remeber my such nice comments when u judge my story in the next contest lolzzzzzz)

Aniket Thakkar said...

Hey... did you update the "About Me" in your profile or did I just notice it? So you are an attorney... Am sure you would have read the Perry Mason series then!! I louuvhh Della Street!!!! And you have been working on "SO THIS FISH WALKS INTO A CEMETERY" since 2005???? Gosh... It ought to be grand if you are putting so much thought into it...

jaz said...

Enjoy your new toy! I'm one of those people who doesn't see what the problem is if I take all of my pics with the camera on my blackberry so I definitely appreciate people who know what they are doing.

By the way, I was following your blog and then today noticed I was not following your blog. Technically. Just wanted you to know that I Am Following Your Blog. Again, but still, you know?

Karen said...

Jason, Happy Belated Birthday! I am envious of anyone with the patience to take five pictures to get one! I, like some of the others, aim and click. Sometimes, I even get what I'm aiming for. My son, however, who is a really good photographer, is itching, itching!

I look forward to seeing more of your great photos.

Anonymous said...

Sawan, I have to trust that the dream will come true. :)

Aniket, thanks for the birthday wishes!! I have high hopes for you in my next contest. As for my profile, it's the same. To be honest, I steer away from lawyer stories, and always have. As a child, I wanted to be a physician, never a lawyer. So what do I do? Health care law. Makes sense, right? (Regarding my novel, I've been working on a total reworking and rewrite for about a year. It really is a different book entirely. So no, I haven't been working this text that long.)

Jennifer, I've been known to snap a few camera phone pictures too. :) They're usually heavily photoshopped, though. (Thanks for adding me to your followed blogs! I've been enjoying stopping by yours.)

Karen, you know, now that you put it that way...I guess five for one is sort of crazy. ;) But then again, I do love pushing the envelope. Digital photography can let you do amazing things.

Aniket Thakkar said...

At least you are somewhere close to what you wanted to be... I wanted to become so many things... lawyer... doctor... pilot... mafia boss... SIS soldier... everyone at one point or other in life.... and ended up being a software developer! I guess I took up writing just to bring all those things I dreamt of to paper!

Chris said...

Congrats on a fab lens. I just got my first DSLR this Chrismtas as my Dad passed down to me his old Nikon D70. I'm in the process of trying to find a 50mm lens myself. I'm with you on your enthusiasm for the whole photography thing :)

Anonymous said...

Aniket, sounds like a good plan!

Chris, maybe a zoom would give you a little extra capacity to work with. Good luck with it! Keep us posted.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Stacking - I use that same technique in my writing. Congrats on the new equipment.