Archive for the 'Photo' Category

Macro shot or Danish Palm Trees…

• Friday, May 11th, 2007

Oak leaves in sunset (click for larger)

… ok, in case you don’t know: There aren’t terribly many palm trees living natively in Denmark, and this is probably as close as you get to such a thing — with “close” here of course having a subtle dual-meaning, since it is a macro shot 😉

It may be a slightly unusual macro shot, but it is depicting a leaf on an oak tree in our garden, just about to unfold, with the setting sun in the background.

It is taken with the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR macro at f/5.6 @ 1/2500th. I guess the bokeh seen in the setting sun is a combination of the real bokeh of the lens and some internal reflections, but whatever strange character it has, I feel it just adds to the image.

As usual, click the image to see it larger.

Anyway, just to show that not all is about disk crashes and computer problems. The server now seems to be fully back in business, and hopefully the new disk will last for some years before it needs to be replaced!

Spring is here…

• Friday, March 16th, 2007


After a rather short vinter, spring seems to be approaching — at least here in Denmark, where the temperatures approached 14C yesterday. A rather big differenced compared to the very windy -10C I experienced last week in Manhattan, but more in line with the temperatures here in Southern France, where I am right now.

And with spring, flowers start appearing in the our lawn.

One of them is depicted here. Even though macro photographs are probably best done with a macro optics, the one depicted here shows that very sharp results can be done with less dedicated equipment.

This flower is shot with a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, using a Canon 500D achromatic diopter mounted in front. The disadvantage is of course that you can only focus on things 30-50cm in front of the lens, and there are some slight traces of chromatic aberation present if you look really hard.

But it allows you to work at full aperture, f/2.8, so autofocus works really well. Even vibration reduction (VR) works surprisingly well. And the zoom allows you to quickly frame the shot and vary the reproduction ratio all the way down to 1:1.6, which at least partly compensates for the limited focusing abilities. Here, I had the D200 in AF-C mode using the AF-ON button to maintain the focus, compensating for the lack of VR in this 3rd direction.

Oh, and the working distance is of course excellent, compared to what is usually achieved with e.g. a 60mm macro lens or even a 90-105mm macro lens.

So all in all, for an occasional macro photographer it allows for sharp pictures in a pinch, with an easily portable solution. If you anyway can fit the 70-200mm into your bag, there surely also is room for the screw-in 500D two-lens “filter” type diopter.

The full sized picture is here, if you want to see things at 1:1.

Shallow DOF

• Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Anne Dorte

Using a shallow DOF can create an interesting effect, as it attracts attention to the parts in focus.

I have often used this effect, shooting at f/2.8 or f/4 with my 85mm f/1.8, but I decided to try out an even more extreme version: shooting wide open on my 50mm f/1.4. The 50mm f/1.8 isn’t that interesting wide open as the drop in contrast is rather pronounced, and it needs to be stopped down a little to be sharp enough for most use. And at f/2.8 it really isn’t any sharper than the 17-55mm f/2.8 wide open.

The 50mm f/1.4, however, is a slightly different story, since it doesn’t loose exactly the same amount of contrast (even if there is some loss). But it has a somewhat dreamy effect that can be used creatively. And of course, at f/2 it performs better than the 50mm f/1.8, so for these types of shots it performs better than the classic f/1.8 workhorse — although nowhere near the famous 85mm f/1.4, which is not in my posession, though.

Anyway, the shot here is of Anne Dorte, and I guess it shows the classical use of shallow DOF: Eyes sharp in focus, everything else not in focus, and background blurred beyond recognition. Taken indoor with available window light at 200 ISO, handheld. Processed with Capture NX and resized with Photoshop. Click the picture to see a slighly larger version.

Japanese culture

• Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Having just arrived back to Europe from a business trip to Tokyo, Japan, it once again striked me how cultural differences has a big impact on our behaviour and perception.

In general, I find Japanese people very friendly and I like travelling in Japan. Usually when going somewhere, I often grab a Latte at the nearest Starbucks (possibly a Venti with an extra shot, making it a quad-shot), and this time was no exception. Entering Starbucks with my collegue, a younger japanese women was about to exit. Being polite, we held the door open for her and waited until she had passed us… much to her surprise! We were apparently terribly wrong in doing so, since we were 1) male and even 2) (European) business-men dressed in tie, for whom you apparently give way if you’re a japanese woman. We were equally surprised of her reaction in turn, of course.

Another noticeable difference was the treatment of smokers. Sure, most places requires people to take a stroll outside to smoke, but the strange thing was that many taxis has a slight “scent” of smoke. Apparently it is permitted to smoke inside a taxi, and most even seem to have a special air-cleaning system installed to cope with the smoke. The thing most striking, though, was that at the time of my travel, the headline news in the US was the fact that Barack Obama is a smoker. And this, according to some, makes him unsuitable as a president! Now, I’m glad I’m not a smoker, but I doubt it really disqualifies anyone from being the next Mr. President…

The Emperors Palace, Tokyo

Anyway, as usual, I’m attaching a picture taken during the trip. This was actually done with my Nokia camera-phone with its 3MPix Carl Zeiss optics, and the panorama of the emperors palace has been quickly stitched in Photomerge (PS CS2). I did have my trusty Nikon D70 with me also, but not when I had the chance to make this shot, taken near the central railway station in Tokyo.

Billeder af Fam. Johannsen m.m.

• Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

d2c_7073-01.jpgBilleder af Familien Johannsen til Domino m.m. ligger her

Jeg har sorteret dem i hvad jeg synes er “de bedste“, og så “resten“. Som sædvanligt er en del af “resten” nok ikke så brugbare, men kan måske være sjove at se af andre årsager.

Billederne er afbalanceret nogenlunde til den hvidbalance som er brugt, men de 3 flash er en smule forskellige, så der kan være små variationer der måske bør rettes i korrektur.

Der er også enkelte billeder som burde have en hurtig tur med photoshop for enten at fjerne et par løsgående reflekser som er kommet med eller for at retouchere et hjørne af en baggrund som har sneget sig ind i det synlige område.

Alle billeder har behov for sharpening passende til udkørselsformatet.

Billeder af musikskolens lærere

• Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Portrætbillederne af musikskolens lærere er nu tilgængelige online, og kan findes ved at klikke her. De ligger både usorteret og i et sæt med ét billede af hver, som jeg synes er det bedste. Hvis nogle af jer ikke er enige, så send mig blot en mail (se nedenfor).

Bemærk at man kan se billederne som et “slideshow” ved at klikke på knappen i øverste højre hjørne — men det er også muligt at bladre frem og tilbage selv med f.eks. pil-tasterne.

Det er muligt at download’e billederne i en mellem opløsning, som er tilstrækkelig til at lave alm 10×15 cm print i god kvalitet.

Hvis nogen har brug for billederne i fuldt format, på rigtigt foto papir eller gerne vil bruge dem i anden sammenhæng, så send en mail til mig (baekgaard at b4net punktum dk — for at undgå spam har jeg ikke skrevet mail adressen rigtigt, så husk at erstatte “at” med et @ og punktum med et .). Evt. kommentarer kan lægges her (klik til højre for titlen).

Og iøvrigt tak for en, som altid, god og hyggelig weekend!

Great Belt at Dusk

• Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Beach at Great Belt

OK, so I decided that sometimes working a bit more on the actual presentation does indeed make a difference.

New Years day was windy, and while visiting my wife’s sister, Bente, I went for a series of quick shots at the beach as the sun was setting, leaving the rest of the family to complete the lunch. With gusts approaching 20 m/s or more, it was indeed a bit difficult to hold on to the camera, not speaking of holding it firmly enough avoid shake. Alas, VR to the rescue (most shots were taken with the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR or the Tokina 12-24mm f/4, which doesn’t need VR)! So I ended up with a string of shots that at first looked a bit boring in the flat light.

This was what prompted me to play around with a flash presentation, even though I have never really liked flash for the reason of not being able to decide the pace of a slideshow myself. After some investigation, I ended up with soundslides, which is a neat little program that does exactly what it’s supposed to, and not more.

So after some careful treatment of the best shots in Lightroom, most notably tweaking the white balance and vibrance, and after a couple of edits and reviews (thanks, Gert!) I ended up with this. Remember to switch on the speakers, and enjoy a short piece of classical music. Hope you like it too?