Thursday, May 30, 2013

St. Marks NWR Part 4

Yes, I went back yet again. St. Marks is proving to be a fertile ground for photography.

I focused again on 4x5 images. They were shot with the Schneider 47mm f/5.6 XL, Nikkor 90mm f/8, Schneider Symmar-S 210mm f/5.6, or Nikkor-M 300mm f/9:


Sunday, May 26, 2013

St. Marks NWR Part 3

I actually went to St. Marks again last Sunday with a couple of friends. I only shot a few sheets of 4x5, but it was fun nevertheless. Here's the results (the first shot is with the Nikkor 300mm f/9, the rest with the 90mm f/8):


This last one was my first-ever T-Max 400 negative. I developed it in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100 for 9 minutes. This is a classic combination recommended often, and it didn't disappoint. The grain is about as fine as T-Max in Rodinal despite being a 400-speed film. I definitely will be using it again - I honestly don't know why it took me so long to try TMY.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Comprehensive Test of Five Nikkor Lenses in the 28mm and 35mm Focal Lengths

This is something I've been meaning to do for a while - a test between the three different 35mm and two 28mm lenses I own. Why? Well, to decide which one would be best for a typical landscape.

I simply set up my tripod in the backyard and shot frames with all of the lenses with some trees at/near infinity and looked at the center and one corner. I used my Nikon D800E. The corner doesn't match between the two different focal lengths obviously. I did a simple edit in Lightroom and applied the same edit to every photo.

I tested the lenses at full aperture (different for each lens), f/2.8, and f/8. I'm throwing out the full aperture test if the lens was faster than f/2.8 because they were all uniformly terrible.

Let's see if I can get these photos to line up okay:

                                      f/2.8                                                                                      f/8

35mm f/1.4 AI:        

35mm f/2 AF:         

35mm f/2.8 pre-AI: 

28mm f/2 AI:          

28mm f/2.8 AI-S     

Okay. Still with me? As you can see, most of the shots at f/8 look about the same. Interestingly, looking at the file size, generally speaking it corresponds with the amount of detail in the photo. Anyway - so who wins? Well, the 35mm f/1.4 definitely loses. Even at f/8 it's not that good. The one that stands out (as I expected, actually) is the 28mm f/2 AI lens. The surprise here is that the 35mm f/2.8, though dismal wide-open at f/2.8, at f/8 is quite good, easily beating the modern AF lens. I know from experience that this is a sharp lens, especially on 35mm b&w film. If I would've continued to stop down, it might've stuck out and beaten the 28mm f/2 at f/11 or f/16 (the issues of diffraction here are a topic that I won't broach in this article). The much-vaunted 28mm f/2.8 doesn't really hit the mark (and no surprise as it shines more in close-focus type shooting) and the 35mm f/2 AF-D lens really doesn't perform that well. To its credit though it did take a fall two years ago and may or may not be in 100% condition.

Now the corners are where things get interesting. If you are still interested, click on "Read more" to see the rest of my test!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Baby Alligators!

I was reorganizing some film Friday and found a box of 4x5 Velvia 100F which I had purchased last year, out-of-date, and never tested. So I loaded up 6 sheets to test it out and went to Grand Bay.

I ended up seeing a whole host of baby gators about midway down the boardwalk. I have never seen gators this young in the wild - they were less than a foot long each. I must have counted at least 8! Luckily I had grabbed my 300mm f/9 Nikkor lens so I had somewhat of a long lens to capture them.

Here are two photos of the gators:

And here is a cropped shot of the first photo. This is approximately the size of a 645 slide I believe:

I also shot a couple of other photos there:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - Part 2

And now for part two. These are the 4x5 images I took at St. Marks. Most were done with the Nikkor 90mm f/8. For the wildlife images I used my Nikkor 720mm f/16 telephoto (my first time using it successfully!). I also used my Nikkor 450mm f/9 and Schnieder 210mm f/5.6 for a couple:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - Part 1

Last weekend Meagan and I drove out to St. Marks NWR. This coastal Florida refuge is a beautiful place, with thousands of acres of pristine marshland and coastline.

I've been busy developing all of the images I took that day. This first batch is from two rolls of film I shot in my 2x3 Century camera (with the 80mm Xenotar lens). The color film was Provia 100F and the b&w film was T-Max 100. I'm almost through with the 4x5 images but that will be for another day.

Here are the images from St. Marks:


We also stopped at a small, rural cemetery on the way back that I found. I love old cemeteries - I think it's fascinating to see the historical record of people who lived in the area decades ago. Anyway, here are a couple photos:

More images from St. Marks coming soon!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Carl Zeiss Jena 16.5cm f/2.7 Biotessar Test Shots

I jumped at a sale for this lens that I've always wanted to try. It's an extremely fast lens for 4x5, almost as fast as the famous "Aero Ektar" lenses but much lighter and easier to put in a shutter so they don't have to be used on a Speed Graphic (though using it wide-open in full sun you might wish you had a Speed Graphic's FP shutter!).

Anyway, since the whole point is speed and shallow depth-of-field, I shot a few images with a lot out of focus. It's definitely a very different way of seeing the landscape. I also discovered that this lens seems to exhibit focus-shift when stopped down, if you focus wide-open, so I'll have to be mindful of that in the future.

Here's the photos, taken before I went to work at Drexel Park:


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reed Bingham State Park - Spring 2013

The weather in south GA (when not raining!) has been really nice lately. We are in the middle of our short-lived "springtime" before it gets hot and humid again.

I've gone to Reed Bingham State Park a few times lately during the nice weather. I've taken a variety of photos all over the park, both with my Pentax 67 and 2x3 Graphic, with either Portra 160, Astia 100F, Provia 100F, or T-Max 100 films. I also discovered that my focus panel for the Graphic had the ground glass backwards, throwing off my focus by about 6 feet behind my intended spot - so excuse the slightly out-of-focus shots near the end: