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Archive for September, 2009

Photo Walking downtown Vancouver, BC

September 9, 2009 3 comments

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been trying to get out and shoot more. This is generally done while I walk to work and home from work in Vancouver. On 8/29 I was downtown and went up a street under construction and found the Vogue Theater featured below. This old 1920’s style movie house still has some appealing character. My post production on this image is reminiscent of the time and has a Holga/Pin-Hole camera feel to it.

The Vogue Theater. Vancouver, BC

The Vogue Theater. Vancouver, BC

Because of my background in Architecture, I really enjoy photographing old buildings like this. I am going to have to re-visit it when there is a more dynamic sky and colors to bring out the textures of the buildings facade. While not a normal look for one of my B&W images, I was pleased with how this turned out.

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Prickly – Macro Photography and Kenko Extension Tubes

September 9, 2009 5 comments

With this winter approaching I thought I would try something different and get into some Macro Photography. Being that I already had Nikkor’s 105mm f2.8 Macro Lens (Also a great portrait lens) All I needed was some extension tubes and focusing rails to get the REALLY close up shots.

Extension tubes are designed to let a lens focus closer than its normal minimal focusing distance. Getting closer to the subject as the effect of magnifying it allowing more detail to appear in the image.  These tubes allow the photographer to take any lens and virtually turn it into a Macro lens at a fraction of the cost while preserving the optical quality of the base lens.

Being that this was a new area for me to venture into, I wanted to do some research and make an informed purchase. I looked at a few makers of extension tubes and decided to purchase the Kenko DG Extension tube set for my Nikon D700 and D300. The Kenko DG tubes have no optics and are true extension tubes. They come in the same range that the Nikkor tubes come in and have the same  metal Nikon mount featured on the Nikkor tubes. The key difference between the Nikon tubes and the Kenko tubes is that the Kenko tubes have the terminals to allow TTL metering and Autofocus to work through the tube where the Nikon tubes are the same ones they have made for 30 years and dont allow TTL nor autofocus through the tube.

Close up of a weed

Close-up of a weed

Another key difference is construction. The Nikkor tubes are made of the same metal casing that their lenses are made of. The entire tube is metal construction where the Kenko tubes are made of a high-grade impact plastic but are fitted with metal mounts, spring loaded mount clips and the metal terminals for the TTL and Auto focus.

I had read on several sites that some people were afraid to use the Kenko tubes because of the construction. I can tell you that after close inspection I had no doubts about connecting a $1300 lens to these tubes. In fact, not only did I attach the lens to all three, I shot my sample above on my tripod with focusing rails. So, there was a lot of lens hanging off the end of my D700 mount and it functioned perfectly.

Now, having said that, I would not attach a 70-200mm nor the 80-400mm lens on all three tubes with out support provided by a tripod lens support. Both of those lenses are heavy and that would be a 4 inch extension. Thats a great deal of weight being put on the tubes and its unwise to having something that far out from your camera mount with that kind of weight regardless of the manufacturer.

I rate these tubes an 8 on a 10 scale. Why…? simple. They come boxed and connected but there are no caps and no case for the tubes. Luckily I had a few extra body caps and lens caps so I was able to sandwich them together and cap them to prevent dust getting in the tubes and to protect the terminals. Beyond that these things are great. Just use common sense when mounting a big lens on the tubes and enjoy a new world of Macro photography.

Additional Info that relates to the Kenko Tubes

1- When using focusing tubes, you cant focus to infinity. The focusing range of the lens will be limited greatly to very close distances only.

2- There is light fall off when using any extension tubes. This fall off can be 3 f-stops when using multiple tubes together.

3- Nikon “D” information is not transmitted by the tubes. This is due to the fact that the lens is being allowed to focus at a distance it is not programed to focus for by virtue of changing the focusing plane of the lens.

4- These tubes are auto focus compatible with Nikon AF lenses and AF-S lenses.

As always, please send me any feedback or thoughts. If this review helped you please let me know.

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From Darkness to Light – Church in Vancouver

September 8, 2009 1 comment

While in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago I noticed that while I had my cameras I wasn’t taking any pictures. I would leave my gear in my hotel room and dont necessarily carry it to work with me each day as its too cumbersome. (my camera bag weighs 42 lbs)

Frustrated with my lack of pictures, I took out a camera (My trusty D700) and my 28-70mm Wide Angle and put them in my backpack. I carried it around with me like that for days. Still no pictures. I was so focused on getting to work that I wouldn’t use my camera eye to locate pictures. Finally, on the 24th of August I decided that not only would I carry my camera, I would carry it with me, lens cap off and ready to shoot. Much to my amazement… I started taking pictures. This was one I got on my way home from work

A church in Downtown Vancouver, BC

A church in Downtown Vancouver, BC

The rusticated stone work made for a very nice texture in B&W. This shot is taken from the street looking up at the churches main spires. The shadow is caused by a looming overhead condo/skyscraper.

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