Freelensing the Pentax K-3II

Freelensing is a technique used with interchangeable lens cameras in both film-based and digital photography. The lens is detached from the camera and held in front of the lens mount by hand during exposure. This allows the lens to be tilted or shifted creating a similar effect to a perspective control or “Tilt-Shift” lens, only with a lower degree of fidelity. The result is a combination of selective focus and light leakage which are used creatively to create surreal imagery. Because of the increase in flange-focal distance, this technique is most successful with closeup or macro photography, where Infinity focus is not essential.

The lens used does not necessarily have to be native to the brand of camera, since it is not physically attached to it. In addition, the lens may also be reversed for Macro photography. By shooting through a normal to wide-angle lens backwards, increased magnification can be achieved. One of the by-products of freelensing is the introduction of “light leaks” which can be controlled to some degree and produce toy-camera like effects.

So yesterday (May 16th, 2017) I decided to try it. I grabbed my Pentax K-3II and my SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. I set the body to AV exposure mode & the lens aperture on manual wide-open at f:1.4 composed using Liveview.

Tulip, unmounted 50mm lens, Pentax K-3II with SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. #FreeLensing.

Tulip, unmounted 50mm lens, Pentax K-3II with SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. #FreeLensing.

This should only be attempted on a dry dust free location, unless sensor dust is wanted. I may explore this with my retired Pentax ✩istD body.

 

Darrell Larose
Ottawa

Enhancing photographers with NIK software

Google recently released their NIK software suite into the public domain. I decided to play with some of the tools on my recent Mud Lake nature photos. I normally just use DFine2 to clean up sensor noise. I decided to open up the shadows and enhance shadow detail that was normally lost.

before:

imgp1163NIK Dfine2 to clean noise, then NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to open up the shadows.

After:

imgp1163-bSlightly different cropping . . .

Then I opened this image:

Before: I do like the image, but let’s see what we can do.

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After #1: Brightened up, this is how I imagined the scene.

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The NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 can bring up lost feather details. So I tried merging the two images each in a Photoshop CS6 layer and adjusted the opacity.

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The opacity was adjusted visually for the look I wanted.

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Ontario

A couple afternoons at Ottawa’s Mud Lake

Background on Mud Lake (Britannia Conservation Area)

A 79 hectare patch of wilderness in the middle of an urban setting, Britannia Conservation Area is an amazing area of forest and wetlands. It is home to a pond called Mud Lake and hundreds of species of wildlife, with raccoons, frogs, turtles and foxes. This is prime birding territory, with thousands of birdwatchers coming each year to observe hundreds of different species. A walk through this easy-to-access natural area provides an exciting escape from city life.

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Today Friday October 14th, was a wonderful above seasonal temperatures. Taking advantage of possibly the last opportunity before winter arrives. My goal was hopefully to photograph Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus), but the Great Egret (Ardea alba egretta) was very high on my wish list. Along the trail I was buzzed by many Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), White-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) looking for handouts.

Along the trail I was met by this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), I had to put my 50mm f:1.4 lens on, as it was far too close to use my 300mm prime.

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Expecting handouts were these animated characters…

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American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)  Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

Along the trail I saw a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus) land midway across the lake, and a Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) across the lake.

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus) with 600mm equivalent, Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens, with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter. Effective focal length 900mm f:8…

imgp1077Great egret (Ardea alba egretta), Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter (Effective focal length 900mm f:8) /

I was disappointed, and thought this as good as it was going to get. But the Egret had other ideas. He/she flew over towards the start of the trail, where my 300mm was almost too much lens.  I should have packed my ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom, as it would have been perfect where it landed.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

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My personal favourite of the day, heck might be my favourite of the fall. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

Now my action sequence…

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.. success

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He was very good at fishing, this was the biggest fish I saw him catch, pretty sure it’s Brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) aka mud pout.  Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta), Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

As I headed down Cassells Road, I liked the light that was falling on the local ducks.

imgp1181Mallard Duck drake (Anas platyrhynchos) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime

imgp1183 Mallard Duck hen (Anas platyrhynchos) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime

 

imgp1020Wood Duck hen (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

With another female Wood Duck showing her colours.

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Wood Duck hen (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

imgp1200Wood Duck drake (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.


Wednesday October 19th the mercury climbed to a high of 24.2°C so I headed back to Mud Lake. I approached from the south trail near the footbridge. I encountered several American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes) near the newly rebuilt footbridge. The water lever is very low, and there were now turtles basking in the sun. But to the west of the bridge there was a Great Egret (Ardea alba egretta) on a raft of vegetation. This  required mounting my 2X teleconverter on to my 300mm f:4 prime telephoto lens.

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens, with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter (600mm f:8).

On the distant shore there were a couple mature Great egrets, and a couple Great Blue herons well outside the reach of my lens. I heading down the trial to Cassells Road and the ridge to see what songbirds might have been around, I saw a couple White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys), the regular Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) flitting about, a few White-breasted nuthatchs (Sitta carolinensis). Both male and female Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). I failed to see any transients I heard reported at Mud Lake.

I headed back towards the small bay where I photographed the immature Great egret on Friday. I and several others were treated with an hour visit from the immature Great egret (Ardea alba egretta).

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) eating a red dragonfly in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom lens.

Fall foliage reflections with warm afternoon golden light can create a striking image.

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Wood Duck immature male (Aix sponsa) . Pentax ✩istD ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom lens.

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Mallard Duck drake (Anas platyrhynchos) strutting his stuff.  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

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Mallard Duck hen (Anas platyrhynchos) strutting her stuff.  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

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Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) .  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

All in all it was a lovely summer like day in Ottawa. Depending on how the weather holds, I might get back before freeze-up.

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

Going Buggy into Autumn

Today was the first day of Autumn, the thermometer was still hitting 27 degrees. Headed back to the Sunflower patch. Spotted another species of wasp, but it wouldn’t stay still long enough to photograph. Eventually colder mornings will slow many of these insects down. Once again I carried my aged Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens on Pentax T6-2X teleconverter, flash fill. This combination required me to be 2″ from the front of the lens to the subject.

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Paper wasp (Polistes dominula) on sunflower, Thursday September 22nd, 2016 (both).

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Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on sunflower, Thursday September 22nd, 2016

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These are very difficult as my macro lens only does 1:2 or half life size on the image plane. It’s also a f:4, so with the T6-2X Rear Converter mounted the effective maximum aperture is f:8. Lens was closed down to f:8-11 so works out to effectively f: 16-22, hand-held. Tripods are pretty much useless with small moving targets.

Went back today, Friday September 23, 2016. It was a more seasonal day weather wise. Lots of Bumblebees, honeybees, wasps, flies, ants and a few moths. I wasn’t able to get close enough to the small moths.

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Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on sunflower, Thursday September 22nd, 2016

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Half black bumblebee (Bombus vagans) on sunflower, Friday September 23nd, 2016.

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Black Ant, on sunflower, Thursday September 22nd, 2016

Went back on Sunday, a sunny but more seasonal 11 degree day.

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Paper wasp (Polistes dominula) on sunflower, Sunday September 25th, 2016

imgp0864 Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on sunflower, Thursday September 22nd, 2016

imgp0883Common housefly (Musca domestic) on sunflower, Sunday September 25th, 2016

imgp0884Green Metallic Bee (Gapostemon virescens) on sunflower, Sunday September 25th, 2016

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

Going buggy!

It was another nice above seasonal, 25 degree late summer day in the Nation’s Capital. I popped my old manual focus SMC-Pentax-M 50mm f:4 macro lens onto my Pentax T6-2X to my aged Pentax ✩istD body.  All these photos required me to be 50mm from the lens front to the subject. Several skillsets are required, one is not to scare the insects away. And in the case of bees, wasps or hornets not to induce a defense reaction.

imgp0549Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on sunflower stem

imgp0550 Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on verigated sunflower

imgp0557Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on verigated sunflower

imgp0563 Sharing, Honeybee & Bumblebee on sunflower
imgp0573Eastern Yellow Jacket (Vespula maculifrons) on sunflower leaf.

I went back today, another wonderful sunny day. The last day of summer, we were at 27 degrees today. I spotted my first Green Metallic Bee (gapostemon virescens). This small plot has 4 species of wasps, at least two types of Bumblebee, and as many other bees.

imgp0593Common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) on sunflower, Tuesday September 20th, 2016

imgp0602Green Metallic Bee (gapostemon virescens) on sunflower, Tuesday September 20th, 2016

imgp0603Green Metallic Bee (gapostemon virescens) on sunflower, Tuesday September 20th, 2016

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Small Milkweed Bugs (Lygaeus kalmii) on sunflower, Tuesday September 20th.

 

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

Stingers

Back to the Sunflower patch, breeze was lighter today, than yesterday. I was looking at stinging insects, the blooms were visited by Honeybees, Paper Wasps, mud Daupers and Bumblebees. First is a very abstract image.

IMGP0026The flight of the Bumblebee, abstract.  Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

IMGP0020Honeybee, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens, flash fill.

I added my 2X teleconverter and was able to get more magnification on the busy little bee.

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Honeybee, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

I also photographed 3 different species of wasps, first was the Black and yellow mud dauber (Sceliphron caementarium).

IMGP9991Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

IMGP0057Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

Next up is the European paper wasp (Polistes dominula), an introduced species.

IMGP0005Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

IMGP0013Business end, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

IMGP0003Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

Now the native Northern Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus), not very thin yellow bands and black antennae.

IMGP0039Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

Went back today, and found these guys. One bee one fly. IMGP0072Bumblebee, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

IMGP0063Common greenbottle, (Lucilia sericata), July 24, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter, flash fill.

 

I should look into replacing my well worn 50mm f:4 macro lens (1:2) with a 100mm f:2.8 version, as it will increase my working distance and will give me 1:1 or 2:1 with my 2X mounted.

 

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa

Busy as a Bee

I was checking out the Sunflowers, and saw the Bumblebees hard at work. I mounted my old SMC Pentax-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens (1:2) lens.

IMGP9901 Bumblebee on Sunflower, July 18, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens.

IMGP9903Bumblebee on Sunflower, July 19, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens.

I repeated the shoot the very next day, but I added my Pentax T6-2X Teleconverter to the kit giving me an equivalent to a 100mm f:8 (1:1) lens. I used some fill-flash .

IMGP9936 July 19, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens on Pentax T6-2X teleconverter, flash fill.

IMGP9918July 19, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens on Pentax T6-2X teleconverter, flash fill.

IMGP9938July 19, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens on Pentax T6-2X teleconverter, flash fill.

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July 19, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 Macro lens on Pentax T6-2X teleconverter, flash fill.

One needs patience and luck because at macro ranges the slightest breeze moves the flowers and the bee wanders around. I really should update my Macro lens, as it’s an f:4 and is only a 1:2 macro. A 90 or 100mm f:2.8 would be more useful for this work.

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

Sunny Sunday

Today was a lovely sunny Sunday, locally the Sunflowers and Day Lilies are in bloom.

IMGP9863 Sunflower, July 17, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 macro lens.
IMGP9865Sunflower peek-a-boo, July 17, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 macro lens.

IMGP9877 Sunflower, July 17, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 macro lens.

IMGP9886Day Lily, Sunflower, July 17, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 macro lens.
IMGP9887Fly, Sunflower, July 17, 2016, Pentax ✩istD SMC-M 50mm f:4 macro lens.

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

Dancing Flora

One of the little used features of my antique Pentax ✩istD dSLR camera, was it has the ability to do in-camera multiple exposures. I can do up 9 exposures in a single frame. Trick with a multi exposure, is you reduce the exposure by one stop per frame, so a double-exposure you close the lens down by 1 full stop.

My first attempt was these Spring Beauties, 3 exposure frame of this grouping.

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I was hand holding to enhance the dance.  I did one frame way out of focus, and 2 frames with a slight focus adjustment, the breeze also added to the “Dancing Flora” effect. Next is a 4 exposure, and was slightly overexposed for a more airy effect. I enjoy how it looks like dragonflies in flight.

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I was hand holding hence the solid unmoving wall is repeated. The tulips I did one frame way out of focus, and 3 frames with a slight focus adjustment, the breeze also added to the “Dancing Flora” effect.

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A slight exposure adjustment with a 5 exposure image first and third frame out of focus like one does for the Orton Effect.

TulipDance

Now I did a triple exposure one frame out of focus, with the following exposures adjusted on different blooms.

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Finally I noticed my Ferns were being shaking by my air conditioner exhaust.  I liked the visual effect so I went with a 4 frame exposure I focused on the frond in each layer. I added a bit of grain with Photoshop CS6.

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Overall there is some hit-and-miss with this technique, but when the image works it becomes magic.
Darrell A. Larose
© 2016 Ottawa