Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Raw2Nef: new release and microsite

Given the unexpected audience for Raw2Nef, and that the information collected in this blog is not very well organized, I have uploaded a new microsite for the tool, with a much better information presentation, and links to a new version, with a few more bells and whistles, including support for the latest D810 firmware.

I plan to keep this blog photography centered, and use the microblog to handle Raw2Nef.

Find the new website here: http://www.bagnon.com/raw2nef

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Square format

I tend to crop into square format more and more often, not only to attend the demands for Instagram needs, but mainly for portraits. This lovely one with a PLM at camera left, and some extra food on the hands of the subject.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Our attempt at underwater photography. The Elinchrom Quadra with a Maxi Spot reflector is about  1m over the surface, at half power. 35mm lens at f/13, 1/250s, and a bit of trial and error does the rest.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

Amazing lens, very sharp wide open. I had often to revert to manual focus, but I cannot tell for the moment if perfect focusing is an issue. These three shots wide open.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

All complications together

I did this portrait on studio, a number of complications here,
  • Tilted lens, the Hasselblad Carl Zeiss Planar T 80mm f/2.8, with a tilt adapter to Nikon F mount.
  • Diaphragm at f/4, with a ND3, as per the previous post, to match a flash reading of f/11.
  • Snow, fog and stormy weather, adjusted to taste.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stopping down a fast lens to flash sync speed with a neutral density filter

Getting ready for the summer, how can you use flash with a wide aperture under full sun power? You can either use small speedlights at hypersync, which will give very low power, or go down to flash sync speed using a Neutral Density (ND) filter, which is my preferred option.

On location you normally do not have time to do math, so some preparation is useful. Find below a table based on exposure settings at ISO 100, Sunny 16 rule, which you will encounter at the beach, and the corresponding shutter speeds when using ND filters for 3 and 6 stops.

f/stop Sunny 16 ND 3 ND 6
1 1/25600 1/3200 1/400
1.4 1/12800 1/1600 1/200
2 1/6400 1/800 1/100
2.8 1/3200 1/400 1/50
4 1/1600 1/200 1/25
5.6 1/800 1/100 1/13
8 1/400 1/50 1/6
11 1/200 1/25 1/3
16 1/100 1/13 1/2

As you can see, if you have a 2.8 lens, the most reasonable option is to close down to f/4, and use a ND3 filter. If you set the speed to 1/250, you will get a slightly underexposed ambient light.

If you have an f/1.4 lens, you need to use a ND6, to achieve the same result. The ND6 filter is also good if you have an f/2 lens, giving a comfortable 1/100 shutter speed.

So, the settings become quite simple. Measure your flash to give f/16 on your subject. Your camera at 1/250, and f/4 or f/1.4, with ND3 or ND6, respectively, and done.

Another setting I also use quite often is f/11 1/250 on the lens, with a circular polarizer on the lens, that additionally substracts one stop and a half, depending on the filter maker, and gives you those intense skies and pristine waters.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sports photography with a tilted lens

Focusing a tilted, manual focus lens fast enough to catch a fast moving target seems to be complicated, right? Couldn't be easier, however.

Since when you tilt the focus plane, things are not in focus based on their distance to the camera, but rather on their position in regards to the frame composition, it's not so difficult to decide which part of the frame you want in focus, and compose accordingly.

In this photo, I wanted to have only the rider head/face in focus, so I arranged the lens to focus the upper third of the frame, and there you go.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A day in black & white

Man, I love clouds.

I had some time to walk round and take these shots from Oslo. No need to use a b&w conversion filter. I guess my thoughts about cloudy skies could change after spending some time there. All taken with the Voigtlander Nokton Aspherical 35mm f/1.2 II, wide open, on the Sony A7r.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dogs are convenient props

Being natural in front of the camera is not easy, and using a prop helps to relax and to find a good position. With pets/dogs, this is even easier, and they are very useful to break the ice and to facilitate the portrait sesion. It also helps if they are well trained, like this one, so I can command him to lower the right ear not to inferere with the subject's face.

This portrait with a PLM at camera right, manual mode, and the lens tilted to have only the face in focus.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Focus on the essential

I kinda start linking quite a lot the selective focus of the tilt/shift lenses for portrait. Trying not to create the "miniature" effect, it brings all the attention to the face, leaving the rest of the frame to a painterly summary of the environment.

This shot at sun setting, a perfect spring afternoon with some clouds on the background.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More with the Hasselblad Macro 120mm f/4 Zeiss Makro-Planar in tilt mode

The only challenge with this mode of shooting is focusing at the right plane, but with the current liveview capabilities, that's a piece of a cake. This picture taken wide open at f/4, 1/250s, PLM  at camera right.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Window light, 180mm

We have two windows here, one at camera right, providing the nice and soft Rembrandt light, and a second window behind the girl, giving the kick light on her hair.
Shot with the spectacular 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R, wide open, focused on her eyes, at 1/100sec.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At Trafalgar Square

The pigeon at picture right was luckily not scared enough by the flash at camera left and by the lion climber. I guess these pigeons at Trafalgar Square have seen everything.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

'Top Gun' pilot with a tilt lens.

Using a tilt lens for a portrait may give interesting results, as it can isolate the eyes in focus, even if not parallel to the camera.

One problem is that available tilt lenses for 35mm are on the short focal length, up to 85mm from Nikon, and that may not be too kind to a full face shot.

I found a good deal for an old Hasselblad Macro 120mm f/4 Zeiss Makro-Planar, which can be used as a tilt/shift lens with one of these adapters,  http://www.mirex-adapter.de/tilt_shift_adapter.htm, and others. The macro lens is terrific, and 120mm allows for a nice perspective in a head shot. A similar optical solution is provided at a much higher cost by http://www.hartblei.de/en/sr120m.htm, which I understand uses the same lens.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Using the LEICA NOCTILUX-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH with the Sony A7r

On the plus side:
  • I love to be able to frame. The Noctilux blocks a substantial part of the right side of the viewfinder in the Leica rangefinders, and I like to see what I picture.
  • Focusing is now really easy with the magnification of the electronic viewfinder. My rate of keepers has suddenly raised exponentially.
  • The 1/8000 shutter speed, that is one stop more than the 1/4000 that the Leica rangefinders offer.
  • The camera is just the height of the lens, so it nicely lays flat. No more falling to the lens side when you leave it on a table.
On the minus side:
  • The electronic viewfinder does not quite get it in very bright days, but I can live with it.