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Angry Blossoms

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by PJohnP, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Santa Fe has seen hail, sleet, driving rain, dense deep fog, and snow this last two days, followed by a quick clearing this afternoon, and then close weather dropping back in. Of course, the apricot trees that populate the streets and yards of the city are blossoming after the previous warm days of this week, and now the cold snap will likely kill the fruit crop for this year.

    I was out briefly this afternoon, and decided to bring my Rodenik 55mm f/0.8 lens out to see how the flowers would respond.

    What with the variable weather and the lost promise of succulent and fragrant apricots for the summer, this photo could only be called

    Angry Blossoms

    D200, Rodenik 55mm f/0.8 lens, ISO 100, processed in NC, cropped and copyright in PS-CS2

    Even when the flowers are howling angry at the heavens...

    Always shoot.

    John P.
  2. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Definately has a turn of the century feel in the focus. Nice.
  3. Nice toning and composition John. I hate the thought of no apricots from Northern New Mexico! One of these days I'll tell you my embarrassing apricot story from Chimayo.
  4. Very nice John...looks like another wall hanger!
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Thanks guys.

    The "Rodenik" lens [that term coined by Annedi (Andrea)] is a trip to shoot with, but definitely not easy. An f/0.8 (you read that correctly) aperture makes DOF issues tricky, even more so with the slightest breeze tickling a flower.

    Getting the camera to cooperate with the Rodenik isn't easy either, as there's no "non-CPU lens" setting for a 55mm f/0.8 lens. After experimenting, I tend to set it for a 50mm f/4 lens, as the Rodenik has some odd light gathering abilities, and a sharply curved DOF across the lens. I'll probably try some other settings next time, as I can intuit some benefits from telling the camera that the Rodenik is a longer FL lens.

    Processing is another rather interesting aspect of the Rodenik. I didn't tone or tint the first photo, but processing to get the photo into "usable" form tends to shift the colour around, as well as the efforts to penetrate the haze and flare created around objects changing matters further.

    Here are two other shots from today...



    ... with very different colour balances and focus. Pay no attention to the EXIFs; as I mentioned above, I twigged the system to let me shoot as I'd like, and in the end, often end up running completely manual.

    I suppose that I could have pinned the flowers in place, had a tripod positioned with better lighting, but some of the fun of the Rodenik is shooting handheld au natural (the camera and the lens only !!! Not me...) and seeing what happens.

    John P.
  6. OK, now I'm impressed! f/0.8!!!! These are so wonderful, such a mood about them. Not angry, ethereal to me. I'd nicname this lens "The Ghost" :smile:

    As far as shooting au naturel, too many funny comments are falling off the tip of my tongue, flowing towards being tossed out on my ear!!!! :biggrin: Now there's a Cafe get-together I think I'd skip!!!!! *LOL*

    So sorry to hear about the loss of future fruit. Can't make little mittens for these tree branches? In Florida, they'll light smudge pots to keep the tree blossoms from freezing. Any bets if these blossoms die 'on the vine' so to speak, next year will produce a bumper crop. Mother Nature seems to work that way. If one year is a miss, the next seems to be a hit.

    That first photography is my favourite of the series.... :smile:
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Well, with respect to the apricot trees, the tree on my property, on a ridge to the north of the city, hasn't started to blossom yet, so it's possible that we'll see fruit on that tree (I get a crop about every two or three years). And, for reasons I'm not altogether knowledgeable about, apricots thrive in northern New Mexico. There are also odd "micro-climates" all around the city where we'll see fruit one year when everyone else is barren. We'll see how the year develops.

    The Ghost, eh ? Well, that's another name for these lenses. This one came from Harrison Diamond, who followed in the footsteps of Bjørn Rørslett in fabricating these lenses. Both Annedi (Andrea) and I were fortunate enough to benefit from Harrison's industry and intelligence. Bjørn's comments on large aperture lenses, BTW, can be found in his discussion, Need For Speed.

    The Rodenik, or The Ghost, is a funny lens to shoot with. It's fixed focus, so the photographer sways back and forth drunkenly trying to land their point of focus, which is microtome-cut thin, making the usual "razor-thin" DOF of something like an f/1.2 lens look like the thickness of an unabridged Webster dictionary. Picking the point/layer of focus is a fascinating exercise, and I'm sometimes known to gently move forward shooting machine-gun style for different points of focus on the subject. It doesn't always work, but then, it does other times. :rolleyes: 

    There's a pile o' field curvature in this lens, and even the centre's not quite what one expects, so getting a compositional focus is something amazingly fun as well (if swinging one's head back and forth like a hissing snake is considered fun by a person). In fact, composition with a fixed focus lens is also rather amazing - sometimes the subject's just too large to fit into the frame, and boy howdy, that's that for the shot. The lens creates serious constraints for composition and angle, but that's perhaps the "charm" of shooting with it.

    And then there's the weird and wonderful haze coupled with almost an aura around some objects. Learning how to process these images is like learning digital processing from scratch - it's that different. :mad:  :eek:  :Smoking:

    But when the images land on the screen with the sizzle of something quite different, well, that makes all of the effort worthwhile. :biggrin:

    Thinking about it, perhaps instead of swaying drunkenly, I should drink before shooting with The Ghost. Hmmm... Food for thought...

    And I won't even essay a comment about shooting au natural after imbibing ! :actions1: :384: :373:

    John P.
  8. John --

    Nice to see your Rodenik at work again -- intriguing as always --
    you never quite know what you're going to get with these
    ultra-fast lenses. Finding the right angle for a particular subject
    is indeed the tricky part. And I too make a lot of use of machine-gun
    shooting while trying to slow-mo around a very close subject.
    Some fun !!

    Funny thing about the Rodenik photos is that while
    there is, of course, a blur or haze to them,
    they don't have the same look as a simple out-of-focus shot.
    It's almost as though the Rodenik "abstracts" the subject rather than just fuzzes it up.

    Here's one for you that I took a couple of months ago. It is the tiny
    bud cone on the tip of a Picea branch (a kind of green spruce).

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  9. Very nice shots, you two! I'm glad to see they're getting a workout- it's been a little while since i've seen any shots from my frankenstein Roden-Nik lenses :) 
  10. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Andrea :

    Wow. That's one nice shot.

    John P.
  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Harrison :

    Hey, wonderful to see you here ! The Rodenik/The Ghost isn't a lens that I shoot with all of the time, but when I do use it, it creates unique and ethereal effects. Great work on your part to "create" these lenses !

    John P.
  12. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Apricot Update

    I'm pleased to say that today was warm, lovely, and for the most part, the apricot trees are looking like they weathered the cold snap successfully.

    I'm pleased. I wouldn't have any fruit for my annual apricot jam-making weekend.

    John P.
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