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Monday, October 29, 2012

Crabtree Falls - The Mamiya RB 67 Test Continues

Here are a few images taken with my Mamiya RB 67 SD.  I am starting to like the RB but it remains a challenge to remember so much before shooting.  Compared to other medium format cameras, the RB is quite a bit more sophisticated.  Probably my biggest issue with the camera to date is the way the "T" or in most cameras "B" mode works.  It is very easy shoot 1 second instead of "T" especially after disengaging the mirror lock using the shutter ring.



The ubiquitous shot of Crabtree falls (Sekor C 65mm, Fuji Velvia 50, f32, 16 seconds)








Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crabtree Falls Photo Excursion in North Carolina

On my list of waterfalls I wanted to shoot as soon as possible was Crabtree Falls in North Carolina.  Well today I made the trek two and a half hours to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest to do just that.

I arrived at the campground area at about 7:30am and parked at the first trail head leading to Crabtree Falls.  This was the first mistake I made.  Leaving from this trail head will add another half mile to the falls.  Go down further to the second trail head and save yourself some issues.

After about 1.5 miles of hiking downhill, I arrived at the bottom of the falls. I was truly stunned at this falls beauty and at the same time relaxing sounds.  This is in the top three falls in NC in my humble opinion.  It lacks the overall power of Linville and Looking Glass falls but it makes up for it in height and cascading beauty.  For the photographer, there are seemingly endless angles to photograph the falls and the cascades which flow in steps down and under the bridge.  The water is shallow enough to wade out into the current and get some nice closeups of the cascading water.  To get a full image of the falls, it is best to hike up the opposite side of the hill and shoot it from that vantage point.  If you have a wider angle lens like a 25mm you can get everything in the frame from the base of the falls.    

Don't wait too long to get there.  If you get there on a sunny day the falls will partially fall into the sunlight which will make exposure difficult.  I was shooting the scene at 8:00am and the sun had not hit the falls yet.  My exposure was F32 at 16 seconds and I bracketed down to 8 seconds.  As soon as my film is back from processing I will display some of the images. I used a combination of a polarizer and warming filter.  This is a common setup for falls.

One final thought:  Unless you are an olympic athlete or are used to very long strenuous hikes do not do the entire loop trail.  It is long and very difficult.  This was the second mistake I made.  It says on the web sites that it is medium difficulty but this is not true.  When you are carrying 20 lbs worth of camera gear it is very difficult and this shoot was in the fall with cooler temperatures.  I would recommend leaving on the same trail you came in on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Testing the New Flatbed Scanner

Well, by now you may know that I really don't like spending a ton of money on anything, but especially hobbies.  Hobbies suck money out of our households like no other.  Sometimes even bills can't compare.  So in my quest to find cheap and effective solutions, I recently purchased a used Epson 4180 Photo flatbed scanner off from Ebay.  Mainly I was looking for a solution to get my negative and positive film into a digital format that can be shown on the web.  Printing the final scan is not really important to me as I can easily have them printed from a local lab when needed.

This scanner is different from most flatbeds in that it was designed for the photo enthusiast.  The photographer can scan photos, 35mm and 120 positive and negative film with little effort.  I have been using it primarily in "Professional Mode" which allows for better control exposure and cropping, and  I have to say that so far the results have been quite good.  Below is a quick scan I created using the 120 film attachment.


AddLower Cascades - shot with my Kiev 88.  Note that with no mirror lock there is a very slight vibration.  Hopefully that is a thing of the past with my new Mamiya RB 67 SD. caption

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mamiya Test Shot Processed


In my last post I wrote a quick review of my first test shots using the Mamiya RB67 Pro SD.  Below you will find a square cropped finished shot which was taken using the Mamiya Sekor 65mm lens at f32 for about 1 second.  The film was Fuji Acros 100 unfiltered and the lighting was provided by a single diffused photoflood .  Contrast was added post production so shorter shutter speeds could be obtained.



First, Let me say that the sharpness was better than I had expected.  The apple is just a little soft which I attribute to my own focusing mistake, but look at the corn in the lower right.  Not only is it tack sharp but there are no distortions which are common to wide angle lenses in the corner.  Had I used my 35mm with my cheapo wide angle it would have looked quite distorted near the right corner.

Secondly, notice there is no camera shake even at a 1 second exposure.  This was due to the use of the mirror lockup feature.  This really is a must have for those shooting macro, product shots or landscapes.

In conclusion, although the shot was rushed a bit and not the best composition, I think you can see just how versatile and high quality the Mamiya RB 67 remains in the 21st century.


Just for kicks I took another shot on the roll and did a little creative burning to give it more of a paint like effect in places.