Photography ... astronomy ... art ... design ... technology
(... and the odd rant)

All of these make my world go 'round, to some extent, and they will all be found here at some time or other. Some of the photography can be purchased from my Redbubble site. I can also be found at Tempus Fugit (no longer being updated).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A bit hazy

I've seen the term bokeh bandied about for some time now, but only just recently came to understand what it's about. Whether that's a statement about me, or about the folk who wrote descriptions that I couldn't follow, I don't know. Whatever the case, it still has me a bit bemused - at least regarding the degree of fascination it holds in other photographers. Having spent many years away from serious photography, this term seems to be quite prevalent, even among relative 'happy-snappers'.

For those who aren't aware, it's a term descriptive of the appearance of out-of-focus detail in a photograph, and is derived from the Japanese for 'blur' or 'haze'. Is it smooth and 'creamy', or rough and unappealing... or something. When I went to look through my own image collection to see how my bokeh compared, it appeared that I had no images that showed bokeh - and then I remembered one that would:

I'm somewhat surprised that I don't have other examples to hand, as the ability to use wide apertures and selective focusing is one of those little tricks that I value (and which is sadly lacking in a wee digital point-and-shoot).

Judging by the comments I've seen elsewhere (such as in the Manual Focus Forum), my bokeh isn't especially good. However, I shan't be losing much sleep over it; nor shall I be going on a quest to find a set of lenses that
does produce good bokeh - yet. Who knows what may happen in the future?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beautiful woodwork, tiny little hole

I have been known to mess around with homemade or modified cameras, all in the name of satisfying an urge to indulge in pinhole photography. There is a certain pleasure to be had in building or rehashing something which then draws light through a hole that may be as small as 0.15 mm - and then capturing that light on good old silver halides; kind of thumbing my nose at modern technology.

I've lately been dusting off a mailing tube camera that I made about 12 years ago. As I lack a darkroom, it's been dormant almost since it was born, but I've been making do and occupying the bathroom to produce wet bits of 5x7 paper with ghostly images on them. Yes, the pinhole muse seems to be back, in fine form.

Using different materials than I used to, I've so far just been establishing the right exposure and processing parameters, but I'm getting there. At the weekend, I recorded myself eating lunch on the back verandah. Not a classic photograph, but it's a step on the way.

It looks like I'm sitting by a rounded corner, but this is an artefact of the curved film-plane and the position of the pinhole. One of the reasons I like pinhole is that it gives you the ability to create images that can't be made with a conventional camera with a flat focal plane. Coming later will be a different curved-plane camera, one with less disturbing image geometry.

Such geometry can be found in images produced by the Pinoramic 120.

This is a panoramic camera handcrafted - with other similar models - by Kurt Mottweiler. They combine the delightful wacky world of analogue pinhole photography with woodworking and design skills of the highest order. When I have bolstered the bank account back up to a healthy level, I shall acquire one - either that, or chew off one of my hands with insane frustration...