Archive for August 2013

Carcolors 31: Staring headlight

Carcolors 31

This headlight seems to stare, almost as if this expensive, shiny car was actually the wild animal whose name it bears. I am rather indifferent to the price and name of cars and only interested in the colors, reflections and distortions that I discover in/on shiny car surfaces. I often photograph at a nearby car dealer because of the reflected towers of the Quadro building complex. These skyscrapers were already featured in earlier blog posts (and are of course also nearby photo subjects for me). If you want to see other photographs of the Quadro towers have a look HERE, THERE or THERE. Many more carcolors from different locations were shown in previous blog posts.

2013/08/24 by Unknown
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Tilt-shift: Tripod mount

If you have bought a Mirex tilt-shift adapter or studied my description intently, you may have noticed three holes below the lens mount. As suspected, these holes demonstrate foresightful planning, as they allow the attachment of a tripod mount. Just before we left for our vacation, I have received a small package with an early (not yet anodized) version of this tripod mount. I had therefore the possibility to test this accessory during our holiday and would now like to share my experience with this accessory. Just to make it absolutely clear: What you see in the photographs below is an early version of the tripod mount, which I have received as a gift from Mirex. As far as I understand, the final product will be anodized in black and should be available by now. 

The tripod mount is firmly attached with three screws that fit into the holes of the tilt-shift adapter.

As shown above, the tripod adapter consists of a small piece of aluminum, which is attached to the tilt-shift adapter with three screws. The screws are inserted from the camera proximal side.  All screws and an allen key are included and the mount fits perfectly. At the base of the adapter are three threads to either mount a base plate (see below), to directly fix the tripod mount to a tripod, or to attach a quick release plate.
The tripod mount is delivered with a solid base plate, which can be replaced with a quick release plate of your choice (currently not provided by Mirex).

Together with the tripod mount itself comes a solid base-plate that attaches to the adapter with two additional screws. This plate features several threads for the attachment to your tripod or quick release plates. I have not used this plate because I find it too big and instead replaced it with a small quick-release plate that allows me to directly attach the tilt-shift adapter with the lens and camera to my tripod head.

The tripod mount protrudes on the lens-side of the adapter.

The tripod mount protrudes about 4 mm on the lens-side of the tilt-shift adapter. This protrusion may prevent mounting lenses with a large diameter. I was made aware of this problem by Mirex and experienced it with a Nikon to Canon EF mount adapter, which had a larger diameter than necessary. In my case, the problem was easily solved by grinding the barrel of this adapter with sandpaper until it fitted the adapter (and I had three blisters).

Instead of the provided base plate I have directly attached a small quick-release plate to the tripod mount.

Since I use all my manual lenses exclusively with the Mirex tilt-shift adapter (at least at the moment), irrespective of whether I use the tilt and/or shift function, and also often photograph handheld, I want the setup to be as small and compact as possible. Therefore, I did not use the base plate provided with the adapter, but instead directly attached a small quick release plate. This arrangement worked well for tripod-based photography and did not bother me much while taking manual photographs or when the lens was stored in the bag.

The Mirex m4/3 tilt-shift adapter with tripod mount in action on Lembert Dome in Yosemite National Park.

The tripod mount for the Mirex tilt-shift adapter allows to shift (and tilt) the camera, while the lens remains fixed. The camera can be rotated, but the shift movement is only left-right (or up-down if the tilt-shift adapter is mounted vertically, for example with a L-bracket). Irrespective of the tripod mount, the tilt movement is perpendicular to the shift movement (as described in my first tilt-shift blog post).
The ability to shift the camera while the lens remains fixed is particularly helpful for taking shift panoramas, which is one of the applications I am most interested in. Attaching the adapter to the tripod head, as opposed to the camera, may also provide a better balance and thus render handling much easier, in particular with heavier lenses and/or small cameras. Despite these advantages, the dedicated tilt-shift lenses I know do not have a tripod mount, which makes the described tilt-shift adapter solution rather unique.
I am very happy with both my tilt-shift adapter and with the new tripod mount that I leave permanently attached (I am too lazy to unscrew and fasten the tripod mount each time I want to use the adapter on a tripod). However, if you hardly ever create stitch panoramas you may not need a tripod mount and definitely not want to permanently "enlarge" your tools with this accessory. For me, the tripod mount for my tilt-shift adapter is a worthwhile accessory, which allowed me to take several nice panoramas, some of which I will show you in upcoming posts.

2013/08/22 by Unknown
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Nearby: PWC building 3

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We have safely returned back home and I am again in my "nearby district". As in the last blog post, I am showing you a composition that I discovered on the glass panes of the PWC building. Here, light passing through the perforated imprint on these panes created this fascinating moiré pattern (I think the phenomenon is a moiré pattern, but I am not absolutely certain). I assume that the light responsible for this effect is reflected from the glass panes themselves and then passes through several blinds, parallel to the facade. Therefore, the moiré pattern can be clearly seen in the topmost part of the area in the shadow (I only realized this now, while writing about the photograph). For me, this building is the perfect example how observation and photographing the same subject for several years can lead to ever new discoveries and compositions. 

2013/08/18 by Unknown
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Nearby: PWC building 2

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Although I am still on holiday, I have more stable internet access again and can therefore finally share a new photograph. To contrast my far away holiday, I am showing you another nearby peek. As mentioned, over the years I have taken photographs of the PWC building from all kinds of angles and perspectives and during all the seasons. All compositions feature the outside of the building though - I have only seen the inside through the windows, but it looks highly photogenic too. The composition above depicts the most remarkable feature of the PWC building: the glass panes that serve as blinds and turn according to the direction of the sunlight. I have taken different photographs of only this special feature alone! At some times during the year and when the blinds are not completely closed despite sunshine, the interspace between the actual windows and the glass panes provides this - as I find - interesting composition, which is also part of the reflection gallery.

2013/08/12 by Unknown
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