My first film photographs :)

My first film photographs Sunrise over Golden gate bridge with San Francisco in the backdrop

A week or so back I was lucky enough to chance upon a used Mamiya 645 film camera. It came with a std 80mm f2.8 , the tele 150mm lens, metered prism, 120 back and a grip. Its a beast compared to all my other cameras, but I just loved it… What a beautiful piece of machinery 😀
For my first few reels I got a b/w negative Kodak 400 ISO and a color negative Kodak 100 ISO film.
Just got back my first sets of color and monochrome film developed… I was eagerly awaiting to see if I had completely blown the first few roles…
The results were not all bad, they were not all good either 😉 I had managed to squeeze out some winners the first time around 😀

Having said that, I had tons of shots with missed focus (I am still getting used to the focusing mechanism, though its much easier to manually focus than my digital cameras, but I guess I need a lot of practice before I can focus fast in dynamic conditions .)

Overall I am really satisfied with the results the film gave me, its got micro contrast and tonality nailed right out of the bat…

Here’s another one from the color film… Both this and the one up top are taken at the Golden gate national recreational area near SFO…
Golden gate national recreational area captured in medium format film

The following two snaps are from the monochrome ISO 400 film… Again the results are just plain awesome…I can foresee a long love affair with film 😀
playing on the swing in monochrome medium format film

cafe pro bono palo alto downtown captured in monochrome medium format film

As a disclaimer, I would like to mention that I have post processed the images once they were scanned into the comp… but the results from the film cut my work in about half, because of the already awesome tones and local contrast from the film 😀

On the topic of scanning, I purchased the Epson v600 scanner to scan my film (getting the developing outlets scan is kind of an expensive proposition, even more so for the higher resolution scans I did.). I would break even on that guy just in under 10 rolls… Its a good scanner, but not a pro.. I had to color balance a lot of the color pictures scanned in from it and both the b/w and color scans needed quiet a lot of sharpening to be useful… Its still a pretty good scanner for the price. The accompanying software is ok and functional, but please do not turn on Digital ICE… it just craps all over the pics. The first roll I scanned was the monochrome, and the pics had weird artifacts in them with digital ICE. I turned it off at that pint and did not try it with the color film.

In the coming days I intend to shoot more and hope to learn to develop the b/w film at home… So stay tuned… This seems to be a fun journey 😀

I recently came across this blog… what an amazing artist. I hope some day i can come up with stuff that is half as good :D. Seeing images like the ones on the blog, my decision to step back into film seems a step in the right direction 😉

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For the rest of the pics click here

Golden gate national recreational area…

Golden gate national recreational area... sunrise over Golden gate bride with San Francisco in the backdrop

A really beautiful national park just moments from SFO (San Francisco) and a short drive from most of the bay area…
I have lost count now as to how many times i have been here… Sunsets,sunrises, afternoons, just about anytime. There’s just so much one can do here… hiking, biking,relaxing on the berach or just enjoy the awesome views (especially at sunset and sunrise)

Here are a few more i was lucky enough to get to this weekend… The purpose of the trip was to give my newly acquired medium format film camera a try… but I did have my 6d with me. I am eagerly awaiting the results from the film camera. The negatives are being developed as of now… Fingers crossed 😀

Sunrise looking out to the backwaters of the San francisco bay

looking out towards the golden gate bridge with San francisco in the backdop at sunrise

San francisco and golden gate in the beautiful gentle light at sunrise

Wish me luck for the outcome of my film trials, i am super excited 😀

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Heres the link to some pics i got from the past trips as well as the rest from this one…

Someday… i’ll get it too…

Someday... i'll get it too...

Getting a beautiful star studded night scene has been a long time dream of mine… Seems im not done yet… I wanted to get a beautiful night scene with the Milky Way taking up the most of the sky. I seem to have a long way to go 😦

Here’s another one from this shoot…
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I thought i was ready… i had scouted the location (well, i have taken multiple sunsets at the Natural Bridges beach in santa cruz…) and was ready with my tripod at sundown… Remote (wired) shutter release inserted into the camera and the lens focused on infinity… As the sun set and the stars began to pop up i fired away… one long exposure after another. The pics did show stars but i seem to have lucked out when it came to getting the milkey way…
The closest I have ever come was this shot (again in santa cruz) back in 2011…

Aaah… anyways, i am not done yet… another day will end and another night will come… I hopefully will get the ever elusive (in my case anyways 😉 ) milky way some day… 😀

Tons of thanks to my wife and kid for the immense patience they showed couped up in the car while i snapped away like a mad man… Thanks guys 🙂
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If you cant go far… checkout someplace closeby :)

If you cant go far... explore some place closeby :)

Well, one day I got really bored… I mean really bored sittin home and was itching to photograph something. Having exhausted the various options in my front yard and having no idea where to go next:(. I opened up my favorite map site and started lookin around 🙂 Wallah this popped up… Calero county reservoir park.

It was fairly close by, so what the heck… packed some lenses, grabbed my camera and drove off…
Boy was I glad to have found the place :D… I have been back almost 5 or 6 time since. Its a great place to get sunsets, after noon shots or whatever. The landscape is really nice, not extraordinary… but interesting enough. The pic up top is from the most recent outing.

Here’s one I got some time back (my first time out with my nex7)… Got there just in time to get an awesome sunset…
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There are some very interesting landscape shots to be had here… interesting one tree hills, a nice pond with some nice backdrops. The following one is an interesting one tree hill snap I managed to snag:
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Here’s another beautiful panoramic snap…

So… the next time your feelin the itch to go somewhere but don’t know where.. just do some nosin around in the maps or just drive around on those back country roads… Who knows where you might hit your Calero park 😉

Happy shootin…
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My Oil paintings :)

My Oil paintings :)

Well, not really… I recently upgraded the display card on my comp (supports DX11) and lo and behold… The mystical oil painting filter got enabled in Photoshop (CS6). At first I was a little skeptical using this… but it grew on me. Not all pictures take well to this filter, but once you get the hang of it… the processed images take on a totally new persona.

the filter is especially good at handling areas that are either blown out or under exposed… noise is not an issue :). Bring out those noisy, not so well exposed pics and try to blow new life into them. Monochrome/Black n white pics don’t really lend themselves very well to this filter (or it might just be that im not tweaking em just right 😉 ). Even on the color pics its better to do the normal processing on the pic to make it look as good as one can

The following is another good example of what one can get from the process
The woods
This image had the sky blown out and the tree trunk under exposed. The oil painting filter really made the image pop…

Here’s another good example of what the filter can do…
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It really gives the picture a WOW factor 🙂

Do give the filter a try and don’t hesitate turning it on for pics with blown highlights or dark underexposed areas… even noisy ones… It takes care of all that for you 🙂

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PS: Click on the images for higher res images, if you want to see full resolution images, just click on the “O” in the list of sizes (look at the top middle of the screen once you click on the images).

Lumia 920… the photographers camera phone…

Lumia 920... the photographers camera phone...

Images like the one above are the rule rather than the exception. Caught this at the gurudwara (indian temple) in san jose at sundown. The camera caught the scene pretty much like what I saw there. Its images like this that bring out the true value of the image stabilized camera in the phone. It just is a cut above the rest. Even in bright sunny situations, the images have a good balance b/w the highlights and shadows. Things like white balance, color saturation etc are generally none issues.

The following images are a good roundup of what the camera does on the usual scenarios

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A lovely evening at this in the Almedan Quicksilver park, san jose.


 

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Another low light shot taken in Santa Cruz… and edited in the phone to get this look


 

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An example of a macro shot… Background blur can be achieved, but at really close subject distances


 

Here are two more sots that highlight how good the camera is in difficult light…

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This one was quiet a bit after sunset… The camera did push the exposure here a bit, the larger sizes are not that clear, but the colors are pretty much spot on. In face even a few stars show up in the picture. The phone did definitely capture much more than what i saw with my own eyes… 😀

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This one is another good example of how the camera handles extreme conditions, the exposure did come out pretty good here. (BTW I did use the auto fix tool on this picture to open up the shadows a bit. 🙂 )


 

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Another in camera pano… The camera does a good job of balancing the highlights and shadows for most cases


 

The shots above are a small subset of what the camera on the phone is really capable of doing. This is not a substitute for a real camera, but it does beat the lower end point and shoots. In simple words, im loving it 🙂

Do come back for more…

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To see more shots from the gallery click here

Grand canyon… in IR

Grand canyon... in IR

This photo, from Grand canyon, has been sitting on my computer for about 2.5 years now… The rendition that came out by default using the IR filter didn’t look very good, luckily I didn’t delete it in the camera itself (despite feeling strongly at the moment) :). Finally yesterday I thought about going back to this snap to try out some plugins in PS (wanted to see specifically what came out after processing it using Nik and OnOne). After about 10 mins of twiddling with it, i finally think i have a winner 🙂 (link to the original processing i did on it)

This is not the only one that finally got some love yesterday, i reprocessed some other snaps from the same trip. Here are two more examples :
First picture (original processed without PS and plugins) and
Second picture (original processed without PS and plugins).

God bless em developers of these plugins and PS… made life so much easier 😀

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Do come back for more…