David's Blog

Month: May, 2013

Lens Whacking (or The Original Lens Whacker)

First of all I was thrilled with the response to my Double Reversing Lens Blog and I shall do a follow up shortly. Before that however, I would like to welcome you to my new blog post on the art of Lens Whacking.

Lens Whacking is an even simpler technique than the one shown in my last blog, all you have to do is take the lens off the camera, letting more light into the sensor, and hold it at different lengths to the camera, like so:

20052013123

By lens whacking you can create a dreamy washed out shot that still has a sharp focus point. (If you like, it is a DIY lens baby shot without the lens baby). If you hold the lens close to the camera the shot is more in-focus and  great for portraits. If you hold the lens further away it gives a more abstract look.

Screen shot 2013-05-19 at 13.16.45

For me Lens Whacking doesn’t really come alive until you do some filming, here you can move the lens both closer to and further from the camera to give a fluid dreamy look, this is demonstrated  with the header video wich is an elongated sequence from my degree film The World Collector taken all the way back in 2011.

Many things have multiple discoveries, while tracking in the Jungle  Alfred Russel Wallace came up with Evolution by Natural Selection at the same time Darwin was just completing his Origins of Species in secret.* Lens Whacking is another. It all started along time ago in the year 2010 in the magical land of Norwich, or perhaps more accurately, Norwich University of the Arts where our hero, a skinny, scruffy haired film student (yours truly) was playing around with a friends 60d. He was switching lenses with the camera was still on when he, accidentally, discovered Lens Whacking (or as he called it Light Bleeding, after 35mm development).

Screen shot 2013-05-19 at 13.13.13

This is where the story should end, his film was shown to polite appraisal and he graduated with a BA in 2011 as a fully fledged filmmaker. Then in 2012 something strange was happening, Twitter was abuzz with this revelatory way of filming it was called Lens Whacking. All my friends where doing it, all their friends where doing it and by all accounts it spread from Philip Bloom, DSLR Guru. I was aghast. IT WAS LIGHT BLEEDING, and not even a footnote talking about me. So go, have fun, and play around with the process, it’s both very easy to do and a lot of fun. But please remember the moral of this post:

ALWAYS BLOG STRAIGHT AWAY ABOUT YOUR FINDS AND NOT THREE YEARS LATER. 

IMG_6022

*Not quite as simple as this you understand. Darwin’s theory implied in Origin (and given full attention in his behemoth of a read The Descent of Man) that humans were a part of his tree of life, Wallace saw humans (or rather human’s mind) as separate thus putting a nail in his intellectual coffin that T H Huxley gladly hammered in… this is all very interesting and I could not recommend looking Darwin’s life, his scientific ideas and his companions enough.

Advertisements

Double Lens Reversing (or DIY Macro)

-

For the last few weeks I have been playing around with Double Lens Reversing shots, a simple process where you add a reversed lens over an attached one to create a DIY Macro photograph. The process is a revelation to me and I have been embarrassing my girlfriend by every moment possible crouching down near anything, holding a two lenses together and rocking backwards and forwards slowly to try and find the focus (this is actually how you focus, you also have to get very very close to the subject), looking something like this:

10052013120

You can do an array of different shots from the picturesque, like the daffodil  heading this blog to the grotesque little critter that flew onto my book below.

Fly

For these shots I used a sigma 70-300mm Zoom lens attached and the standard canon kit lens the 18-55 reversed on top. Although for different results any can be used, you could even hold a non-standard lens in front, some of my best shots where taken with my trusty helios 44 2.0.

There are some issues. It will always be a small vignetted image and it would be hard to get a full creature (unless tiny) in one frame. These problems can be got around though with the help of post-production. Adobe, Gimp, Pixelmator heck even MS Paint, whatever tool you use can crop the image getting rid of the black vignette around. By collaging/digitally stitching pictures together you can create whole beings in all their macro magnificence. The shot below was done on Photoshop and is six different images, it is by no means a perfect image but you can see the potential within.

bug1

A more pressing issue is the lack of light, I put the ISO to the max (for me 6,400) and the shutter speed right down to its fastest, this is to minimise any shake wich WILL occur. This I’m afraid can not be sorted out in post and the only help I can give is to advise you to take the shoots outside in full daylight or bring as much light onto the subject as possible, that fly shot was taken with a reading lamp, room light and flash, it was also shot on RAW to give me slight control in post.

One final issue that Im sure you’re already shouting at the screen about is the shakiness of holding two lenses together. Well my dears I have come up with a solution,  gasp at the wondrous contraption below:

10052013118

All you need is one empty Willaim Lawson’s vintage whisky case (and some friends to help you drink it would be beneficial, I suppose any whisky case of your choosing will do as they do not sponsor me…yet) your two lenses and a bit of foam to cushion the lenses in. This can be rested on your knee making a perfectly still(ish) shot. This will also work for moving images- more of wich will apear in a blog hopefully of the very near future.

If you have any queries,  suggestions or shots you would like to share please do get in touch. If you liked this post also say as it will motivate me to do more!  Here is my Flickr Set for all my try-outs, take a look and follow me, it would be brilliant to see others take these ideas and improve on them!

It’s all her fault.

It was my girlfriend who bullied me into creating this. Tired of listening to one liners that didn’t quite last a line and paragraphs that dwindled into “hmms” and “maybe I could do it like this” she informed me I should start a blog. Not to show off my mini-masterpieces of dyslexic gibberish, you understand, but rather so she could read in her own time and not be interrupted from whatever important non-David related activities she was doing. (Under-communication here is how to keep a relationship alive and anyone who says otherwise is a lier). So here it is, a blog dedicated to well everything really, from paragraph length stories, to long essays and scripts I never got around to shooting. Photography and moving images will probably make an appearance and if anyones interested I’ll try and impart knowledge on how I did something. All here to be scrutinised, laughed at and hopefully enjoyed. But remember if you don’t like it, it’s all her fault.