Monday, May 28, 2012

Mellow Memorial

Rainy Mandevillas
Tropical depression Beryl is currently sitting over the north-central section of Florida, right where I-75 crosses into south Georgia. I know this because I can see it on the map as well as all the thunderstorms that are moving over my little section of Orlando, Florida. Because Florida is so flat, tropical depressions have a long reach across this state no matter where they come ashore.

I had wanted to head out and do some photography, but with the rain more or less steady I didn't feel like getting out and getting wet. Call me lazy. Then I came across an article extolling the virtues of the Nikkor 50mm 1:1.2 manual focus lens and the quality out-of-focus effects the lens would produce. Of course it was being used with the God Nikon, the D800/E, which I thought was a bit ridiculous. You spend $3,000 and up on a camera that demands the best in optical sharpness and what do you do, you write an article about using a f/1.2 lens in front of it. Wide open.

Whenever I read an article about a lens, such as a lot of Kirk's or Matthew's posts, I immediately go check the price of said lens on eBay and KEH. After the prices dampen the enthusiasm I go and check what I've got and can I achieve something similar. The same thing happened today with the Nikkor. After reading the article and viewing the photos I checked the price of the Nikkor on Amazon and B&H, then went back and grabbed the black OM Zuiko 50mm 1:1.4, popped it onto a pair of adapters, and put the whole assemblage on the E-PL1. Then, as the latest thunderstorm died down to a drizzle I went out back and shot some very wet mandevillas wide open.
Single Mandevilla
I picked these two shots as my favorites of the small group I captured. I post-processed them in Lightroom 4 to emphasize the lightness and pastel colors even further. Specifically I de-emphasized the blacks (+50) and on the top photo I brightened it by pushing the white slider +50. I kept the E-PL1's color selection on both. And to get that romantic vignetting in the corners I added that in post as well. The OM 50mm, at least in the center third, didn't provide that romantic vignetting.

I've discovered I really enjoy using the E-PL1 with a manual focus lens, even more so than the E-P2. That's because there's a button on the back, right on the top right corner, that puts the camera into a magnification mode while composing photos. I press it once to get the magnification box, move the area around on the screen to where I want to carefully focus, then press it again to magnify and focus. Then I press the shutter release. Handy for when you're doing something weird, like using a fast lens wide open.

I have to admit I like the results. Sometimes even an Eeyore gets tired of dark and sharp. And using an overcast day to achieve something light and ethereal is an interesting challenge.

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