Search Results for: fish eye

Fish Eye (Literally)

Recipe: Take a dark, turgid decorative pond wherein dwell some not very Coy Koi. Throw in a probe wide-angle macro lens. Make sure the macro probe is water proof at the business end, with an LED ring light. Add a pinch of bread crumbs into the blackness of the water. Raise high the ISO of the camera. Wait for the fish to approach and try to eat the illuminated macro probe. Use the LCD to “see” what the lens sees, and try to track the eye of the fish as it glides just beneath the surface of the black waters, a sliver of a distance from the probe macro lens.

Yield: An impressionistic view of a literal fish eye, with the blackness of the pond universe extending to the infinite and the particulate matter in the water streaming by.

Fish Eye (Literally) © Harold Davis

Fish Eye (Literally) © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Some scenes call for a fisheye and fun!

I spent a wonderful sunny afternoon photographing with my friend Jim on the slopes of Mt Diablo. The sky was blue with high-flying clouds, the slopes were green and alive with flowers. On the trail, the California Oak trees towered above. Some scenes just call for a fisheye lens.

California Oak © Harold Davis

California Oak BW © Harold Davis

It’s often not realized that an iPhone transfer can be used bidirectionally if you want to use one of the creative iPhone apps on an image made with a “big boy” camera.

To make the “for fun” variations below, I copied the color fisheye image (shot with my Nikon D850 and the 8-15mm Nikkor fisheye at 8mm for the circular effect) onto my iPhone. The effects were generated using the Fancy Filters category of the Photo Lab app.

Tree Drops © Harold davis

Kaleidoscope © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone

Happy Fisheye Family

Every once in a while a photographic gadget comes along that is simply so silly, and such a kluge, that I have to try it! After all, photography is about having fun, and not just about making “serious” images. In that spirit, I ordered a set of auxillary lens for the camera in my iPhone from the always-fun Photojojo.

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The set of lens arrived via UPS in an envelope with a plastic dinosaur. I’m not sure what message the dinosaur was intended to send, but it was kind of fun—part of the point of the affair. The set comes with a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens that unscrews to reveal also an extreme macro lens, and a fisheye lens. Note that the zoom facility within the iPhone itself is purely digital, and doesn’t provide any optical differentiation; hence, the desirability of a set of auxiliary lenses that do work optically.

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The way this accessory lens set attaches to the iPhone is that you stick a magnetic disk that has glue on one side onto your iPhone around the camera optics. If the idea of gluing something to your iPhone gives you the creeps, then this isn’t for you!

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Each lens is magnetized and snaps onto the magnetic side of the disk. This works reasonably well. So far, I’ve had most fun with the fisheye lens, shown in these images. The kids wanted their iPhone fisheye picture taken while they mugged for the camera, and I used a tripod to make a self-portrait.

Who knew that the audio cable of an iPhone can also double as a cable release? Maybe you do, but I didn’t. To make this trick work, with the camera app active and the ear buds plugged in, press the “up” volume button on the ear buds wire (indicated by the + symbol).

Well, if this all sounds pretty jerry-rigged, it is truly not the sturdiest setup in town. But it is fun while it lasts, and look at it this way: they laughed when Leica first introduced the 35mm camera, and also called it a “toy.” In photography, toys have a way of sometimes outlasting “serious” gear.

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Wonder whether I’ll be using these photos as blackmail when my kids are older? Me too. Here are some other fisheye shots of Katie Rose and the family from a few years back, shot with a conventional camera and the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye.

Posted in iPhone, Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Cockeyed Fisheye Landscape

Bend in the River

Late one spring afternoon I was scouting the bucolic farm country of rural Sonoma County. From Whitaker Bluff under scuttling clouds I photographed this cockeyed fisheye view of the bend in Siempre Creek and the curvature at the horizon. It’s unusual to shoot a landscape where the distortion is so obvious—because of the fisheye lens, and because I positioned the camera sideways at an angle—but I think in this case it works.

Speaking of landscapes, my new book Creative Landscapes: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques is now shipping from Amazon (although the official publication date of the book is still several weeks off). If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography

Lensbaby Fisheye

Leucospermum Fisheye

Leucospermum Fisheye, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a close-up fisheye of my Leucospermum Scarlet Ribbons. I photographed the flower with the Lensbaby Composer and the new Fisheye Optic.

The image you see is a hand-HDR composite of five exposures, all at ISO 100 on tripod. Each exposure used the f/22 aperture ring. Exposure time ranged from 1/4 of a second to 1/30 of second.

Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Photography

Fisheye Family

Fisheye Family Katie

Fisheye Family Katie, photo by Harold Davis.

I sometimes enjoy the creative challenge of being constrained to a single lens, and it is certainly a challenge to create portraits with a fisheye lens. Fortunately, my kids get the humor of the thing, and play along.

Fisheye Family Nicky 2 Fisheye Family Mathew
Fisheye Family Julian

Fisheye Family Nicky

Besides the obvious distortion and curvature, the key thing to bear in mind with a fisheye is how much close foreground it includes. In the landscape context, this implies that you better have something interesting in the foreground of a fisheye composition (consider my Between the Earth and Sky as an example).

Moral: if you are taking portraits, you need to get the lens really, really close, like an inch away.

For more fisheyes of my tolerant kids see Cruel & Unusual Lens.

Posted in Bemusements, Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

Biggest: Correcting Digital Fisheye Distortion

What do you do as a photographer when confronted with the biggest tree on earth, stretching up so high that it can’t possibly fit in a normal frame? I say one way to go is to use an extreme wide-angle lens, like the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye I used here. This lens is specially formulated for digital, and cannot be mounted on a film camera. It has no aperture ring, so f/stops must be set in camera. It projects a smaller image against the sensor to overcome Nikon’s 1.5X focal lens magnification factor—and still be truly wide angle.

If one is lucky, the fisheye lens will even pick up a starburst effect from the sun, like I did here in front of the General Grant tree in Sequoia. By the way, I know Sherman was a great general, and succeeded in raising Atlanta and marching to the sea, but I’d have rather they named these wonderful trees after less warlike folk. Maybe the Martin Luther King tree?

The problem with a fisheye photo, of course, is that for better or worse it will show the curvature distortion that is typical of extreme wide angles. Nikon attempts to combat this with a filter in their Nikon Capture software that is specifically designed to uncurve the curvature caused by this 10.5mm fisheye lens.

As another aside, even if you own a multi-thousand dollar Nikon dSLR, you still have to go out and buy Nikon Capture with a street price of about $100.00. I think this really stinks, since Capture has a few capabilites such as this 10.5mm digital fisheye distortion correction, and the ability to automate camera functions from the computer, that really should be considered integral to Nikon’s product line. There’s also a filter in Capture that automatically removes the dust that accumulated on the sensor protection (you need to take a reference photo and send it to the software.)

Capture is really part of Nikon’s digital camera solution, and should be provided with higher-end Nikon digital cameras—and Nikon should give up trying to think that anyone will use it instead of Photoshop.

Here’s another version of the photo of General Sherman run through the the Nikon Capture filter to correct the extreme fisheye distortion. I don’t think it makes as much difference as one might expect. However, I didn’t choose the option that said to correct areas where there was no image available. This would have had the effect of uncurving the image more (also, making the elements within it seem smaller), and I could have cloned in trees into the missing areas.

Biggest Un-Fisheyed

View this photograph larger.

Posted in Bemusements, Landscape, Photography, Photoshop Techniques

Fisheye-Lens Dog

I’m trying out my new toy, an AF-Fisheye Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED lens for my D70. This is one of the first pictures with it.

One of our neighbors has this dog on approval from the Milo Foundation. He (the neighbor, not the dog) says they haven’t given the dog a name yet until they decide to keep him. I hope they do, I think he is very cute.

The fisheye lens is kind of cute, too – and will take some getting used to. I’m looking forward to using it in situations where I want to capture an entire wide scene.

Extreme wide angles are problematic on digital SLRs because the capture arrays (sensors) are smaller than on film SLRs. The magnification factor is 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. This is good for telephotos (your 200mm lens becomes a powerful 300mm equivalent on Nikon digital) but bad for wide angles (your nifty 20mm has become a so-so 30mm equivalent).

This fisheye is specially made for Nikon’s digital cameras, and gets around this problem by opticially reducing the image size within the lens before it even hits the camera’s sensors.

I’m having fun playing! More fisheye photos:


Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Surreal Lady Fish

Take one model (Katlyn Lacoste). Make two in-camera studio multiple exposures of the model using strobes on a black background. Turn the exposures sideways, and mix and match in Photoshop. Add Harold’s eye. What do you get? A surreal lady fish.

Surreal Lady Fish © Harold Davis

Surreal Lady Fish © Harold Davis

Posted in Multiple Exposures, Photography

How Long Must Eye Wait?

Wedged in a crack behind the aptly-named Ladyboot Arch in the Alabama Hills of the eastern Sierra near the Nevada border of California, I already knew this wasn’t going to be the perfect image. For one thing, the lens I was using, my dearly beloved Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 horizontal fisheye had blown over in an accident a few days earlier, with a nasty crack on the front optical element.

How Long Must Eye Wait? © Harold Davis

The focus of the lens was also jammed, stuck (fortunately) on infinity. That is, nobody wants focus to be jammed, but if an extreme wide-angle has to have a single focus, infinity would be the choice.

Ultimately, I had no idea whether shooting through this damaged lens would produce reasonable results.

I was also faced with a problem of topography: the crevice I was in would not let me set the tripod up normally, and I had to spread the legs and wedge them against the rock walls.

Finally, all was ready to start the timer on the intervalometer. But for reasons unknown, it simply wouldn’t work with the camera. 

Falling back on “Plan B” with grace under pressure is a normal part of any photographer’s toolkit. My Nikon camera has on-board intervalometer functionality, admittedly with an inscrutable user interface. The limitation is that the shutter speed maxes out at 30 seconds. 

Normally, my practice with this kind of photography is to set the camera to Bulb, and shoot a sequence of wide open (or nearly wide-open) captures at four minutes (using ISO 400). 

Dropping the shutter speed down to 30 seconds meant I was exposing for 1/8 the duration of time I normally would (because 30 seconds is 1/8 of 4 minutes). To compensate, I needed to boost the ISO by a factor of eight, from 400 to 3,200.

The final exposure data was 141 exposures, each exposure made at 30 seconds, f/2.8, and ISO 3,200. Post-production was in Photoshop, using the Statistics script with stack mode set to Maximum.

Here’s an image from the front of Ladyboot Arch, and another image from the rear of the arch (made with my other camera, a working intervalometer, and the Zeiss 15mm wide-angle lens!).

Night photography workshops are indeed a great deal of fun, and I am looking forward to a repeat engagement in Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, with my friend and distinguished night photographer Steven Christensen of Star Circle Academy as co-teacher in 2018. The dates are Friday, September 7 through Monday, September 10, 2018. Click here for more information!

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography, Workshops

First-Order Fresnel Lens at Point Reyes Lighthouse

This is an image of the first-order Fresnel lens inside the Point Reyes Lighthouse on the western tip of Point Reyes, California. According to the Point Reyes National Seashore website, “the Fresnel lens intensifies the light by bending (or refracting) and magnifying the source light through crystal prisms into concentrated beams. The Point Reyes lens is divided into twenty-four vertical panels, which direct the light into twenty-four individual beams. A counterweight and gears similar to those in a grandfather clock rotate the 6000-pound lens at a constant speed, one revolution every two minutes. This rotation makes the beams sweep over the ocean surface like the spokes of a wagon wheel, and creates the Point Reyes signature pattern of one flash every five seconds.”

First-Order Fresnel Lens at the Point Reyes Lighthouse © Harold Davis

First-Order Fresnel Lens at the Point Reyes Lighthouse © Harold Davis

On Saturday evening, my Creative Landscape Photography workshop on Point Reyes was lucky enough to have the lighthouse opened for us. I shot this image handheld with my Nikon D810 and a 16mm digital fisheye lens (the interior space was pretty tight). I used auto-bracketing and burst mode. There were nine exposures, each at ISO 1250 and f/6.3, with shutter speeds ranging from 0.5 of a second to 1/500 of a second.

I combined the exposures using Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop.

Some related images: Lighthouse in the Fog; Night at the Point Reyes Lighthouse; Inside the Lighthouse; Owl’s Head Light.

Posted in HDR, Photography, Point Reyes

Something Fishy

One of my favorite characters in fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkein’s Smeagol, would have appreciated the nice, plump and juicy slab of fish I brought back from the store. The fish meat rested on skin on the back, and the skin and scales glistened with a rainbow of pastel colors in the light. I knew I had to photograph the fish scales up close and personal.

Scales © Harold Davis

Scales © Harold Davis

I used my 85mm tilt-shift macro with a 36mm extension tube at an effective aperture of f/51 and an exposure sequence at ISO 100 from 1/8 of a second to 8 seconds. This is extreme close-up photography, with a magnification ratio of about 15:1, meaning you are viewing the fish scales fifteen times actual life size. Magnified this way, the fish scales look almost soft, and could be barnacles, or schools of fish themselves.

Fish Scales in Black & White © Harold Davis

Fish Scales in Black & White © Harold Davis

Smeagol a/k/a Gollum would probably not have approved of my light source: directed sunlight (Gollum preferred dark caves, and the sun hurt his eyes). He also might have thought that the way it was prepared (by smoking) “ruined” my nice, plump and juicy raw slab of salmon. But I, to use Gollum’s vocabulary, thought my nice piece of smoked fish was “tasty” indeed—when I ate it after photographing it!

Posted in Bemusements

Make-Like-A-Fish Mathew

Make-Like-A-Fish Mathew

Make-Like-A-Fish Mathew, photo by Harold Davis.

This photo of Mathew concludes a round of photos of my four kids; besides Mathew, in no particular order, Nicky, Katie Rose, and Julian.

To get this photo, I did what I advise in my Photographing Kids, Family, and (other) Weird Things webcast. I got down on Mathew’s level and asked him to show me what a fish looked like. I was ready for him when he pursed his lips, and I snapped the photo with the focus point on his right eye.

Posted in Kids, Photography

Garden Gate

Entering the Enchanted Garden © Harold Davis

Gardens are about more than flowers. An important component of any garden is how you get in, or if you get in at all. Gardens have entrances and exits, and, yes, gates. The garden gate helps signify the kind of garden you should expect: formal versus informal, exclusive versus inclusive, playful versus serious, and so on.

What does the garden entrance shown here, to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden, with the garden’s Spirit Path shown through the gate, suggest about the character of this lovely garden?

Garden Gate © Harold Davis

Top photo using a circular fisheye is intentionally overexposed to suggest an enchanted garden within; bottom photo (shown immediately above) is a panoramic crop of a horizontal fisheye indicating the extent of the wall surrounding the garden.  

Posted in Photography

Finding the Attic

Phyllis just reminded me via Facetime that Maine is “Stephen King” country. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I opened a door I had never noticed before (or always thought of as a locked closet) in the house the workshop organization is putting me up in. The door led to a rickety flight of stairs and an attic with many needful things, and the dormer window you see here.

Attic (via IPhone) © Harold Davis

The photograph above is via iPhone, processed in Snapseed and ImageBlender. The photo below is monochromatic HDR processed in Photoshop, and captured with my D850 and a 15mm horizontal fisheye on a tripod.

Attic Monochrome © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography