Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Soy Pork AKA "I Am Stir Fry"

Soy Pork
I keep saying I'm going to write about food, but never find the time. Well, tonight I scrounged up a meal for the family with no advanced planning and figured I'd take some photos along the way. It's simple and healthy, depending on your definition of that contentious word. For me, a meal qualifies if it has minimal fat, sugar and dairy content with all the ingredients cooked to preserve their natural goodness. More or less. This dinner contains meat and gluten so warnings to all those who can eat neither.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free Update To Reaktor 5.6 Released

It's been a year since the last update to Reaktor, which included a generous package of interface enhancements and free instruments. Now Native Instruments have released version 5.6, this one also totally free. Now that's service! Read on for a discussion of the product and a full list of bug fixes.

In terms of general profile, Reaktor is way down the list of priorities for NI. It's not even that easy to find it on their website. Nonetheless, it is apparent that NI are aware of how important it is to their geek image. The users of such bit-head development tools push the bleeding edge and drive a good deal of the culture around their other products. It's good to see that such support is appreciated.
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Macros With The Leica 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R

Leica 60mm f/11 macro test
Given that the Leica I've been using lately is a macro lens, I thought perhaps I'd do a quick and dirty test to see if it's useful in that realm. I should warn you that this test is likely even less rigorous than the others, since there are many things that can go wrong when magnifying a subject by this much. I used a simple method. I set the lens at full magnification, which is to say 1:2, mounted it on a tripod pointing straight down, and then adjusted the height of a Euro coin so that it was in focus. Without macro rails this was not as easy or accurate as it should have been.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Further Tests Of The Leica 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R

This article will wrap up the formal part of my lens testing, in order to establish lens properties at different focal lengths. Be sure to read the first set and also have a look at the real-world shots since I make certain observations there as well. In this instalment I will also test the metering with this lens on the Pentax K20D. Finally, I've also got some reference material from Leica that will allow me to validate my observations and compare the Elmarit to their other normal lenses.

First I'll show you the bookshelf test, which was shot in a similar way to those in my first article: on a tripod with timer release, using natural light supplemented with a bounced flash. The focal distance was exactly 200cm. Once again I varied aperture through five settings: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11. Flash power was set to: 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1. ISO was 200, shutter 1/30s. Files were processed with Adobe Camera RAW into Photoshop with default settings, sharpness off.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sample Shots With Leica 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R

man down
In my initial review I promised some real-world photos with my first Leica lens; you'll be happy to see them in this post. All the shots have been processed to the fullest, which is only fair since that is what I would do with any lens. But this is generally a modest process: a touch of contrast and exposure correction, plus sharpening after downsizing.

However, I must admit to having my own techniques for bringing out detail and tend to apply one of these actions to my shots. Not always, but usually. And these make a significant difference to the look of the shot. Without my processing your shots might not look like these -- just saying!
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Induction Circuit live today!

Induction Circuit
Induction Circuit is a self-directed walk that explores the secret domains and hidden sounds of Catherine Street (Limerick, Ireland). Setting off from a designated starting point with a music player and headphones, the participant is encouraged to experience new sonic geographies. Familiar territory becomes new again.

All you need is some sort of a personal music player. Then go to the special website and grab the sound files. Download and print the map if you need it. Then allow yourself an hour and go on the walk -- I do hope you enjoy it!
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Initial Review Of The Leica 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R

I am not much of a lens tester, but the first thing I do after getting some new glass is shoot off some homebrew test shots, just to be sure the item I have spent my money on is in good shape. In the case of my first Leica lens I was particularly interested in seeing how it rendered. Mounting the lens on my K20D I attached same to a sturdy tripod and found something interesting in the room to focus on. These dried wild-flowers don't test the colour response in any way, so that will have to wait for later. But otherwise they make an appealing subject.

This article will present some test shots along with 100% crops. These I will evaluate for sharpness, contrast and bokeh. I'll discuss the lens handling and note some quirks. If you want scientific test you'll have to look elsewhere. I have to admit I only spent one day shooting before writing this article, which is a measure of my enthusiasm if nothing else! But I did also test in the real-world scenario of some live events I was documenting. I'll present those images later.
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Leica Lenses on Pentax Cameras

Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm on the Pentax K20D

Eventually there comes the time in every photographers life where he succumbs to the lure of Leica. To find out for himself if they are simply over-priced. To discover if the cult has something to offer. Even if you are not interested in the limitations of the rangefinder system, and don't have multiple thousands of Euro for a digital Leica, there are still plenty of options for using the lenses themselves on other camera bodies. In this post I'll outline the options for Pentax, setting the stage for some test shots with my first Leica glass, the 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R.

I am by no means an expert, so please post corrections.