Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Photographing close up stills with the Fuji 60mm macro lens

We skipped going to the studio today because of the President's Day holiday. So I decided to play around taking some close-up stills using the 60mm Fuji macro lens on an X-Pro1. I have always found this lens to be very slow to focus. It has been improved somewhat with all the firmware updates Fuji has made to both cameras and lenses, but it is still slow and does hunt a bit. I'm hoping this will be improved when using it on the new X-T1. For now, however, I have it on an X-Pro, and rather than put up with its slow focusing, I used it in manual focus mode.

The top three photos were lit with direct sunlight coming through a window. I flagged some of it off to create shadows and slivers of light to define the composition, and kicked some light in from the opposite direction using a small silver card. I wanted to light to be hard and used the bright areas to define important parts of the subjects.

There is a certain about of intrigue in this tintype photograph of a man pointing to a microscope while his son stands nearby. His pointing gesture raises many questions: Is he pointing because he is proud of the microscope? Is he identifying his profession as a doctor or scientist? Is he pointing at it to thank someone for giving it to him? We'll never know the true story, but we know the gesture was quite deliberate when we consider the length of exposure times in this era.  He had to hold his pointing hand steady for quyite a long time. 

The next three images below were taken on my desk using direct available light from a ceiling track lighting fixture and no fill whatsoever for the shadows. Once again, I wanted to keep the harsh look from the tungsten down spots. I also played into the warm tone caused by this type of lighting by boosting it a little in Photoshop.

Normally it would be difficult to hold the entire tonal range with this type of hard, candid light, but the extensive dynamic range of modern digital sensors, and the especially the Fuji X cameras, thrives in these situations.  In the days of color film, shooting like this would have been near impossible to do.  Today you can obtain a passable image even with a cell phone camera.

For the top shot of the inside of a watch I used an extension tube with the 60mm macro to come extra close.

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