Telephoto

For the most part of my involvement with photography, I was attracted to normal or wide focal lengths. The range between 21mm and 50mm was my favorite with some exceptions shots for which I used the 15mm and 90mm. The Nikon 135mm f/2 was a lens that made me shoot more at a longer focal length, with the majority of my shots being wide open since it has a very special look.

So, when I opted for a telephoto lens for those rare times I would use it, I went for the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 and not the 70-200mm. A good all around lens, not an exceptional performer or a fast lens but it gets the job done.

Due to a very busy schedule during the past few months, I didn’t get the chance to visit new places, and I basically revisit the same locations which are part of my frequent travel route each month. When you have extensively photograph a specific location, after a while you have pretty much exhausted your subjects. That means, that you need to take a different look than your usual. One way for me is infrared photography, that kept me going on for a while. After that, the next step is to explore new focal lengths, and for me is to use the telephoto lens at its long edge. So, the 28-300mm became a permanent addition to my photo bag.

Today, while I was taking a short break from driving, I noticed a few cows and a man in a nearby field. This a a field I have repeatedly photographed in the last, but the addition of the living element provided me with a new subject. The use of the 28-300mm was inevitable due to the long distance, so I put the lens on my D800E and took some images. I chose a fast shutter speed of 1/500 to although I should have probably be at the 1/1000 range to get a more steady shot, nevertheless I got the images (the 28-300 has VR and that helps a lot with handheld shots).

Despite of my more frequent use of the telephoto, I am not opting for a 70-200mm f/2.8. Its a very expensive lens and for now, I can’t afford such an investment for amateur use. The 28-300mm pretty much covers my current needs.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Fuji X100 Infrared

One more post with infrared photos taken with the Fuji X100 and Hoya R72 IR filter. This time, I decided to raise ISO settings in order to be able to shoot handheld with the IR filter. Using f/2.8 and ISO settings from 2000 to 3200 I was able to get shutter speeds of 1/30 which allowed me to shoot without the tripod. My Leica M8 can shoot at 1/30 speeds at f/4 and ISO 160 due to the weak IR filter in the camera. Still, the high ISO performance of the Fuji is very good (miles ahead from the M8), so despite the fact that you get noise, it can produce good handheld IR photos for web publishing. For large prints, I will try to not exceed ISO 400, which means that shutter speeds are low and besides the need for a tripod, there can be blur on moving objects, like tree leaves for example.

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The image above was shot from my car, and it was a very fast capture. I could not get out from my car, since the birds would fly away, but I am happy I could get this image even at ISO 2000. Short depth of field is due to the f/2.5 aperture.

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This is how the image comes out for the camera, using custom White Balance.

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Shot wide open at f/2, using auto focus was quite successful. With the Leica M8 making a short Dof photo like the ones above is really a hit and miss effort. It requires focus bracketing, and most of the time I avoid it.

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This was taken on a tripod with ISO 200 at f5/.6,so exposure was long (2 seconds). With base ISO setting, the X100 can produce a very clean infrared image and I have been able to produce great prints at 60cm x 40cm sizes, not bad for a 12 megapixels camera !

So, will I replace my M8 with the X100 for IR images ? Well, obviously not. To be honest, I would like very much to use the X100 for all my IR work, its very suitable for me to carry only one camera, but the M8 can do false colour IR, can be used handheld at base ISO, and its far more sensitive to infrared light than the Fuji (don’t forget that this was actually a design flaw !). The X100 is a much more versatile camera than the Leica and if I am not doing IR work, I will almost always take the X100 with me when I just want to have a small camera with me. It’s a superb camera even for today’s standards !

©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Flowers

A few images of flowers for today’s post. Shot with the Nikon D800E and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC with defocus control ring set at REAR 2 position.

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©2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Insects

A few images of insects taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens. I didn’t have my Tamron 90mm macro with me, so the long telephoto edge of the 28-300 together with the heavy crop ability of the D800E helped me to get some kind of macro details.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Nikon D800E with 28-300mm lens

Images taken with Nikon D800E and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

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I use quite often this lens when I need a telephoto, both for stills and video, I think its a great lens for its focal range, and quite convenient when optimum quality or speed is not a top priority.

(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Infrared photos with Fuji X100

One more post with infrared images, but this time with the Fuji X100. Altough I am almost exclusively shooting IR with the Leica M8, two of my favorite infrared photos were taken in the past with the X100, so I thought i should try to make some IR photos with this camera.

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The X100 can do great blakc and white IR images, with the limitation of course of slow shutter speed. The image above was shot during a sunny using f/5.6 aperture and base ISO. Shutter speed was 3.5 seconds. With the M8 in same lighting conditions, I would get a speed of 1/15 to 1/30, so I don’t need a tripod, and also I could catch some movement (if there was any). Now, with the X100 I can used higher ISO settings and decrease shutter speed, but I try to keep my it shots at base ISO for optimum quality.

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False floor infrared is something I prefer to to with the M8, since it had much greater sensitivity to IR light, so with the Fuji I will either convert to black and white or use a monochrome conversion like the one above.

What I have noticed, is that IR images from the Fuji are more clean than the a Leica. The CCD sensor of the M8 gives a more grainy image with infrared, even at base ISO. I like this look as it resembles film grain (kinda), but others will prefer the crystal clear look of the Fuji.

I will sure shoot more IR photos with the Fuji at the future, but for serious IR work, I will stick with the M8. For someone who wants to shoot IR seriously, I would of course suggest a properly converted IR camera over a used M8 (unless they want a rangefinder camera, in this situation a Leica
M8 can cover both needs for normal and IR photography, with the limitation of bad high ISO performance).

Enjoy the rest of the images.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved

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Infrared images

One more post with my latest infrared photos. As always, the Leica M8 was my camera or choice.

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The same subject with different shutter speeds. One short and one long exposure. Shot with the Summarit 35mm lens and B+W 092 IR filter. For the long exposure shot I also added the B+W 110ND, a 10 stops ND filter which is very useful for long exposure images during daylight.

The use of the tripod allows me to choose a smaller aperture (f/11) which makes it easier for me to nail focus, since with infrared you have to turn the focus ring a little bit to the right from the point where the rangefinder focused, and the M8 LCD screen is awful for checking focus at preview.

Once more, I was impressed with the sharpness and image quality of the Summarit (especially when compared with my usual IR lens, the Voigtlander 21mm).

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The above images were taken with the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 lens and the B+W 093 filter. This is a “heavy” IR filter, suitable only for b&w images (you can’t convert to false color IR). It gives a more dramatic effect. The 15mm has a hot spot in the centre when shooting IR, which can ruin the look of the image, but in these cases, it was much less evident.

Even on the M8, you need a tripod to shoot with the 093 filter.

(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Images with Sony SEL 55-210mm lens

A couple of images taken with the e-mount Sony 55-210mm lens for the NEX system. This is a 82-315mm lens (35mm equivalent) and although its slow, I really like its small size (for a telephoto zoom) and the image stabilisation. Using the long edge even at f/6.3 aperture you can create great separator of subject from background especially if you move close.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Insects

Images taken with Sony NEX 5N and Sony 55-210mm lens.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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Infrared Blur

A couple of experimental shots with the infrared filter. The low shutter speed combined with deliberate camera shake in order to create a blurry artistic look. Not something special, but I post them anyway !

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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