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Full Frame!

About a month or two ago, I jumped on a deal.  A friend deal.  I'm the happy owner of a 5D II body as well as a 24-70 F2.8 L, 50mm F1.4, and other sundries.  Exciting.  I've probably shot around 750 frames so far.  I gifted my Rebel XT and 35mm F2 lens to Paul.  I'm going to miss that 35mm F2, but the 50mm F1.4 is quickly turning into my favorite lens.  The 24-70 F2.8 is no slouch, but there's just something about shooting with a fast standard prime.

Fun times.  There are some ergonomic behaviors I'm still getting use to on the new body.  It's nice having gear that I literally won't out grow.  Time to read my photography books again and learn some new techniques.

Slowly but surely

I'm really starting to like these extension tubes.  The incredibly shallow depth of field takes some getting use to though!  Initially I was taking shots with F2, F2.8, and F4.  But the depth of field was so razor thin.  Even at F8, it just felt like all I got was blur.  The above was taken at F11 with a 1/20 shutter.  I had been playing with the light placement and I wanted to take advantage of the depth of field.  This is the best I got out of those experiments.  A nice blur on the left, but increasingly in focus as you get to the tip.

On this one, I just wanted to see how much I could get in focus and do it as sharp as possible.  My setup is a bit lacking though.  This one is again at F11, but at a 3.2s shutter.  Fun times and a good distraction from the endless excel files.  I think from here I'd like to get a macro focusing rail and some sort of mini studio setup.

Extension tubes

With all of the layoff talks at work, I've been very mindful of where my money is going.  The best way for me to not spend money is to simply not buy any toys.  I've been pretty good about that.  With the layoff talk lessening somewhat, I finally opened up my wallet to buy something for me.  One was an electric tea kettle, but maybe more interesting was an inexpensive set of extension tubes for my dSLR.  Above I think is my best photo with them so far.  There for sure is a learning curve when using extension tubes!  The above was taken with around 30mm of tubes with my 35mm lens.

This was my first try with them.  Blurry.  Yuck.   

This one was taken with my sigma 70-200 lens with a full stack of tubes of around 60mm or something.

All of these pictures were taken with the camera on a tripod and my handy dandy eyepiece magnifier.  I think the biggest lesson i pulled away from these pictures was how difficult it is to manually set the exposure.  The tubes remove auto focus and aperture controls.  I had to use the depth of field button trick to get the aperture I wanted.  The tubes also killed off about 2 stops of light.  After that, the lack of working distance was rather challenging too.  In the two pictures above, the lens must have been about half an inch from the pen.  In the bottom picture, it was about five inches or so.

Good times though.  I'm happy to have something new to play with, and hopefully I can really start to get a taste of macro photography.  I just need something more interesting to shoot.  :)

Our new underwater camera is here!

Our red Panasonic TS3 arrived today.  Exciting.  I'll post pics later.  I really got to get our Olympus 1030SW shipped out to get the seals replaced.  Need everything squared away before the middle of May.  :)

Spring at the Chciago Botanic Garden

Spring is almost here, and the first of the flowers are starting to bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Mostly Crocus and Snow Drops.  There were lots of green shoots just starting to emerge from the ground.  It'll be interesting to see what the bulb garden looks like in a couple of weeks.  The greenhouses are always a good place to take a few pictures though.