I recently took a trip out to the old Jubilee Gold Mine to give my new Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens a work out.
I must say that I am very happy with the lens, it delivers great sharpness and clarity and the bokeh is excellent and the auto-focus is internal, fast, quiet and accurate. After actually using the 100 L It’s hard to put down.
the amount of small creatures in a very small area is astonishing.
Ever since getting my first point and shoot digital camera quite a few years ago I have had a thing for macro or up-close photography. Being able to photograph something in great detail that you would normally not even see is very rewarding to me.
Eventually I decided I had to have a “real” camera and got myself a Canon EOS 1000D and then roughly a year later I updated to a Canon EOS 600D with larger megapixel sensor, movie mode and an articulating rear LCD screen. Both of which are 1.6 crop sensor cameras, but I am extremely happy with the new camera but a sad part of my new cameras was the fact the standard lenses are not capable of focusing close to an object. After researching macro lenses for the Canon I discovered even the cheap ones were rather expensive. Macro lenses on eBay ranged in price from $500 ef-s 60mm to $1500 for the ef 180mm f/3.5L and up
To lear more about this brilliant lens check out the review here
After all my research I decided that at that moment I was unable to spend the money to purchase my desired lens the L series ef 100mm f/2.8 Macr IS USM.
An alternative to the very expensive dedicated macro lens is extension tubes. Extension tubes are designed to enable a lens to focus closer than its normal set minimum focusing distance. Getting closer has the effect of magnifying your subject. They are mounted in between the camera body and lens to create more distance between the lens and film plane. By moving the lens father away from the film or CCD sensor in the camera, the lens is forced to focus much closer than normal. The greater the length of the extension tube, the closer the lens can focus.
I purchased a set of extension tubes and played with them for a while with some fairly good results but all in all the bother and I couldn’t get the thought of purchasing my very own macro lens out of my mind.
After a lot of saving I was able get enough money together (roughly twice as much as my camera cost) to purchase the lens and when it arrived I was overwhelmed with the build quality and the image quality it produced.
The above photo was taken at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on my first day of having the lens. I was very happy with the results except for a small depth of field caused by a lack of light. It was a very overcast day and the LED flash I have wasn’t exactly good enough, but I have ordered a xenon tube ring flash with LED auto focus assist from eBay that should allow me to stop down the lens and get a much better depth of field in the darkest of conditions.
Ever since getting my first DSLR camera last year I have been keen to try my hand at Star Trail photography. But I must admit I have been more than a bit intimidated by the whole idea.
Reading many contradictory articles on the subject with many different methods and settings was very confusing, but finally I decided on a plan of attack for my first excursion in star trail photography. Some recommended taking one long shot a half hour or more in length but others assured me this is a sure recipe for disaster, guaranteed to introduce “thermal noise” caused by the image sensor overheating, creating noise and hot pixels in the resulting image.
After I had even taken the step of purchasing a battery grip with inbuilt Intervalometer just for the job it sat unused for several months.
Aperture – I used the lowest f number I could (largest aperture), with my lens was f/4.5 Lower f stops help to produce clearer stars.
ISO – Again I used the lowest possible which is 100 on Canon 1000d. A low ISO helps reduce noise. Higher ISO’s can cause over exposure from ambient light.
Shutter speed – With the intervalometer I set it to: After a delay of 1 second open the shutter for 30 seconds and after 1 second take another and repeat this 200 times. This could also be done with a remote shutter release by setting the shutter time to 30 seconds and using continuous shooting then locking the remote on.
First I would need a clear cloud free night, unfortunately around here that normally means a night of a frost and with that comes another set of problems. Not the least of which is condensation forming on the lens glass. I was forewarned of this possible issue and had even planned a solution. A quick trip to the outdoor and camping centre and I picked up glove warming heat pads that would be tapped to the outside of the lens and keep the condensation at bay.
After 1 hour I checked on proceedings only to discover there was thick coating of condensation on my lens, oh well that is a lesson hard learned. In future I will be better prepared, being sure to have all equipment needed including a torch for setting up and rubber (elastic) bands to affix the heat pads to the lens. Just as a side note to this you can also wrap the lens in Aluminium foil after the heat pads for insulation and increase their effectiveness.
After packing up and arriving home I was a little disappointed to find that around a quarter of the photos were unusable do to condensation. On the good side there were enough photos to make a nice star trail that looked not too bad considering the usual star trail would consist of around 300 shots or more.
You may ask how you will turn hundreds of images into a star trail? The answer is easy, download the software here load your images and press start. If you like the software consider donating to the author.
Well I have finally done it; I went and purchased a Digital SLR camera.
So for the last few days I have been champing at the bit waiting for my Canon EOS 1000D (Rebel XS) to arrive. After unpacking and thoroughly investigating all the bits and pieces that came with it I decided to try and capture this evening’s sun set as my launch into the world of DSLR photography.
Sadly the sky was rather full of clouds but there were a few spots that let the sun shine through. I used p mode, played around with a few settings and above is one of the resulting images.
I was fairly happy with the images but obviously I have a lot to learn. And I’m looking forward to it.
So much for going home this morning, they have now told me they want me to have a transesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) to further investigate the suspected ventricular septal defect and possible growth on my mechanical aortic valve.
A TOE is an alternative way to perform an echocardiogram. A specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip is passed into the patient’s esophagus. This allows image and Doppler evaluation which can be recorded.
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment, I have been fasted from midnight for the last four days. I was really looking forward to breakfast this morning.
My BGL was 5.7 early this morning and just now at 11:50 it was 4.1, I don’t mind telling you I’m a little bit hungry right about now.
After having the angiogram postponed for two days running today was finally the day. My nurse had me change into a hospital gown early and I was transported down to the catheterization laboratory or cath lab for an invasive procedure called an angiogram. Another nurse shaved my my groin on the left side normally this procedure is carried out on the right femoral artery but back in 2000 after suffering a ruptured cerebral aneurysm I developed a false aneurysm caused by another angiogram that required surgical repair.
After the perpetration a catheter was inserted into the femoral artery of my left leg until it reached the coronary arteries of my heart. Then a special contrast dye was injected while a live x-rays are taken of the blood vessels as the dye moves through them clearly showing any blockages that may exist.
While this happened I was awake although sedated and I was able to watch the x-ray screen seeing my innards in real time. It was very interesting to see the 3 wires warped around my sternum in what can only be described as a Cobb & Co hitch. Also clearly visible was the replacement aortic valve that was installed in 2005.
The worst part of the whole procedure was afterwords when they removed the sheath and have to press on the insertion point firmly to stop bleeding. The length of time the nursing staff need to press vary’s depending on the individual and how thin the blood is for patient like my self that regularly take Warfarin to thin the blood. After an angiogram patients have to lay flat for around four hours which can be brutal for those with a sore back.
The cardiologist told me that i had beautiful fat arteries and no blockages and that I could go home tomorrow so I am feeling very happy about that and the results.
Although I expected to have an angiogram today and fasting from midnight my INR (measurement of how thin / thick the blood is) was to high, meaning there was a risk of uncontrolled bleeding from the catheter insertion point.
They finally gave me some food and as soon as I started to eat an orderly came to collect me for an echocardiogram. This test had some mixed results showing good output but also indicating a possible ventricular septal defect or VSD commonly called a hole in th heart. A hole in the septum between the heart’s two lower chambers, allowing blood to pass from the left side of the heart to the right side. Oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood. As a result, some oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the lungs instead of the body.
How much more can possibly go wrong with me?
Hopefully I will get the angiogram tomorrow and I will know exactly what I am looking at, eg stent(s) or bypass surgery.
Being just 43 a heart attack could not have been further from my mind. Despite previously having had heart surgery twice to replace defective bicuspid aortic valve I believed that I was not likely to have problems with clogged arteries as my cholesterol have always come back within the desirable level.