London 2012 Olympic Games finally draw to an end leaving many memorable moments behind. I thought London did a fantastic job and English people should be very proud. A lot was going on during the games including some competitions. One was organised by the toy/figure maker Corgi asking people to take photo with 83 sculptures of London 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville placed in various location across the city. The prize was the complete 12 piece mascot figurine collection but what I found more interesting was the challenge! It’s been a long while since I’ve entered any work into any competition and looking at this and the interesting idea, and since it was mainly targeted at families, I thought it would be interesting to try and see if I can do something that stands out.
My first effort was a 3D photo that although got a little attention, it didn’t win. I started analysing the photos that won and most of them had one thing in common, they were all stationary! As a photo would be! So I thought of breathing a little life into the mascots! With doing an animated gif! (image on the left) I tried two ideas and second one won the prize for me! I know this wasn’t a big competition but I realized I miss the creative process involved in focusing to create something and achieving some sort of recognition for it. Although my job is fairly a creative one and involves a lot of creativity and problem solving,I’m only involved in enhancing and perfecting an existing idea and I miss the freedom of being able to create something without any boundaries.
I get some satisfaction from taking photos but that’s not exactly creating something, it’s capturing existing elements and trying to present them in the best possible way. Making films, as amateur as they were, is as close to a satisfying feeling of creation as I’ve come to, something I should have never stopped. I guess it’s never too late to start again; it’s just the first step that’s a bit too heavy and from there the pieces should fall into place.
*Updated: Lomography’s Diana Lens
I don’t know what is it about old-fashioned things that attracts us, maybe it’s the history, the richness … or maybe we just want to look cool!
One of the very popular old looks are photos; vintage, lomo or the effects produced by an analogue camera is almost considered an art form these days! With digital cameras completely pushing away traditional photography, re-creating the photos with that style has a very large fan base. From actions in photoshop, apps on your phone and using an actual analogue camera (Lomo cameras), anyone tries to have a go at this, but what if you could do the same with your digital camera?
Holga camera, initially designed in 1980s, is a low cost camera mainly made from plastic.” It usea a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity – wikipedia“. The typical characteristic of Holga is vignetting and more blur around the frame. Holga camera can still be bought and used, but what you can do now is to buy the Holga lens and attach it to your digital camera!
The result is actually very interesting and your photos look as if they were taken with a classic analogue camera (look at the three photos on the top right side). The only difficulty with Holga lens is its appetite for light! in other words, it’s only useful on a sunny day and preferably before the sunset! At the fixed aperture of 8 there’s not much can be done with this lens other than satisfying your lomo desires! which should be met with the very pleasing result. It’s very cheap as well so definitely worth checking out; I’m certainly very happy with my experience!
The Holga lens for Canon (and Nikon) is available for about £20 from eBay or similar sites. It’s compatible with some of the accessories such as the Fisheye and Wide lens converters.
The Crop Factor
On a camera with a crop sensor (most Canon and Nikon mid-range DSLRs) this lens will actually become 96mm which in practise is a telephoto lens! This makes framing very limited, and taking photos of closer objects very difficult if not impossible (focus is limited too, about ~90cm to infinity) . This also means accessories like the Fisheye won’t give you the fisheye look but it will act as a wide lens converter which is actually a good thing! You can see from the image below that using a fisheye converter will give you a wider range (it transforms 96mm to something like 50mm) and make Holga lens easier to use.
The effect of the Fisheye; Not Fisheye! but a good wide converter
And here is one comparing a photo taken with a normal 18-55mm Lens to Holga so you can see the effect of the lens.
But what about video? Let’s have a look at some sample clips shot on Holga plus the fisheye converter recorderde yesterday in London.
Lomography also has a Canon EOS mount for Diana F+ range of plastic lenses which is somewhat disappointing. Taking the crop factor into consideration (sensor size) most of the lenses will become telephoto and practically a little useless! The only lens that can actually get you some result is the 20mm Fisheye. The other problem is the hole in the mount is too big making most of the photos too blurred, so I had to make it a bit smaller otherwise most photos won’t be usable.
The photos right off the camera even with the smaller EOS mount hole still look a little blurry and flat and will require retouching. Below is a test videousing Diana F+ 20mm Fisheye lens, there’s a nice look to it and it does get better with a little grading which you can see in the same video after the raw version.
3D photography has been around for over 150 years capturing the history in depth! Being able to add depth to flat images is something somewhat magical, although it’s something we are doing all the time with our eyes without even noticing! It could also be very helpful when capturing reference images when you can also capture the volume of the object.The digital age has made a lot of things easier and Stereo Photography has a much bigger fan base now due to the simplicity of producing 3D images, however, for many it’s still an expensive process.
Having two cameras and setting up a rig could also be a little complex, and the 3d stereo digital compact cameras are a little too pricy for what they’ve got to offer! The good news is if you are really interested in taking a few 3D photos and experiment with this technique, for most cases and when shooting static objects, one camera is more than enough! All you need to do is to take two photos with a little offset! It’s better to set the camera to manual control so the photos look as close as possible in terms of the exposure. This works best for landscapes and architecture.
The distance between the lenses (or in this case the lens for each photo) represent the distance between the human eyes. It’s called the inter-pupillar distance or inter-ocular distance. The greater this distance the greater the 3D effect.
After you are happy with the photos taken, import them in Photoshop and copy both in one project.The right eye is sometimes chosen as the primary eye or “hero” eye (The photo taken from the right side*). Make sure this photo is on the top layer; select and go to the Blending Options (right click/double click). Disable the red channel and click ok.
Now you need to line up the photos and choose your convergence point. Wherever the photos are aligned becomes the screen plane, and from there the object/s will appear to come forward or behind, i.e. if the convergence point is on the nose, then the mouth is coming forward and the hands are going inwards from the surface of the screen. There you have it! Your very own 3d photo! All you need is a pair of anaglyph glasses easily available from eBay or Amazon (red & cyan).
*if the 3d image looks a little strange then change your hero eye
Sometimes very sample things look so fascinating! They could remind us of a distant memory, a forgotten experience or a flashback to a dream! I love the sound of this candy dispenser machine! It takes me back to a colourful childhood memory that I never had! And for a moment lets me disconnect from this world, all my thought and concerns, and be lost in a different world! Wish I could stay longer … Close your eyes and listen first before watching!