This blog is devoted to the application of optical fibers in photography. I have several homemade (DIY) flash adapters channeling the light from the flash close to the lens. The technique can be used mainly for macro photography, but I will show examples for wide angle close focus techniques as well. The recent version is called fiberstrobe V3, hence the name of the blog is "fiberstrobe".

Saturday, August 20, 2016

DIY giant monopod

Changing the viewpoint in photography can be rewarding. Many of my wide angle macro photos are taken from ant’s perspective, which makes them specific. I also like aerial photos but I never had a chance to try by myself. Couple of years ago I bumped into a wedding photography blog (don’t remember which one) where the photographer threw up the camera to the air in the middle of the circle of the wedding guest in a constant shooting mode hoping that few of the photos will include the guest. I liked this random approach but I would never risk my camera. However, I wanted to try photography from a bird’s view. Another inspiration was, when I met a guy in a park using a giant monopod taking photos of the new channel harbour in Leipzig. I’ve checked the prices and such long monopods start from 200 euro. Hefty price just for experimenting, but it’s definitely worthy for professional photographers.  
Last year the local chain store Aldi was selling cheap angling sets and the idea for a new project was born. I don’t remember but I paid around 15 euro (including reel) for a strong telescopic 3 m fishing rod. Choose something intended for big fish (giant carps or catfish) if you want a stable monopod.
I’ve simply cut the last ring and removed the last flexible piece. The difficult part was to install a ¼ inch screw to the end piece. It’s in general difficult to get such screws in Germany but I found a good internet vendor (http://www.zollshop.de/) with a great selection of non-metric screws compatible with the photo camera’s standard. I’ve tried many things and I still don’t have a final good solution. I used a threaded rod with a nut in the middle and glued it into the top part. I run out of sugru mouldable glue, so I tried a similar product from teas glue. But it didn’t work, so I quickly ordered a new batch of sugru. It’s expensive but perfect for DIY projects.









Another important part is the remote controlling of the camera. Few years ago it was still very expensive thing, but modern cameras include various solutions for it. My current sony A6000 can be well controlled from a smartphone via wifi.
The last missing peace was a flexible holder. I found it in an unusual place. I was waiting in the primark shop waiting for my family shopping for clothes, when I bumped into the lazy arm smartphone holder. I don’t remember but it was below 8 euro so it was an instant buy. You can find similar things under 10 euro/USD under various names.







The fishing rod is not really designed to hold heavy things and have force from the top, therefore, just for additional safety to prevent that the parts slides accidently together, I applied some tapes to prevent it (at least for the top parts).

You can further improve it by adding a ball head to the system. The final DIY monopod was easy to handle. Maybe it’s not appropriate for heavy DSLRs with fast chunky glasses, but it worked well with my mirrorless camera with a fisheye lens.



 I took only few photos. Nothing special but it convinced me about its potential. I will probably use it for the coloured leaves in autumn more.









Monday, May 16, 2016

Daphnia again

Today I wanted to post a tutorial about fast digitalizing old photo slides with a simple macro lens and a tablet or smartphone. However, I brought home some water fleas for filming them to my new video project. Afternoon I decided to take some new photos as well despite my tons of daphnia photos. Man y of them were nice but this one I really like:


I also tried to add a bit of blue by placing a piece of blue paper behind. It worked well:


If you're interested my video project you may check my vimeo channel:

https://vimeo.com/166555881




Sunday, February 7, 2016

Daphnia project 2016

This year I'm planning to focus more on video. Plan is to shoot a 15-20 mins underwater video including some super macro using small aquariums. As a first step I bought some daphnia in the zoo shop and filled my mini aquarium. After finishing the video session I couldn't resist to take some new photos. My new A6000 is just perfect for this purpose. The lighting set-up includes optical fibers to side-lit the water fleas, which brings out the details. You can check the rig in my previous post here:
http://fiberstrobe.blogspot.de/2013/03/fiber-maco-aquarium-project.html

After the focus and the exposure is set taking images is really easy. Few photos from the results:












Monday, January 25, 2016

Fiberstrobe vs Evil Dead



The films of Evil Dead trilogy were my favorite horror movies when I was a child. Despite the low budget they were really scary and were full with crazy cinematic shots, strange angles of views and fancy tricks. I was really happy when I heard that Ash was back with his chainsaw. I also liked a lot the poster created for this new Ash vs Evil Dead TV series:
You know that I’m a big fun of fisheye effects, so I decided to pay respect to the Evil Dead series and I took my own version of the poster. These are my pictures in portrait and landscape format:




The show the branches of the trees in an almost circular format the camera was placed almost on the ground on a joby tripod. My new camera is a sony A6000 that has a cool function. It can be remotely controlled by a smartphone, so it was possible to have a full control on the picture even when the LCR/EVF was almost touching the ground. The only problem was that the battery depleted in my smartphone during the photo shooting, so the rest was just try and error approach. I had two sets of charged batteries for my camera and the flash, but I haven’t checked my phone. It’s still not yet part of the checking list. There is no extra light on the original poster, but I decided to hold not just a camera (my old nex-5) but also a flashgun. Ash is holding a chainsaw and boomstick in (on) his hands. I used self-timer (10 seconds) and radio triggering for my flash (simple yongnuo flash).
After resizing and cropping I’ve just increased the contrast and altered a bit the colors to get the final image.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cheese

I rarely ask people to say cheese when I take group photos, but today I did real cheese photography. I've tried recently a La Corona cheese that was new in the selection of our supermarket. It was really delicious and while eating I've also recognized its very interesting structure. Yesterday I bought a new piece and before eating it I took few photos. I found the rim lighting as the best way to bring out the surface structure of the cheese:


Here you can see a bit my DIY fiber optic rim light adapter, so you can imagine the lighting set-up:


The photo was taken with a sony nex-5 and the sel30M35 macro lens on a tripod. A radio-triggered external flash provided the light through the rim light adapter.

Guten Appetit!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Freelensing versus 30mm macro with fisheye adapter

Just a quick try to compare the freelensing technique with the 30mm macro lens with the fisheye adapter attached. The first picture is the fisheye lens itself (SEL16F28 + VCL-ECF1). It's stopped down but the closest subject is still not sharp enough and the background dominates:


In the freelensing photo below the background is blurred and the closest subject is really sharp. The lens was set to infinity before it was detached from the camera.


f8

f22


Stopping down the lens doesn't make much difference. Setting the sharpness is easier around F8. The last picture is with the SEL30M35 lens combined with the fisheye adapter (VCL-ECF1).


Considering the close-up distance the field of view is really nice but not as dramatic as in case of the freelensing technique. Which one to choose is really a matter of taste. I will use both techniques in the future.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Freelensing

Few days ago I’ve visited Sweden for a short business trip. Between two events I had a bit of time for sightseeing and photography. I also went to a botanical garden in Lund that was full with fantastic flowers and absolutely not shy butterflies. Unfortunately I had only the kit lens and the 16mm+fisheye lens with me, so I had to improvise for macro photography. My previous post was about a kind of freelensing, so it was just the perfect time to try again. Stunning results, considering the simple set up, in my opinion. However, it’s not for people who are always afraid of dust spots on the sensor. I had some, maybe partly due to this freelensing but I’ve also changed the lenses a lot. After I got home, I cured the sensor with DUST-AID Platinum Kit. Now, few selected photos from the botanical garden:









The lights were perfects so there was no need for artificial lights. It was enough to take care of the lens and not to drop it onto the ground.