Just Waiting

    I entered “Just Waiting” as a print in the WCPF (Western Counties Photographic Federation) 2019 Members’ Exhibition and was delighted and very surprised to find that it won first place “gold” in the Monochrome Print Class. I had to pinch myself when I then realised that “Time to Stop Texting” – entered as a digital image in the Open Class – had won a Selector’s Award chosen by Ed Cloutman. On top of that I had four other images selected. That somewhat makes up for my abysmal performance last year when I only managed two acceptances.

    You can see these images in the exhibition at Bovey Tracey Golf Club from 5th to 19th May.

    “Just Waiting” was taken at the old brick underground station at Baker Street built in the 1860s as part of the Paddington to Farringdon Metropolitan Railway – an early version of Crossrail – and all for a mere £1.3m. It was built by the cut and cover method which essentially involves digging a big trench for the railway and then roofing it over (with buildings, roads or whatever).

    “Time to Stop Texting” was taken at Bank Underground Station on the curved Westbound Central Line platform.

    Another New(ish) Camera

    This one is to replace my Sony NEX-F3 which I had had converted to IR (see previous post). Why? Because much as I loved it, I was finding the absence of a viewfinder quite an inconvenience in bright light conditions, which of course is when infrared is at its best. So I sold my converted NEX-F3 and acquired a used Sony A6000 – both transactions on e-bay. The A6000 was then converted by Alan Burch to full spectrum. I am very happy with the result. The A6000 is a silver one so I won’t pick it up by mistake thinking its my A6300 which is good, and it only had 600 shutter actuations – it looks like new.

    The camera came with a Sony 16-50 power zoom – its a sort of pancake lens. I was going to sell that, until I discovered that it has good IR properties in as much as it doesn’t exhibit much of a hot spot. So that is staying on the camera for the time being and we will see if I can get used to a power zoom; my initial reactions is that it is hard to fine tune the zoom as it overshoots constantly – perhaps that is operator error!

    Finally, I got hold of an STC clip-in 720nm filter for the A6000 from Cyclops Optics in Hong Kong. It’s really small and sits directly in front of the sensor and is held in place by the back of the lens. This way I can use any IR tolerant lens on the camera without having to worry about having a screw on filter of the correct size available. It arrived a few days ago and I have fired off a few test shots but nothing serious – the weather has been too dull to check it out properly.

    The image above was taken in February just after I got the A6000 with a conventional R72 filter on the lens – its a panorama of four images and is the river Otter where it enters the sea at Budleigh Salterton.

    My New Camera

    Actually it’s my oldest camera…… but it’s been modified to take infrared images. I sent it to Alan Burch on the Isle of Wight, who specialises in making full spectrum camera conversions. I had still got my old NEX-F3 camera lying around after having failed to sell it on e-bay some time ago: they fetch virtually nothing. It dawned on me that it would make the perfect camera to convert, basically because it is a mirrorless camera and it was mine! Mirrorless cameras are good subjects for conversion because they have an electronic viewfinder and live view – you can read all about it on Alan’s excellent website.

    So I sent off my NEX-F3 for a full spectrum conversion and Alan had it back to me within a few days all ready to go with the right settings already dialed in to the menu. I purchased an R72 filter in the correct size for my Sony 16-70mm lens (55mm dia); the R72 gives good results for black and white images which was what I was looking for. You can see some of the images I have made in my INFRARED MONO gallery. By having a full spectrum conversion as opposed to one at a specific wave length, I have the option of using other filters for other IR effects.

    I am very pleased with the results though I should say that a lot of post processing is required to get the required tonal range.

    The one snag to the NEX-F3 is that it has no viewfinder – only the live view screen at the back. Sony made an accessory viewfinder for this model but they are as rare as hens’ teeth and mighty pricey. IR photography is at its best under bright blue sky conditions which is where a viewfinder earns its keep. I have the screen turned up to maximum brightness and even then it is sometimes difficult to see exactly what the composition is. I am thinking about getting hold of an A6000 for conversion as I am hooked on IR photography. I also need to decide what lens to use. At the moment my 16-70 is shared between the F3 and my A6300 so there is a lot of lens/camera-body swapping and the inevitable dirty sensor problem. So I need a lens that I can leave on the F3….. to be decided!

What’s it all about?

Here are my jottings about my photographic projects and activities. I have been working on a focus stacking macro photography rig. There are quite a few posts about that. In addition I write about other photographic activities as and when!


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