Having completed the assignment, a number of technical issues came up that needed attention and deserve a mention here in my blog. The first is camera cleanliness, my 5D2 is nearly 3 years old, and has shot nearly 36,000 frames, an average rate of just over 3 per day, or if I had been shooting film I would have gotten through 1,000 rolls of 36 exposure films at a rate of just under 1 per day. Scary thought and why a DSLR ultimately can save money. Ignoring the film saving this usage rate has led to a very dirty sensor, so for the first time ever I cleaned it.
This had been worrying me for some time, I am not good with my hands, and was very concerned that I would simply generate a very large bill for a replacement sensor. However, I was becoming heartily sick of using the dust removal tool in Lightroom so time for a clean. Here is the sensor before the process, not at all clean:
I followed a step wise process to clean the sensor:
- Place the camera on a small tripod at an angle good for access insert mains power into the camera and lock up the mirror
- Blow any dust out of the mirror box
- Use an electro-static brush, ionized by blowing air over it to lift any loose particles
- Finally use a wet wipe to swab across the sensor
The result was, another dirty sensor, except now the dirt had moved around a bit.
I tried again, only this time with very much more swiping and blowing, with the final result:
I was quite pleased with this. A couple of days later I shot the following test whilst out and about to see how things were, and whilst there are some visible dust spots they are very far fewer and smaller. So I would have to argue that this was a job well done and something I should have tackled years ago. Ah well I know how to do it now.
Another activity this weekend was testing a new lens for my second camera system a Samsung NX100 mirrorless compact. So far I had 20mm and 30mm prime lenses for this camera, plus a couple of zooms. The biggest problem was that the 20mm was not wide enough, only being equivalent to a 30mm on a FF camera. This was not wide enough for work in and around the city, although very good for street work. I subsequently bought a 16mm f/2.5 pancake lens to add to the kit
I love these small lenses, which combined with the tiny NX100 (well compared to by 5D2) makes for a great carry anywhere system. I took it for a walk and captured the following images
OK, it will not win architecture awards, no normal prime lens can, however, the colour and detail are quite superb, I am very pleasantly surprised. Previously I had felt the camera a little flat in colour, perhaps that was more a feature of the lenses I was using. I am more than satisfied with the saturation.
Continuing my walk into the area where I was shooting my newly submitted assignment, I noticed some strange reflections on the side of the synagogue, looking a little like Hebrew script, but accidental I am sure. Once again the 16mm lens performed very well on the Samsung and I now look at this little camera in quite a different light.
My final technical discovery over the weekend came in printing my Assignment 2 images. Prior to submitting any assignment to my tutor I print the images I plan to submit for assessment. I feel that printing is a fundamental step in the artistic process and whilst I am happy getting my tutor's feedback on the electronic images, I want to know that they will print the way I want them to. When I started TAOP 2 years ago I printed everything on 5x7 glossy paper, which was not great. I moved to a semi-gloss pearl paper from Ilford and started to print at A4, finding this to be a much better size for understanding the photos and a far better medium. For this assignment, I have moved on once more, this time using Epson Archival Matte paper. As I was printing B&W I wanted to be able to reproduce very deep blacks and also sustain a good tonal range, matte paper seemed the way to go. I was again impressed, the matte paper really a very deep tonal range and generates a very satisfying print. I also printed a rich colour Autumn scene, once again with great results.
Not necessarily a major step forward, but I am trying to develop my understanding and abilities in the final set to print. So, a great weekend, lots done, lots more to do.