Monday, May 12, 2008

Fish-Eye Lend

A Project That Really Struck A Chord

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


There's always an appropriate time in one's life for reflection - but sometimes you have to recognise the fact that it's not the appropriate opportunity. No, I'm not referring to metaphorical reflection, I'm referring to literal reflection! Me, I always have time for reflection of the soul, but in this case I'm talking about reflection in the objects that you photograph.

I'm always drawn to an image that comprises an unusual reflection, as most of you know. But a couple of weekends ago, I wanted to photograph this guitar in bright sunlight, to try and get the little chrome dials and knobs to throw a reflection on the rich burgundy surface of the guitar's body. I used the splendid SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm lens for this experiment.

So I took the first shot (above) with one of the five tiny knobs slap-bang in the middle of the frame. Yeah, all good. Happy with the result. On the LCD screen, it looked like a fairly decent shot. I could see the tiny indentations on the knob clearly, and I could see the reflection as well.

Then I spotted something else. When I started the experiment, I hadn't realised that the concave top of the knob would act as a perfect fisheye lens. Have a close look and you'll see what I mean. The top of the knob is a faithful reflection of the sky as well as my surroundings, producing a full 360-degree view across its entire circumference.

That's when I decided to shoot one more frame, to try and get a clearer shot of the sky. This time I shifted slightly, so if you compare the two frames, you'll see that the second one (below) is off-centre but produces a much stronger image. Both shots are taken at F6.7 and with an ISO speed of 200, but the second one is clearly superior in every respect.

Symmetry is good in all aspects of life, but I always advise photographers to look for an asymmetrical view as well. You never know which result will turn out better - and let me tell you that looking at any situation from more than one viewpoint works pretty well in approaching real life as well.

Photography is a lot like life. We learn something every day. And like life itself, it's our duty to pass on the knowledge that we are fortunate to glean. Let me know if you agree.

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)

30 comments:

willow said...

That's amazing David, nice shot!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

That second shot is brilliant - well spotted. As you say, amazing how the subject of an image can change when we change how we look at it - applies as much to life as it does to photography.

Texas Travelers said...

This was an interesting and fun post. I enjoyed it.

For a bit of diversion:
We have posted:
Alaska's Haul Road - The Dalton Highway.
A 414 mile gravel road,
to the Arctic Ocean

Come join us for the trip,
Troy and Martha

Daryl said...

peek a boo I see you


:-Daryl

Golightly said...

Very cool shot! I've been trying to keep my eyes out for odd shots, but contending with more illness and work deadlines slows the process.

I think the husband is going to get me a Canon Rebel XTi with our govt rebate check. He seems to be leaning that way as I keep taking more pictures (and doing things like building a light box for the fun of it!) He can get it in our price range (we have a friend that works for Canon) and a good choice to learn & grow with...

Journey of Truth said...

Not sure I would have noticed the sky on top of the knob, but you know I'm glad you said something about it. I totally think that picture rocks!!

Kim said...

A beautiful post, David!

I completely agree with you...we never know where we are going to find a metaphor for life, do we!

Thank you so much for reminding me!

Peace!

Bart said...

Dude! Guitar on the brain! Check out my latest for a guitar related story that only now happened to me.

Katney said...

The reflections are perfect. The second shot much more artistic than the first. Don't you just love reflections. This one reminds me of one of the hood of our PT Cruiser in the forest. I'll have to dig it out and share it when I catch up.

lime said...

it really is a trick. i remember when my oldest was a toddler. i chased her around for 20 minutes trying to get pictures of her reflection in the mylar balloon she was playing with.

Momma said...

Oh, nice shot, David! It's like you captured the sky in a tiny capsule. I don't think I've seen a picture like that in a while which wasn't Photoshop'd.

Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, too! Happy Mother's Day to Mrs. Authorblog!

Peace - D

quilly said...

Details were never my thing. I was more a global thinker taking in whole scenarios rather than studying the separate parts. Photography has changed that. I now look at the parts that make up the whole and I've found a whole world of beauty I completely missed for over 40 years.

Ruth D~ said...

I love the lesson you gave here, Dave. But more than that I like your sense of wonder and your openness to the unexpected. I once took what I thought would be a normal picture of an insect on the car window. Instead it is surreal with reflections of everything including me. Who knew?

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

I noticed the sky reflection right away, even before reading your post.

It's an amazing perspective.

sandy's notes said...

What a wonderful analogy of photography and life. When I saw the first photo, I didn't know what the red was. Sometimes the explanation of the shot is just as good as the shot itself.

Nice post!

Lana Gramlich said...

I noticed the reflection right away, but I enjoy photographing reflections, myself. :) Another great shot--thanks for sharing. Sorry I've been AWOL, too. Busy with my Canadian visitor these days!

Corey~living and loving said...

I love the second shot so much. The colors are much deeper, as the angle allowed less reflection on the wood itself. lovely.
nice to see YOU, as well.

John said...

Ha! David you don`t need a fish eye lens!
You are very creative and a master to find cool things to capture.

As usual great macro shots David, and the reflections are perfect.

Sharon said...

Those are stunning photos, David! Loved reading about the process.

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Hey thanks for stopping by my blog! I am slowly getting to everyone Suldog has linked, there are a lot of fantastic bloggers there :)

Both of these shots are amazing! You have an amazing eye for picking up on what life puts in front of you. Beautiful!

CrazyCath said...

The clarity on these shots is amazing. Especially the second one.

It is a while since I chose to use ISO200 which used to be my favourite - think I might go back to that and see the difference.
Also I might pinch the reflection theme for odd shot if that's ok with you. Not that it will be of the same standard of course.
I's only 12.30pm here on Monday so I am still thinking...

nitebyrd said...

It's like a tiny alternate universe. Very intriguing.

Allan Cook said...

What a fantastic shot - I would never have guessed what it was. Loved the contrast between the beautiful sky and the gorgeous finish on the guitar. Bravo!

Blue said...

Late visiting here!
But I bow low to your techy - wordy superiorty!

Gloria said...

I love your fisheye sky, that's pretty neat :)

Mima said...

It's the rule of thirds coming into play again, the second definitely works better, although you can see the promise of your final shot in the first. I love what you spot, I'm not sure that I would have been looking at the reflection in that way to start with, let alone to have spotted and made the most of the fish eye effect.

Sandi McBride said...

That is simply a great shot. For Christmas I want a real camera, lol!
Sandi

Paulie said...

It's fun to experiment. I enjoyed the sky reflection.

CrazyCath said...

Passed on the reflections and went with animals instead! I am incredibly late this week, but still got there. (I started the post on Monday but it is now Tuesday when I finally published!) I think it is still Monday in America. ;0)

Charles Gramlich said...

Totally bizarre in a cool way.