Thursday, August 6, 2015

Toys Toys Toys!

Here are they! My new toys and gear! Well, forgot to mention anything about them in previous posts but I will dedicate this post to them. Up until this moment I'm trying to find some time to test what I got here and write a review for them on B&H website. However, this week has been hectic for many things (and believe it or not some of that because of work despite the dormant summer season). Add to that, a turmoil at home because of renovation work that I just can't swallow.


Now, to the business. All in all, beside the toys there is a side order of 2 books but I'll keep those for later down. Most of the items were actually from the wish list I've stored on B&H website and I've just realized that I was just "window shopping" for more than a year without thinking of upgrading anything in my arsenal of "toys!" Most probably it is all related to the downgrading financial situation worldwide.

Source: B&H
Anyway, first things first. A camera and lenses case or bag, from Think Tank. This item was on my wishlist for 2 years or even more! Now it is the time to get I thought, specially with the deteriorating conditions of my own bag right now. It has lot of pockets and the main inner body can adjusted to many positions to fit even a bazooka lens (sarcastic term for telephoto lenses; sorry photographers' joke). I can even fit my Rokinon barrel (mirror) 800mm lens in it instead of leaving out as I used to do before. The bag is supposedly made to accelerate your airport experience (a hassle every photographer might have encountered already). However, with many metallic stuff and batteries inside, I'm not quite sure if this will work with the increased security issues worldwide now. The best thing here even is that I could attach my tripod and I don't have carry it by hand... finally!

Source: B&H
One of the interesting items here, and I mean "very" interesting, is what I've discovered on B&H as I was surfing looking for some other items. A UV filter. Usually when "UV filter" is mentioned, people would think of that yellowish filter that enhances the colors of the scene by blocking the bluish UV haze. This one is completely different and acts like a cold mirror in the case of infrared: allows UV and blocks visible light. This is a completely new field to me and I still need to discover and try. One thing for sure though, Long Exposure. It does require film or converted sensor as well just like in the case of infrared photography, but the sources here can be different. One of the interesting facts here is that flash tubes (e.g. speedlites) can be used for UV photography but some protective layers must be removed (hence it would be a good idea to get a cheap flash and adjust it). Till the moment of writing this, I've tried the filter only once in the outside in my workplace just to test the length of the exposure and I have to say... it's long!

Source: B&H
Then we arrive at the next major toy! The Microfier from Vello. It is relatively cheaper than reversing rings from other brands and it offers the essential control over the lens when it is reversed and mounted on the camera for macro photography. It does offer somehow a greater magnification level more than extension tubes (by calculations) specially when used with 18-55mm kit lens (the smaller the length, the greater the magnification). There is still the issue of the closest focusing distance which I didn't experience or read about yet. However, I did take a simple shot for my fingerprint which does look good (with high ISO here though). Left to say that it comes with several mounting rings to accommodate for the various diameters for lenses.

My fingerprint taken with Microfier.

Now, the rest of the toys are simple accessories, and some of them are really needed though, specially as a replacement!
Source: B&H
First, we have here the Flex Lens Shade I guess the name says it all. Anyway, one can also argue that even lens hoods don't do the job perfectly in blocking the light flare (in the description of this item by the manufacturer, they state it can be attached to hoods themselves!). Anyway, this is not only for daytime photography, but also for nighttime to block the remnants of street lights. However, the real test would be with fisheye lenses and their excessive field of view (specially the Rokinon 8mm that I own). Seems a night shooting session is due, despite the horrible weather!

Source: B&H
The next in line is something I needed as a replacement. A step-down ring to fit a small filter on a large lens diameter (58mm onto 62mm). The comedy here is in the fact that I've only found one store which sells those here in Kuwait, and for my fantastic luck, they don't have this particular size. Please note the sarcasm when I said "fantastic." This ring though is better than the one I've lost already since it is made from aluminum alloy and not plastic. I've ordered 2 rings just in case!

Source: B&H
The last item in this list is just some Manfrotto 1/4' screws to keep as spare parts. I've kept this time in my wishlist for a long time, specifically when I noticed one of the screws in my Manfrotto VR-head was missing (and during that time I was using a spare screw from Manfrotto macro rail head). However, I did find that missing screw later on! But nevertheless, it would be a good idea to keep some of those available whenever needed for such "disasters!"


I don't know why I used a German subtitle for this section, but oh well. I didn't read photography books in such a long time I guess, and still I do have a queue of Arabic books that I need to go through still. I'm planning to stop reading a novel in Arabic in bedtime and replace it with one of the photography books I've recently ordered.

Source: Amazon
The first book on the list is by Bruce Barnbaum. This is the second book I have from him. The previous one was The Art of Photography; a very intellectual approach beside a long and detailed technical description for the chemical processes done for films development. It was/is such an amazing book and I thought this is the time to rejuvenate my eyes and vision in photography after such a dormant period. Thus, I'm hoping that The Essence of Photography would be like its predecessor. It is not only about the information in a book that one would stick to it, but also to the style of writing and the order and organization of the book itself that one might lose him- or herself reading it.

Source: Amazon
 The second book is supposedly about the art of using flashes (speedlites) in a creative way. I had other books about flash photography, specifically those by Syl Arena, but this one seems different in essence, since it discusses ways and methods instead of the technical aspects as it was in Syl's books. I will keep this book for later reading. I think I will be taking one of them anyway with me when I travel... I need something to pass the time with from time to time.


Things are done and ready, almost, for my travel. All what is left is... the visa! After completing my papers, I've set an appointment to "submit" the papers and complete the procedures - I heard an interview is involved. So, we'll see by next Monday, August 10th. Good thing that Mom has no dialysis session on this day. Because of all this hassle my ongoing Geltani documents are on hold, again. I just can't wait till I start my vacation and off the country. One thing though I do wish for... a specific someone to be with me on the way…

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