Averegten, a morning walk – November 23. 2020

A morning walk in the Averegten, Heist-op-den-Berg (B).

Unfortunately, I was too late though to capture the beautiful morning mist lingering in the woods.

I filmed this with my Blackmagic 4k.

This clip’s music is also a creation of mine.

Originally intended only for Instagram and my blog, I decided it merits a place on my Youtube channel.

Vivitar (Komine) 400mm f5.6

I am a nature photo/videographer on a budget.
Yes, I am aware that, in most cases, it is better to have very good glass and a decent camera than the other way around.

Six months ago I invested in a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k. I have some good glass and a handful of vintage lenses. By the way, the Blackmagic is a formidable camera, and its image quality extremely good.

I own a Panasonic 100-300mm F/4.0-5.6 and I’m happy with it. On my BMPCC 4k, this means having a 600mm and, using the HD Windowed crop even a little more.

I want more though. Like a 400mm or a 500mm. Or the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm.
My daughter’s studies at university are far more important. Besides, she lives with me.
So forking out about 1000$ for a lens, well, not any time soon. Maybe next year.

A few weeks ago, while browsing a well-known second-hand site I came across a vintage Vivitar f5,6 400mm with an Olympus OM-mount. I still use an Olympus OM-1n occasionally, so that’s a bonus.

I checked a few online reviews, a few YouTube clips, and examples on Flicker and wasn’t very convinced but, well, who knows.
I offered 80 bucks for the lens and my bid was accepted and a few days later the lens arrived.

This is really a heavy lens and made for full-frame cameras. It weighs 1277 grams (2.8 pounds). The filter thread is 77mm. The iris is an 8 blade one and it had internal focussing.
The closest focus is about 6 meters.
It has a retractable lens hood and the lens measures 28cm in length.

Fortunately, it has a built-in tripod collar because there is no way you’ll be shooting handheld.
Obviously manual focus, basic lens coating, if coated at all, and it goes all the way to f32.

On my BMPCC 4k, this is a whopping 800mm lens. Best part? I have a 2x Tamron teleconverter for OM mount lying around giving me 1600mm shooting pleasure.
Well, no.
Not really except if you have an extremely sturdy tripod and a smooth head.

I haven’t used it much yet but I tested it out filming ducks on a pond.
At used it without and with the teleconverter. Focus peaking and a decent monitor are a plus. I did not shoot wide open but around f8 to f11 at 400 or 800 ISO.

The results?
Well pretty good actually. Soft, even at f8 or f11 but using some overall sharpening in DaVinci Resolve helped.
I tried adding some USM in Fusion and together with the sharpening in the color tab of Resolve I did get reasonably sharp images.
It is good enough to be viewed on mobile devices.

A wind still day

Somewhere at the end of May 2020, my first trip shooting with my new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. Almost a wind still day so many of the shots look like photographs extended in time.

Past Sunday was a cold and gray and rainy day. September is coming to an end, October is already knocking at the door.
So I looked at those first clips, most of them I never showed, and decided to give them a makeover.

Using the tools in DaVinci Resolve, adding more controlled changes using Power windows I tried to make this footage as “cinematic” as I could.

Same world, other light

Filmed in infrared with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k and a Cokin infrared filter. I used a Nikon 50mm f1.8 and a Viltrox NF-M43X Lens Mount giving me 1 stop extra. Wide-open and at 3200 ISO I got an ‘ideal’ histogram. Less grain and a better black & white result.

Local Nature

August 2, 2020.

On June 15 the borders opened and traveling to and from Belgium was possible again. New Covid-19 cases did not increase, staying stable at about 90 per day.

Then, and in my humble opinion a huge mistake, on July 1st, we could see 15 people and change our bubble every week. Two weeks later new Covid-19 infections started increasing again. It went up like crazy.
Today we are at almost 500 new cases per day.

In the Province of Antwerp protection masks are obligated wherever you go, backed up with 250 € fines.
So even in the woods, all alone, I’m wearing a protection mask. Foresters can also write fines.

So, during my 2-week holiday I stayed mostly at home with a trip to the nearby woods of woodlands to film.

Back to work tomorrow. Well, working from home that is.

Stay safe, friends!