The weather down south has been unseasonably warm lately. I took advantage and headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway recently. The trail we were after was gated shut, but we did find a pathway up to the top of Black Balsam Knob. Very cool place – a 6000+ foot mountain completely covered in grass and small shrubs.
The view is spectacular (360 degree panorama):
When I wasn’t hunched over a computer, I did get a chance to visit some cool spots this summer –
I got some new lenses and was left with a defective Canon 18-55mm kit lens. So I took the thing apart to see what was inside:
At the back of the lens is a pretty thick convex lens thats used to focus the light onto the sensor inside the camera.
There’s also a circuit board that controls the autofocus of the lens. Take that off and below you can start to see the internal mechanisms that are used both for the telephoto zoom and the focus. The mechanical gizmos turn the focusing lens.
There’s also 3 more pieces of glass in the center which are used to give the lens its zoom power.
So I decided to take the various lenses and try out some DIY photography. The basic starting point was the pinhole camera, which doesn’t use any of the glass. Pretty good explanation here on how to build it: http://digitalphotographyblogs.com/2006/04/09/diy-pinhole-lens/
I just used a piece of black paper taped to old lens mount. The results were pretty cool:
One effect of pinhole photography is that a perfect focus is impossible. So you get these sort of dreamy looking exposures.
I had all the glass from the kit lens, so I tried some experiments. The most basic convex lens on top of the pinhole:
The focus improved by a good bit.
Next, I fashioned just the small convex lens on onto a paper holster, at an angle. My intention was some sort of tilt-shift effect.
At the basic angle, I’d get a wispy look on the edges of the image.
Since the paper holster was pretty loose, I could move the lens and increase and angle, resulting in some pretty cool images:
Fun stuff! I’ll see what I can rig up next after a trip to the hardware store.