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About Photography / Hobbyist Core Member Grant HillebrandMale/South Africa Groups :iconthe-photo-critics: The-Photo-Critics
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Deviant for 10 Years
7 Month Core Membership
Statistics 962 Deviations 10,767 Comments 44,340 Pageviews

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Light rays + trees 2 by AniaBuckle Light rays + trees 2 :iconaniabuckle:AniaBuckle 33 8 Attached III by moondrummy Attached III :iconmoondrummy:moondrummy 3 2
2015-001 It begins
Ominous words.  The die is cast, the pack is shouldered, the battle begins.  There certainly is no turning back; the new year is upon us whether we are ready or (much more likely) we are not.
I was the first reader at last night's New Year's Eve service.  Funny that we should observe the transition from one year to the next with a worship service.  Unlike Christmas and Easter and such, New Year's Day has no intrinsic religious connection.  Yet, religious or nonreligious, we humans seem to consider the start of a new year an appropriate time for looking back and looking ahead.  For Christians, the place to do that is with ones fellow believers in the church.  We are in this together.
The passage assigned to me was Psalm 121, a song of ascents, that is, a song for pilgrims going up to Jerusalem, where stood the ancient Jewish temple.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does m
:iconpearwood:pearwood 2 16
Serpential by LuciaConstantin Serpential :iconluciaconstantin:LuciaConstantin 52 3 Wind by alperyesiltas Wind :iconalperyesiltas:alperyesiltas 3,078 543  Mg 8701 by lwc71 Mg 8701 :iconlwc71:lwc71 77 8 Boring by panosozi Boring :iconpanosozi:panosozi 83 26 Tailor Of Silom by InayatShah Tailor Of Silom :iconinayatshah:InayatShah 77 28 'Neath December's Cold Moon by DanielGeesen 'Neath December's Cold Moon :icondanielgeesen:DanielGeesen 37 4 Moth Ripple - Natural Patterns and Textures by LivingWild Moth Ripple - Natural Patterns and Textures :iconlivingwild:LivingWild 39 9 Pathway by FireFlyExposed Pathway :iconfireflyexposed:FireFlyExposed 12 11 Street Ball by Suds344 Street Ball :iconsuds344:Suds344 5 5 Here It Comes by Suds344 Here It Comes :iconsuds344:Suds344 44 19 Secret Meeting by OliverBPhotography Secret Meeting :iconoliverbphotography:OliverBPhotography 1,279 203 Pressure by AlexandruCrisan Pressure :iconalexandrucrisan:AlexandruCrisan 100 8 Marys Rock Tunnel, Skyline Drive by rdungan1918 Marys Rock Tunnel, Skyline Drive :iconrdungan1918:rdungan1918 7 13


Coming over from… I can really see what appeals to you in this image - the light and the moment with the...

This is a fascinating piece - from initial eyecatching contrasts to subtle layering of the outer petals, it draws one in. The little bl...

Hi Maryellen, Sim suggested a full-on crit of the image, and with so much going on here, there is plenty to think and write about. Much...

Coming over from… First off, thank you for avoiding the spam of 20 images of the same thing! If the arti...

Some for The-Photo-Critics, but some others as well. You can find 'comment crits' here
The stars are really a bit(?) biased - I tend to have critted images I like!
Feel free to request a crit - as I have time, I'll get there.

A slider for macro work

Tue Jan 8, 2019, 3:08 AM
20 in 1 - BTS - whole rig by AfricanObserver
Sony a7s with 50mm f1.7 Rokkor, Minolta Bellows and the Neewer XY Slider

Many nature photographers dabble in close-up or macro work at some point, and in a discussion with harrietsfriend , the availability of these pretty cheap (around U$20) sliders came up. My daughter got me one for Christmas, and Boxing Day was spent playing.

For stills, the device is spot on. You  can move left-right or back-forward in sub-millimetre increments. When shooting at 2x magnification onto the sensor, your entire depth of field may be 2mm, or if you stop down heavily, 6mm. That's about where the image to the right is. Also, setting up precise framing for composition and getting the focus right with just a tripod is beyond my levels of patience. This device makes it quick, easy and accurate.

20 in 1 - Ply Side by AfricanObserver     20 in 1 - Front by AfricanObserver

So, flushed with the technical success of the stills, I tried this whilst in record mode.

(if you are struggling to play this on dA, it also available on YouTube)

The technicalities here are a bit different. The magnification applies to everything. Including the shake & jitters. I swopped to a more robust tripod, oiled the tracking mechanism, and worked as smoothly as I could but still there was a lot of shake. The slider uses a friction damping mechanism, and hand-turning the adjustments is very hard to control perfectly over time. Next time, I will try fixing a long lever to the knobs, and turning that - I think it may help.
The footage above has all been stabilised during editing in DaVinci Resolve. The stabilising tool there is pretty good, but the first rule of post-production processing is 'shoot it right', and it holds here. I am keen to shoot at higher frame rates - I can do 1080p at 50 frames per second, and 720p at 100fps. When you  slow that down to 25 fps, it can really help the jitters.

Other observations from the process? The low light ability of the Sony a7s rocks. Shooting with the lens extend 13cm out from the body chews up light, and stopping down to f11 would normally require 2 second exposures. I didn't even have to think about that - at 10 000 and 12 800 ISO, the images are still really nice and clean. Certainly the reason people aren't clicking on the images is not related to the ISO. Also, that high ISO allows me to consider 100fps shooting, which demands a shutter speed of at least 1/100th of a second. Macro video just became a whole lot more accessible.
For the record, the lens - 50mm f1.7 Rokkor - and the bellows all date back to the late 1970's. So there is a 40 year time gap between optics and body. And still working fine!

So thanks Eugene, for getting me going along this path!


AfricanObserver's Profile Picture
Grant Hillebrand
Artist | Hobbyist | Photography
South Africa
teacher, geek, Christ follower
attention span of a grasshopper

Drinker of copious quantities of tea.

More video on YouTube:…

Movies and video on dA seems to get very little feedback - I'm curious why! Comments very welcome! 

4 deviants said Videos take too long to watch
3 deviants said I watch video on YouTube
2 deviants said Video requires sound, and that would intrude in my browsing space
2 deviants said Other - please comment!
1 deviant said I rarely comment on anything, movie or otherwise
No deviants said Movies are not art
No deviants said I watch video on Vimeo



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Ancient--One Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi! Hi and welcome to NaturesMystery


We are quite pleased that you have decided to join membership in our group! 

In addition to showcasing all categories and mediums of work that are Animal, Plant and/or Nature focused, our group hosts monthly themes and monthly mini-challenges, as well as, two big contests per year. 

We would love for you to participate in these events and activities in addition to submitting your wonderful work in our group gallery for showcasing!

We look forward to seeing more of you!
Mesocricetusauratus Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2019
Thanks for the faving of my sky picture.
caddman Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2019  Professional General Artist
thank you my friend
for the faves  ...:) (Smile)

cheers and a nice day 2u

:painter:  :grinwoo: Rescue mission
AfricanObserver Featured By Owner Edited Jan 19, 2019  Hobbyist Photographer
WayneBenedet Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019
Thanks for adding a :+fav: Grant, I appreciate it.
AfricanObserver Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2019  Hobbyist Photographer
Your stuff is always good Wayne. Have a great year out on the prairies.
rdungan1918 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2019
Happy Birthday Grant. May You Have Many More :D:D:D
AfricanObserver Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you - I'll try
JassysART Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2019  Professional Interface Designer
  :iconcaikplz:    :iconcakechocplz:  :iconaqua-hplz: :iconaqua-aplz: :iconaqua-pplz: :iconaqua-pplz: :iconaqua-yplz:  :iconcakepinkplz:   :iconhotchocplz:
:iconballoonsplz: :iconaqua-bplz: :iconaqua-iplz: :iconaqua-rplz: :iconaqua-tplz: :iconaqua-hplz: :iconaqua-dplz: :iconaqua-aplz: :iconaqua-yplz: :iconballoonsplz2:
:iconhappybirthdaysignplz: :iconpresentplz::iconcheerplz::iconpineappletardplz::iconbummiesplz::iconlaplayplz::iconladrumplz::iconlabeatplz::iconballoonplz::iconpresentplz: :iconhappybirthday2plz:
AfricanObserver Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2019  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you - I had more of an introvert's happy birthday than your seriously energetic post - that's a serious party happening there! There was  good chocolate cake.
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