Creating Micrographs of Polarized Citric Acid Crystals (Podcast 740)

Creating Micrographs of Polarized Citric Acid Crystals (Podcast 740)


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Exactly two weeks after my Compound Microscope arrived, today I’m going to pull together another status update, to let you know how I’m getting along and share some of my new work, which I will tell you upfront, I’m very happy with. I also took possession of my Stereo Microscope a week ago, but some of you, I know, will be pleased to hear that I’ve decided to keep both microscopes. I was a little hesitant as to whether or not I would keep the Compound Microscope, mostly due to the total financial outlay involved in buying both together, and partially due to the fact that I was initially finding the learning curve relatively steep.

Not wanting to let it get the better of me though, I continued to study various techniques, bought a few more supporting pieces of equipment, and I am now having so much fun, I doubt that either microscope will be leaving my possession in the foreseeable future. As I mentioned in my first post on this topic, a large part of me diving down this rabbit hole was inspired by my friend Don Komarechka who’s just released a new book on Macro Photography and it has a section on using Microscope optics to get photos and covers the procedure for making crystals out of citric acid mixed with water and or alcohol, and I also got a lot of great information from the Canadian Nature Photographer website.

Both resources made it sound relatively easy, although I initially tried simply mixing the citric acid with water just by stirring it in a plastic Petri dish and found that the surface tension of the resulting liquid was so great that it wouldn’t spread out on the slide, so I ended up with little mountains of crystals which although could be photographed, weren’t really satisfying me artisticly. The mounds of liquid were also so thick that they took around 12 hours to dry.

Then I noticed in an article by Robert Berdan of the Canadian Nature Photographer website that he used a Vortex Mixer to mix the ingredients, so another $60, and two days later I tried that method and created ten slides with just IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) and citric acid and another ten slides with half water and half IPA. As you can see from the center image below, there is some citric acid settled at the bottom of the test tube. This is because the liquid became saturated before all of the citric acid had melted, so I simply used a pipette to take just the solution from above the settled acid crystals and applied a few drops to each slide. This time it spread out very quickly, pretty much over the entire face of the slide, and both solutions dried very quickly, providing very similar results.

The way the patterns in the crystals formed was very similar with IPA alone and when I also mixed it with water, but simply by the nature of this experiment, the crystals that form are unique, not only from slide to slide but from millimeter to millimeter of each slide. I created a short video which is embedded at the bottom of this post to show you through the microscope as I surveyed just a small area of one slide.

Note too, that to turn these crystals into beautiful abstract art, the light has to be adjusted in a specific way by two separate polarizer filters. As you can see in the photo (above right) there is one polarizer filter between the light source and the subject, and a second between the subject and the viewing lenses. Apparently, this happens when the subject is what’s known as anisotropic or birefringent, which means it has double refraction.

The makeshift setup I’ve used so far is not ideal because the thickness of the filter prevents me from using the 40X objective lens, which would give me 400X magnification. Over the last week, I’ve been restricted to using my 4X and 10X objective lenses for magnifications of 40X and 100X through the ocular lens and on my camera. My Camera is actually magnified by around 2.5X magnification because of the adapter, so in real terms, we’re probably talking between 100 and 250X magnification in the images, but I’ve not accurately measured that yet.

Because my first filter setup was not ideal, yesterday, I managed to find some inexpensive cylindrical diamond cutters that contained sizes that would enable me to use the piece of polarizer from the inside of the cut to fit into the filter holder below the diaphragm of my microscope and a second in the space between the objective lens turret and the rotating head that houses the two eyepieces and camera port. The filter above the turret will be more difficult to rotate, but the bottom filter above the LED light is more accessible, and so far my tests have shown that it doesn’t really matter which of the two filters you rotate. It’s more about the degree of rotation between the two filters, so I think this new setup will be better and allow higher magnifications to be used. Here are two photos of the new, somewhat roughly cut filters that I made, in place.

Before we take a look at a few of the resulting images, here too is a photo of my work table as I got started photographing the slides while they dried. For the first few minutes, I was actually watching the crystals form through the microscope, which I also found fascinating. Since this first evening using my laptop as you see in the photo, I moved my microscope to my main desk and connected my camera to my iMac instead, so that I could use the large screen, and the more powerful computer to deal with the focus stacking using Helicon Focus, which I’ve started using to process the images that I’m making.

Photographing Polarized Citric Acid Crystals
Photographing Polarized Citric Acid Crystals

I was happy to get my camera connected up using the adapter that I bought, although the image quality is about as good as I’d expected, it’s not as good as I’d hoped for. At some point, I think I’m going to take the plunge and go for the LM Microscope adapter, but spending almost one and a half times more than the cost of both microscopes just for the adapter is not a decision I’m really able to make at this point, especially as I’m getting good final results, mostly down to processing.

My First Results I’m Happy With

Anyway, let’s look at some of my favorite example photos from the last week, starting with one of the first ‘scenes’ that I was presented with as the slides I prepared dried. As you can see, the variation of the shapes and textures of the crystals varies greatly. The blue and brown colors that you see, as well as the rainbow colors visible in some small areas, come from the polarization. When you rotate one of the two polarizing filters the colors change dramatically.

Feathered Crystals (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 14 Frames)
Feathered Crystals (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 14 Frames)

This was a 14 frame stack initially shot with Capture One Pro tethered to my Canon EOS R5, but Capture One froze on me as I created my stacking sets, and I lost around 40 of my last images, so I turned to Helicon Remote which is built for shooting sets of images for stacking, and there is no looking back. I’m going to dedicate the next post on this subject to Helicon Focus and Helicon Remote, so stay tuned for that if you are interested in focus stacking.

This next image has quickly become a firm favorite and caused a bit of a stir when I shared it on the social networks last week. To me, this looks like an alien flower head that has been discarded, although you may see something completely different. Notice the small line in the center of the disc, which will be a bit of fiber or dust that fell onto the slide and is responsible for the disc of crystals forming at that location. Both of these images were shot at 100X magnification.

Alien Flower Head (Polarized Citric Acid Crystals 100X)
Alien Flower Head (Polarized Citric Acid Crystals 100X)

Another type of image that I’ve been getting is this kind of electric rainbow-colored image, with very rich colors. Again the intensity can be changed by the degree of rotation between the two polarizer filters. I chose this section to photograph because to me it looks like a Hokusai print of a blue Mount Fuji here in Japan.

Blue Fuji (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 7 Frames)
Blue Fuji (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 7 Frames)

Almost in complete contrast, this image looks like frail feathers or flowers to me. Watching these crystals form under the microscope was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever done. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was scratching a long term itch by starting this project, but at the time I had no idea that it was going to feel this good.

Feather Flowers (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 7 Frames)
Feather Flowers (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 7 Frames)

Once again, in contrast, here is my electric alien fox with his golden grasses and whacky alien flowers, running along the edge of a magical lake. I actually placed a glass cover on a couple of the slides to see how the cover interfered with the crystals as they formed. I was happy to see that the crystals reacted by forming along the seem as you can see here.

Foxy Alien (Polarized Citric Acid Crystals 40X)
Foxy Alien (Polarized Citric Acid Crystals 40X)

Here is another very colorful shot that seems like an explosion in a Japanese anime movie. Again, the variations that can be found are astounding!

Here We Go! (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 12 Frames)
Here We Go! (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 12 Frames)

This next shot is another favorite. It reminds me of a wreath made from feathers. This is actually two separate 28 image stacks stitched together to form a square image. I purposefully rotated the polarizer filter so that the colors become more subdued for this shot, as I thought the cool blues would suit the subject better. There were richer colors initially, but it didn’t quite work for me.

The image to the right above looks to me like a fluffy alien fairy sitting in tall grasses or even the feathers of a peacock’s tail. The little alien has a canary pet in its arms. I wonder if you can see which part of the image I’m referring to? Don’t forget to click on the images to open them up in the Lightbox for a better view.

This next image to me is almost a complete miracle. Nature has created an almost perfect mountain range with a glacier and even the light of the moon shining through thin cloud coverage. This is almost untouched, with the only changed being a little bit of cloning in the corners to fill in the slight vignette that I’m getting from the camera adapter.

Mountain Range and Moon (Citric Acid Crystals 40X 20 Frames)
Mountain Range and Moon (Citric Acid Crystals 40X 20 Frames)

OK, so one final image, that has become pretty much my favorite of all the images I’ve shot over the last week. I see something different in this image every time I look at it, and just find the overall feel of the image very appealing.

Convergence (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 8 Frames)
Convergence (Citric Acid Crystals 100X 8 Frames)

Crystal Micrographs Portfolio

There are a few more things that I’d like to relay as we start to wrap this up. Firstly, I’ve pulled together a portfolio of my best Crystal Microphotographs so if you want to see more, please check that out.

Wall Art Now Available!

Also, as I think many of these photos would make good wall art, I’ve added a number of them to my wall art store on the Art Storefronts Website, which you can check out here.

Surveying a Slide and Polarization Effects Video

Finally, here is a video showing some footage of me surveying my first slide and also showing the effect of rotating one of the two polarizing filters. It’s under two minutes, really just a glimpse so that you can see what this is like.

As I mentioned earlier, in the next post on this topic I’ll walk you through how I’m using Helicon Remote to shoot my sets of images and then Helicon Focus to stack my images together. I hope you are finding this interesting. If you are, note that I have also added a Micrography page under the Posts menu, and will pull together everything about this new endeavor on that page, so bookmark that if you are interested in following my Micrography antics.


Show Notes

INTLLAB Vortex Mixer: https://amzn.to/3xRV3yu

Buy my Crystal Micrographs as Wall Art: https://www.martinbailey.art/crystal-micrographs

Check out my Crystal Micrographs Portfolio: https://mbp.ac/crystals

Music by Martin Bailey


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A Few Filter Tips (Podcast 36)

A Few Filter Tips (Podcast 36)

Welcome to episode 36 of the Martin Bailey Photography Podcast. I was recently asked by a listener to do a Podcast on filters. In recent years, digital photography has done away with the necessity for some filters, such as daylight filters, warmup filters etc. as most colour correction is now taken care of, and I must say, much more easily, by the White Balance feature on our cameras. There are still certain filters that I still use today, and some that I am now shying away from in favour of Photoshop. Listen on for details, along with some real-world examples, as usual…

In my film SLR days, which started really back in 1991, I used the A system filter system from Cokin. The A system holder and filters are quite small and are only compatible with lenses of a filter diameter up to 62mm. In my film days I didn’t own any lenses with a filter size larger than 58mm, so it was fine for me back then. On moving to a Digital SLR some five years ago and buying my first 77mm lens, I bought into the P series, with a holder and a number of filters. The P system is good up to 82mm lenses, and apart from my 600mm F4 lens, that does not accept screw in filters, I don’t own anything winder than 77mm, so this still does me fine. I’m doubt though that the P system would work well with ultra wide focal lengths, say at 16mm now that I have a full-sized sensor camera. I might find some serious vignetting there now, so if you’re about to buy into a system and use wide angle lenses with 35mm film or sensors, you’d be wise to check this out fully first. The Cokin Web site does state that in 35mm terms, for focal lengths as wide as 28mm the P System is OK. For up to 20mm the Z-Pro system is recommended, and for 14mm the X-Pro System is recommended. There is actually a little contradiction between the information on the cokin.com and the cokin.co.uk sites. The co.uk site says that for shorter focal lengths 20-24 or 28mm as well as for wide angle zooms (24-50mm / 28-85mm or 35-135mm the P system is strongly recommended. I suggest taking your camera with a few different lenses to the store and asking to try numerous manufacturers filter systems before buying if possible.

In addition to the holder you need an adapter ring for each filter size of the lenses you want to use the system with. You only need to buy one filter for use with all your lenses as long as it’s in the range of the system you choose. Reading from the Cokin Web site, the A system has adapter rings from 36 to 62mm. The P System goes from 48 to 82mm. The next size up is the Z-Pro series, which goes from 49mm to 96mm and then there’s the X-Pro series that ranges from 62 to 112mm, and there are a few other options for each system. You can find a chart on the Cokin web site. I’ll drop the Web site links into the show notes.

The range of filters from Cokin is pretty extensive, and I’m sure there are other manufacturers that make similar products. Although I do use circular screw in filters from other manufacturers that I’ll get to later, I’ve never used a square drop-in filter system from another manufacturer, and as I don’t like to tell you stuff I don’t have first hand experience with, I’m not going to search around the Web and provide second hand information to you on other manufacturers products. If any of you do use another system that you can vouch for, please post comments and links to the manufacturer’s Web site to the forum at martinbaileyphotography.com. I’m sure it will help other listeners to get a more all-round, un-biased view of what is available.

Cokin do filters for different applications, such as those that produce stars and other special effects, and I’ve experimented with some of these too, but the type of filters I continue to use today are Graduated Grey, and Solid Neutral Density filters. Graduated filters are what they say. The grey part of the filter that will cut down the light that gets to the film or sensor without modifying its colour gets gradually weaker around the center of the filter until it becomes totally transparent. The other type, the solid type has uniform grey density across it’s surface, and so will reduce your exposure by a certain number of stops across the entire image, and not just part of it as do the gradual neutral density filters.

Flowing Stream

Flowing Stream

Firstly, let’s look at a very old photo of mine, shot way back in 1993, which is image number 26. You can see here that the water has a flowing feel to it caused by the long exposure. You can also see that apart from the shadow areas of the shot, it’s a relatively bright day, so even stopping the lenses aperture down to say F22 may well not give you a slow enough shutter speed to obtain this flowing effect in the water. Now I have no idea what settings I shot this image at. EXIF data attached to every image is a luxury of the digital age, and I was not very good at documenting my shooting data in my film days. I would image though looking at detail in the trees in the distance that I was shooting at around F16 or F22. Although my Web site states that I used the new P series ND4, or Cokin P153 filter, for this shot, it was actually using my old A Series Neutral Grey ND4 filter. ND stands for Neutral Density, and 4 is the opacity of the filter. An ND4 filter will cost you two stops of exposure. So you will either need to make your open up your aperture by two stops to keep the same exposure, or make your shutter speed slower by two stops. Of course, you could do one stop of each or any other combinations of thirds or half stops and obtain the same exposure too. But the main reason I use an ND filter is to enable me to make a longer exposure.

As I say, I don’t have the shooting data for this particular shot, but I’d estimate that I was using around F16 for half a second. If I had not used the ND4 filter my shutter speed would have been an eighth of a second at the same aperture. That’s basically just halving half a second to one quarter for one stop, then halving that again to one eighth for the second stop that this filter costs me. Now one eighth of a second would probably not be enough to make this water look like flowing silk, and so the only way to get this shot would be to stop down to a very small aperture.

Sometimes stopping down to a very small aperture may not be possible. For example, one shot that I’m planning right now, sparked by the Contrasting Colour assignment, is shooting a set of traffic lights when all three lights are illuminated. I’ve uploaded my attempt, which is number 984, to my example photos album, but I’m now waiting for a rainy evening so that I can get more reflections hopefully adding enough interest to the shot to make it worthy of my main albums.

Three Coloured Traffic Lights

Three Coloured Traffic Lights

Anyway, I went out with my camera a week or so ago, and shot this image. I always have a small notepad with me and in it noted the times of the light changes. I found that the amber or yellow light was illuminated for about 4 seconds, which means I needed to get the last 4 second of the green light, then the first 4 seconds of the red light. So to achieve an even exposure for all three I would need an exposure of 12 or 13 seconds. If I stopped down to F16 without a filter, I was getting a meter reading of around 3.2 seconds at night, which wasn’t long enough. Remember though I had planned this and I had taken a Circular Kenko PRO1 Digital ND8(W) filter to increase the time needed for the exposure. ND8 filters will cost us 3 stops of exposure, so the 3.2 seconds I was getting at F16 would increase to 25 seconds. To halve this to 13 seconds, which is what I needed to get equal exposure of all three traffic lights, I opened up the aperture by one stop to F11 and set the shutter speed to 13 seconds in manual mode. I timed when the lights would change and then tripped the shutter 4 seconds before the green went off and the amber or yellow light was illuminated. Eight seconds into the exposure and the amber light went out and the red light came on for the last four seconds before the shutter closed again. I’d then got a shot with all three lights in the same shot with equal exposure.

This would not have been possible without a neutral density filter. Even stopping down my lenses aperture to F22, it’s smallest aperture, without the ND filter would have only given me an eight second or so exposure, which was still not enough. By the way, I was using ISO 50 for the shot, so lowering the ISO any more was not an option. I needed at least two less stops to make this shot.

Now this is quite a strange plan that I had, but my point is that creative thinking puts us in situations that we cannot get around without physically reducing the amount of light that hits our camera’s sensor or film, and that’s where neutral density filters come in.

Going back to the P System filters from Cokin; something I should note is that the filter holder takes up to three filters. Let’s look at an example, which is image number 62 that I shot some four years ago with my trusty old EOS D30. For this shot I doubled up a Graduated Grey G2 ND8 filter, the Cokin P121 that reduces the light by four stops, and a Gradual Grey G2 ND2 P121L filter. The L in the code P121L stands for light. This filter only reduces the light entering the camera by one stop. There is also a P121M which stands for Medium, and this is rated at ND4 so reducing light by two stops, but I don’t own one of these filters. Anyway, together the P121 ND8 and the P121L ND2 gave me four stops less light, and I needed it because Mount Fuji in the background here was so bright that without balancing the exposure, that is, say if I’d exposed for Mount Fuji and the sky, the please boat and the red Shinto Shrine gate in the foreground very, very dark.

Also note that the good thing about a using gradual filters is that you can turn the holder to any angle. In this particular image I had the filters tilted so that the gradual line from grey to full transparency ran along the diagonal line of the tree from top right to about a third of the way up from the bottom left corner. I haven’t touched this photo in Photoshop other than playing with the tone curves a little, so you can probably appreciate that the graduation is not visible if lined up correctly when shooting. Also note that to see the effect of the filter more easily, it helps to press your camera’s depth-of-field preview button to stop down the aperture.

So moving on to two more images and I’m going to talk about the only other type of filter that I really use nowadays, and that’s the old faithful polarizer, or PL filter. You can get PL filters for the Cokin system, but I always use a circular polarizer that screws straight into my filter thread on the front of my lenses. The draw back of this is that you need to buy a PL filter for each filter size. As the last PL filter I bought was one of the Kenko PRO1 Digital range, this set me back around US$130 for one filter. If you are on a tight budget it might be worth considering buying just the one PL filter for a system like Cokin, or you could buy one PL filter for your largest lens then buy step-down rings for your smaller filters sizes. The problem here is that the PL filter might end up wider than your lens hood, making it impossible to use both together. Note that you can buy a lens hood to fit on the holder in the Cokin system, but I’ve never bought this either.

Anyway, first, let’s look at image number 154. This is a shot of the Kushiro Marsh made in August 2003 during my first trip to Hokkaido, the island at the northern most point of Japan that I visited in February this year and spoke about in depth in episodes 25 to 28 of this Podcast. Now before we talk about this shot, I want you to try to open two windows and in the second look at shot number 185. Also, as I explain about the shots to make my point, note that the first image was taken just 31 seconds after the second.

Kushiro Marsh

Kushiro Marsh

 

Kushiro Marsh

Kushiro Marsh

If you are viewing the images on my Web site on the Podcast page, just right-click the two images and select to open them in a new browser window. If you are viewing in iTunes, you should be able to just click the little right arrow above the thumbnail them click the next image to open a new viewer window. Now that you can see both images next to each other, you should be able to notice a number of things. The most striking will be that the water in the first image, number 154 is dark, and in the second image, number 185 it is bright. Another difference, though not as noticeable, is that the sky is darker in the image with the darker water. Another big difference is that the greens and the tree stump in the foreground of the image with darker water and bluer sky are much more vivid. The image with lighter water actually has a deeper, perhaps more saturated green area and the tree stump is much darker, so I’m not really sure which I prefer in this respect.

There is actually one difference in the shooting information, and that is that the first shot with darker water was shot at 1/10 of a second, and the second shot with bright water was made at 1/13 of a second. This will possibly help the brighter greens and tree stump to become a little brighter, but the main reason, and this is the reason that I am showing these two images today, is that although for both shots I had a circular polarizer filter attached to the front of my lens, for the first shot I adjusted the polarizer filter for maximum effect. In the second image I turned the filter around 90 degrees so that it was giving the minimum effect. As you turn a PL filter on your lens you can see the difference in the effect, so I want to say that just dropping a PL filter on your lens and shooting will not give you the effect you require, unless you are lucky enough to stop screwing it on at exactly the spot. This is something that also came up in the forum in the last week, but when using a Polarizer remember that the effect is strongest when you point it at something at a 90 degree angle to the sun. The sun was almost directly overhead when I shot these two images, so conditions were not ideal, but under the right conditions you should be able to see a clear sky turn do a very dark blue while rotating the filter. In fact, you can easily overdue the PL effect on days with a very clear sky, as the sky can be rendered very deep blue indeed. In these conditions it’s wise to not go for the strongest effect possible.

There has also been a discussion in the forum recently about this, started by Landon, one of the major contributors on the site. Landon mentioned when adjusting the effect of the filter, make sure you turn the polarizer in the same direction that it screws on to your lens. This is basically to stop it from becoming loose and possibly falling off while you rotate it. Landon also suggests using gaffer tape to tape the polarizer to the front of the lens, also to stop it rotating and falling off, especially in high vibration situations like when sitting on a helicopter. Landon assures us that gaffer tape can be removed very easily after shooting without leaving any stick mess on your lens. Great tips Landon! Thanks very much as usual. The ensuing discussion is quite interesting too, so I’ll drop a link to this discussion into the show notes.

So, I mentioned in the introduction that there are some filters that I’m now shying away from in favour of Photoshop. Basically, I’m finding more and more that I don’t carry my Cokin gradual grey filters around with me. When I think I might need them I still carry them, but now find that I’m shooting with them to prove a point to myself. I shoot a scene in the traditional way using the grad filters, and then I shoot two shots without the filters, one exposing for bright areas, then one exposing for the shadows, and then merge them in Photoshop to emulate the results of using gradual grey filters. More and more I find that I’m using the Photoshop merge rather than the gradual grey filters.

Oshinkoshin Falls

Oshinkoshin Falls

Take a look at the last image for today, number 935. I briefly mentioned this in episode 28 too, but this shot of the Oshin Koshin Falls in Hokkaido is actually two shots merged to emulate a gradual grey filter.

 

The challenge here is that the bottom of the falls was in shadow heavy as the sun had not yet rose high enough in the sky to light the whole area. This does of course have the benefit of a much more saturation blue sky, and before you say it, that dark blue sky is natural, caused by the contrast between the sky and the bright snow and the angle of the sun, and not overdone PL. I wasn’t using a PL here because I didn’t want to reduce the sparkle in the water. Remember that if I use a PL I will make water transparent, though probably only to a certain extent for a waterfall.

Anyway, what I did here was make a number of different exposures, including a few with a gradual neutral density filter, and I aligned it across the top of the frame to reduce the contrast between the top of the falls and the sky, and the lower, heavily shadowed area of the falls. These shots came out OK, but again I decided to go with a Photoshop shop merge.

Both shots used for the merge were at ISO 100 at F20 shot with the 16-35mm F2.8 lens. The top of this image had a shutter speed of 1/13 of a second. The bottom image was shot at 1/6 of a second. I copied the image with a blown out top, but brighter shadow area that I used for the bottom of the new image to the clipboard in Photoshop and then pasted it over the second image and converted it to a mask. I then painted over the bottom part or the shadow area until I had revealed all of the brighter shadow areas that I wanted yet still had created an image that still had a visible shadow across the bottom. There was only one stop more brightness in the bottom shadowed area compared to a straight shot, as I didn’t want to over do it. I do have a shot with the bottom much brighter, but decided to go with these two as I didn’t want to deny the fact that there was ever a shadow there. Also the texture of the light would have been considerably different in the original shadow area.

I’m not going to go into lots of details about exactly what to select in Photoshop to use this technique, because I use a Japanese version of Photoshop, and it takes too a while to figure out what the precise translations of all the menu item and button names are. If you need more help with masks, take a listen to episode 85 of Chris Marquardt’s Digital Photography Tips from the Top Floor. In this episode Chris gives some great examples of how to use Layer Masks.

There are of course also protector filters, or UV filters that are colourless, and can be used on your lens pretty much all the time. There’s not real artistic and few technical implications with regards to these filters. The debate goes on as to whether or not to buy the best protector filter you can, especially if you are going to put it on the front of some expensive glass. I personally do try to pick up the best quality filters I can and pretty much consistently now use the Kenko PRO1 Digital Series, as they have special coating to reduce ghosting etc. but some say there’s no real difference. Of course, going for the cheapest you can get has it’s advantages as well, no only financially, but as these are sometimes a throw away items, so it really does come down to personal taste. One last thing, there are problems with vignetting when fitting two filters to some wide angle lenses, especially when using a 35mm film or full-size sensor camera, so you may have to remove the protector or UV filter when you want to use a polarizer or other filter. I’ll post a link to a topic on this in the forum in to the show notes too.

So, I hope that has been of some help. I have only touched on my own uses of filters, and not tried to be comprehensive and cover all possibilities. To recap, I’ve totally stopped using my old warm up filters etc. now depending on White Balance. Although I was reluctant initially to do very much in Photoshop, including merging two images, I’m slowly coming around to this idea and employing this technique more and more in my work. I really now only use two types of physical filter, and that the solid neutral density and polarizer filters.

Once again, today’s episode is going to be a few days late. I’m still pretty busy, and finding it difficult to prepare for each week’s episode in time to swing back to my old schedule of releasing on Monday or Tuesday. I am going to try my best to get next Monday’s episode out on time though, as it will be the next episode in which I announce the winner of the Contrasting Colours Photography assignment. Thanks very much to all of you that have voted for one of the images in the assignment album at mbpgalleries.com. If you haven’t already voted, remember voting is still open until the end of Sunday the 14th or May. The vote button is visible above each image when viewed at full size having clicked the thumbnail. You can only vote for one image per assignment, but you can change your vote as many times as you want until the voting closes on the 14th.

I’m also happy to say that it looks like I’m not going to have to exercise the right I gave myself to override the vote. Looking at the votes so far, it seems that you guys have exactly the right idea about what I was hoping for with this assignment.

One last thing that I’d like to mention too is that I am now considering accumulating votes from this and future assignment for a yearly Grand Prize. Maybe I can get some sponsor to give a prize or two, and if not, I might spring for something that people want more than one of my original prints for a prize. This way people that aren’t lucky enough to take first prize, but that consistently do great work and gain a steady flow of votes throughout the year, will also have a chance of winning the grand prize. It will also be an incentive for members to participate in the assignment every month. The member’s that have participated to the first assignment are pretty much all saying that they thoroughly enjoyed shooting for the assignment and that it made them think in totally different ways. The traffic lights shot that I made and discussed earlier was planned purely through thinking about colours, and starting to think it would be cool to get all three traffic lights in the same shot. Remember, that one of my personal goals and one of the rules of the assignment is that no cloning in of objects in Photoshop is allowed, so I couldn’t simply shot the same traffic lights three times and clone all the lights into one image.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent again, please come along and vote by May 14th if you haven’t already. And also listen out for next weeks episode, to hear the winner of the Contrasting Colours assignment and also I’ll give details of the next assignment so that you can start shooting for that too.

One more thing before we finish. On request from a listener, I’ve created a Podcast “Light” page, for people that use small form factor computers such as Pocket PCs. The page will load a shorter toolbar at the top and less sections before the Podcast archive table. Also, only the latest 4 episodes will be displayed in the index by default, not 12 as in the main page. Also, if you jump to the full size images from this page the filmstrip will not be displayed below the full size image, so again, less images to download. If you use a small form factor computer to view the page, please try it out. There’s a link near the top of the current Podcast page, and also I’ll put a link in today’s show notes.

Finally, thank very much to all of those that have completed the Listeners Survery, and I’d like to mention that we’re still short of around 80 survey completions. I can’t start advertising for a sponsor until we make the numbers, so please click on the Listeners Survery icon on the top page of martinbaileyphotography.com, or the larger image of the guy with the headphones on on the Podcasts page. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to a forum post in which I give more details. It only takes five minutes and will really help me out if you could spare time to complete this survey.

So have a great rest of the week, and a great weekend. Bye bye.


Show Notes
Music from Music Alley: http://www.musicalley.com/

Audio

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