02 Dec 2014 - My Gear (First post)

Very often i am asked, what gear do you use to take your photos? I own a couple of Canon cameras (6D, 5dMk2 and a 35mm film E-LAN7) and a few lenses (Carl Zeiss 21mm, Makro 100mm a modest 400mm and a few old Contax lenses fitted for Canon bodies).

But my favorite camera is my medium format film Pentax 67. I love it so much i named it The Old King. In 2013 i experimented with 35mm film and fell in love with it and slowly got interest into medium format until i bought this beast from ebay. At the time of this writing, i dont have any film galleries yet because i am waiting for my Braun FS-120 film scanner to arrive so i can re-scan all my film and post the gallery. My flatbed scans just doesn't do it justice..

Here it is!

What makes this special is that it just works! I've taken this beast to Northern Canada in ice-age temperatures and it worked fine. It survived all the way to Finland, Mexico and Iceland being in a luggage many times and it never failed or broke down. The battery i am using on this is a tiny 6v dog collar battery and it has last me months before i had to change it. For the first time i was able to take photos without having to worry to find a power source to recharge my batteries. It has a giant view finder and the 55mm Pentax wide-angle lens is phenomenal! A serious camera for those who want to try medium format film.

My favorite lens on the other hand is my mighty Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm. It was the first Zeiss lens i ever bought back in 2011 and up till now is my staple lens for landscapes, star and milky way photography.

I've adjusted myself to this lens to the point i can now visually frame 21mm, walk over and take the shot. This is a lens you shouldn't worry if it falls down, it will leave a crater where it lands and the optics will be just fine!

During my journey in photography, i've had to get different equipment other than flashes etc. Last year i bought a lightweight Stage One rail from dynamicperception.com as i was shooting a lot of timelapse videos.

Another question i get a lot, how do i get super long exposures for some of my milky way and nebulae shots? As we know Earth rotates and exposure times is limited specially when using long focal length lenses. To combat that, i needed a device that would counter-rotate Earth and i found this device called Astrotrac.

This is what the Astrotrac looks like mounted on a tripod and loading a 6D with the Canon EF400mm f5.6 lens. Tracking is pretty good, good enough i was able to track the Horsehead Nebula and Orion Nebula. The front page image of the milky way with me staring at it was the result of 12 frames shot at a minute each while being tracked with my Astrotrac and then some clever tricks to get my Silhouette in the last shot.

Sample shot of the Horsehead Nebula. Shot on my Astortrac and 400mm, about 60 images of light frames at about 60 secs exposure each, some darks, flats and bias frames and the whole stream of images was processed in Deep Sky Stacker to produce this image. If you want to see more, please check the galleries in the Canada>Nightscapes section.

I have also invented my own devices to help me with my photography such as 3-point LED flash sync and an arduino based water drip kit for droplet splash photography and many other useful gadgets, but those wil come in another DIY blog post in the near future :)



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