Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

December 22, 2015


Filed under: Fine Art,Fine Art Portfolio,Micro Photography — John Siskin @ 4:03 pm


I like to explore color and shape. The micro-environment enables me to do this without being involved is shooting things. This image is about color, shape and texture; it doesn’t matter what the subject is! The image has an otherworldly quality, which is what I was looking for. This belongs to a group of images I call Parts of Speech, and all have names drawn from Latin grammar.

This is an image of light displayed by a plastic ice cube captured with some specialized equipment. I used to say fake plastic ice cube, but it’s real enough; they’re made as props. Anyway certain materials can be made to diffract light in interesting ways, and this is much more interesting if you can get really close to the subject. In this case I used a Toyo view camera with about two feet of bellows. I used a Zeiss 63mm Luminar as the lens. The lumiars are a special series of lenses Zeiss made for extreme micro work. This was pretty difficult to do with any film camera, but especially difficult with a view camera that didn’t have any meter. The area I photographed is much smaller than the image on the film, and of course much, much smaller than it is here. The image will print to at least 20X30, which would be more than 100 time life size.

It’s much better to do micro-photography with a digital camera than with a film camera. First the resolution of a digital camera is better than film would have. For technical reasons digital capture is better than even large film, say 8X10 inches. In addition it’s easier to control exposure, because the meter is in the camera and because you get instant feedback. I’ve mentioned various resources for micro photography in recent posts:, and I hope you’ll take a look if you haven’t already.

I’m thinking about offering a workshop about shooting micro images. This would enable us to go far beyond what a standard macro lens can do. Most macro lenses go far enough to make the image the same size on the sensor it is in life. There is an interesting, and very affordable, toolkit that will enable you to go so much further. It’s quite possible to shoot 80 times life size onto the senor, and then multiply that by the size of the print! I hope to have detail of this workshop in the next two weeks. Please let me know what you’d like to see in this sort of workshop; anything from a one day demonstration to a couple of days with a microscope included! I’d like to do this during winter, when it’s good to have indoor subjects to explore. Keep an eye on my workshop page for updates.

As I’ve mentioned this blog is part of a series of entries about my fine art images. I’m doing this series as part of an update for the fine art pages on my website. I hope this series will make my images more accessible, both on line and as prints. If you’d like to buy a digital print of this image, mounted and matted on archival cotton rag board, please use the PayPal link below. The image will be about 16 inches wide mounted on 16X20 board. The price includes shipping in the United States, for other countries please ask first.

You can buy one of my books at these links

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