“Back to the 50s” photo challenge at Dyxum


Last week was extremely busy for me. I knew it will be like that and thats exactly why I have decided to participate in Dyxum “Back to the 50s” challenge. Neat way to kill winter laziness and perhaps get my mediocre photo skills refreshed. It was double challenge in fact. Every day I was getting back from work tired as hell and had between 30 minutes to one hour a day for photography. There was already dark, cold, windy and/or rainy. Additionally I was limited to 50-59 mm focal lengths (one of challenge rules) and had to shoot, process and post image on specific day. These rules applied for most of contestants and only few living on southern hemisphere were enjoying long summer days :-) Now the challenge is over, I’ve learned something, had great time and I’ll definitely try to participate in some future challenges.

Day 1

On a weekend just before the challenge started I was thinking of subjects and how I’d like to show them. At first I decided to go with series of night shots. So on monday evening I grabbed my NEX and tripod and headed to shoot local basilica in night lights. Main tower was recently restored and it seemed a good idea to show contrast between new and old cladding. No postprocessing except slight saturation and contrast adjustment.

New and old


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
15 sec, f/11, ISO 400, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

I also got two outtakes this evening. The second one later evolved and became my inspiration for day 5 shot. No postprocessing here too, just minor contrast adjustment.

Church tower


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
30 sec, f/11, ISO 400, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Christmas decoration


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Day 2

Weather on day 1 was so awfull (wind so strong it was moving my 4kg tripod!) that I decided to change my theme to something that will not involve going outside :-) While I had this shot in my mind for a longer while I never decided to execute it. I thought that my first Dyxum challenge was a good time to show my blurry self to fellow photographers. Following postprocess was applied: minor WB correction, tonal contrast and saturation adjustment for selected color channels and finally vignetting was added.

Watching a movie, having a glass of whiskey


SONY DSLR-A900, Minolta 50mm F1.7 RS
1/6 sec, f/1.7, ISO 100, 50 mm

Day 3

I had my time with macro photography in the past and wanted to show some macro shots in this challenge as well. Unfortunately using my 100mm macro lens would break challenge rules so I’ve used macro extension tubes on my MC Rokkor 58/1.4. Now, there was a matter of subject… It was kind of challenge too to find something interesting for macro shots among typical home equipment and stuff. At that time I had a faint idea about general subject I’d like to follow: “tastes”. So something tasty for day 3 and…

Something sweet


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
8 sec, f/8, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Processing: color adjustements to get chocolate look like chocolate in warm incandescent light (including WB and saturation correction), tonal contrast adjustment to emphasize lighter parts and add some blacks to get background the way I wanted.

Day 4

Idea for day 4 image was mix of day 2 and day 3 shots – some beverage and macro shot. Photo of just glass doesn’t seemed compelling. I needed something more, and some nice strong colors too as I intended to shoot against black background. Below is the result. Postprocessing: minor saturation correction to give yellows a punch, tonal contrast correction to extract details on lemon, levels and severe local contrast change to get rid of background remains (don’t have real backgrounds, used my black shirt ;-)).

Sophisticated lemon


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
2 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Day 5

It was my day off from my “tastes” theme. I kinda liked my christmas lights image from day 1, but it wasn’t good enough for challenge. I had to take it to whole new level somehow. Using F1.4 lens gives pretty decent bokeh so I’ve tried to get those lights seriously out of focus at maximum aperture. Thanks to star being atop of other lights and perhaps made from brighter bulbs it worked wonderfully. From all my challenge shots this one was getting most comments. Just some shadow/highlights and contrast corrections.

Light Christmas Star


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Just in case I also took some outtakes…


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4
1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Day 6

I was hoping to get some daylight images during weekend, unfortunately when I finally had time to go shooting it was dusk already. Last rays of sunlight were just enough to get four images. Only two of them followed “tastes” theme and one was already used as subject on day 2 so choice was clear. Although not directly, this image is related with taste. Hint: not whiskey, but still strong alcohol and it can hit your taste buds with many many flavours. The image below is part of logo embossed on bottle. Just some color corrections in postprocess.

Green glass


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
1/30 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

And here are three outtakes.

1000th change


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
1/60 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Red


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
1/25 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Purple with green


SONY DSLR-A900, Minolta 50mm F1.7 RS and extension tubes
1/200 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

Day 7

Final day of challenge. This taste was unknown to me for many years. Yeah, I didn’t liked it at all. I was recently converted by my dad and from time to time I do enjoy it.

Coffee anyone?


SONY NEX-3, Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 58mm F1.4 and extension tubes
2.5 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 58 mm (87 mm equivalent)

To summarize things up: wonderfull week and excellent way for advancement and creativity developement. One of most busy work-weeks in whole year too and I managed to shoot, process and post images on daily basis. Yay! I’ve also rediscovered my 50mm lens. While on APS-C this focal length sucks it is whole new and great thing on full frame. For APS-C 58mm Rokkor is way better even in image sharpness (and especially in image sharpness when paired with extension tubes).