Singular Images

March 11, 2019

32-E extension tube for Hasselblad

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 2:02 am


Hasselblad 503cx with 32-E Extension tube and 120mm Planar Makro 2019 copyright by Douglas Stockdale

I just noticed that my Memory Pods subjects are just starting to bud and as I stated at the end of last year for this seasonal year I needed to augment my 120mm Makro lens with an extension tube. Primarily to increase the magnification by focusing closer and to be able to fill the frame with my subject.

From past experience I had found out that a 21mm extension tube did not provide the closer focus, but that was with the 150mm lens and not a 120mm Makro lens, which is designed for closer focusing and increasing magnification. Thus I had stacked two 21mm extension tubes which did provide the closer focusing with the 150mm lens. BUT being a rookie using the Hasselblad extension tubes, I was unaware of the rules for lens and camera engagement using an extension tube. I had really locked up my lens, extension tubes and camera by trying to taking the lens with the extension tube off in the wrong order and spent a lot of money with the camera repair shop. Bad, bad, bad!

A year ago I had a very old 500 C/M body and after the body, lens and extension tubes went into the repair shop twice to disengage the camera body from the lens and extension tubes I subseqently sold the two 21mm extension tubes and traded the 500 C/M body for a newer used 503cx.  I had thought that the lens locking issue was due the older 500 C/M body, not knowing that I was taking these a part in the wrong order. I also purchased a used 120mm Makro but regretfully found that the Makro does focus closer, just not close enough for what I wanted to photograph. Thus I found myself back to reconsidering another extension tube. But which? I wanted to avoid stacking extension tubes due to what happen last time.

While investigating the extension tubes I came across the Hasselblad notice regarding the need to very carefully follow a very strict order to mount and dismount extension tubes. Yikes! I guess it is better to find out about this later than never at all. So here is what Hasselblad states to do OR you will lock up your camera and lens (which I can attest to!);

First; mount the extension tube to the camera body. Make sure it is in sync with the lens mount (cocked).

Then mount the lens to the extension tube. (or a second extension tube followed by the lens).

To remove, repeat in the opposite order (Don’t remove the extension tube while it is still mounted to the lens!); first remove the lens from the extension tube.

Then remove the extension tube from the camera body. Don’t try to remove the extension tube from the body with the lens still attached!!

I wish somebody would have told me this a year ago as I might still be using that same 500 C/M and the two 21mm extension tubes now in conjunction with the 120mm Makro.

Okay, now that I realized that I needed to carefully follow the rules for mounting and unmounting an extension tube and lens; now which extension tube to purchase?

I still wanted to purchase a single extension tube and I had two options; a 32-E (which is a 32mm extension tube) or a 56-E (56mm tube). The two previous 21mm had provided a combined 42mm of extension which seemed okay with my 150mm lens, but that lens did not focus as close compared to the 120mm Makro. Regretfully the Hasselblad lens charts did not make much sense to me, but my gut said that the 32mm would probably work really well with the 120mm Makro while the 56m might provide too much magnification for what I intended to photograph. Thus I bought a used 32-E extension tube that was stated to be in great shape.

My 32-E extension tube arrived on Saturday and today was the film test. First, the extension tube was indeed in great shape (eBay seller will get a nice review). Second I took careful note to make sure the the extension tube was in alignment with the 120mm Makro lens. I then diligently followed the mounting sequence recommended by Hasselblad (above), which worked fine as well. I also practice unmounting as recommended and NO issues (praise the Lord!).

What I had also noted from the on-line comments about extension tubes and per Hasselblad that when using this extension tube that I was going to loose about one stop in exposure. So I did a test bracket with a roll of film to ensure that this was true, but in retrospect, with the 120mm Makro in the close focusing mode, you also loose about a half stop in exposure. Which I forgot to take into consideration. Bummer. My Fujichrome 100 has an ISO 100, so the very first exposure was not adjusted for the light loss, then the second exposure was calculated using an ISO 50 (essentially my EI, Exposure Index to use the zone terminology) with my spot meter to give an extra stop (more light) in exposure. When I evaluate the processed film (I had also included a gray card in some of my test photographs) in about one week, I should be able to calculate how much I need to adjust the EI (Exposure Index or my ISO) for the film with this lens and extension tube combination.

This is getting pretty exciting for me. I really, really like what I was seeing in the view finder with this 32-E extension tube and the 120mm Makro lens while photographing my subjects. It appears that I had chosen well with the 32-E purchase as the framing of my subject is just about perfect as to what I was pre-visualizing. Btw, anyone wanting to donate a 56-E for me to evaluate would be very much appreciated!

I also did an exposure bracket with a shallow depth of field (f/4.0) and with more depth of field (f/11) for the same composition with this extension tube and lens combination.

So now I am waiting on the results. Yes, I do not process color or black and white film any longer so I am at the mercy of the pro film processing lab. Otherwise this roll of moderately expired film would have been in the soup this afternoon and I would be able to provide more feedback. So you, like me, get to work on our patience together.



Btw, I had purchased an expensive (cheap!) lens hood for the 120mm Makro which after a year, fell apart. sigh. So I purchased a used Hasselblad lens hood for this lens and after removing years of tape residuals, is working and looking pretty good.

February 23, 2019

Color Management – How does this look to you?

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:29 am

02-07-19 16250004-2

Untitled (Trabuco Flats) 2019 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Color Management is one of the current plagues for photography as it effects anyone who is using a monitor to evaluate photographs, whether color images or black & white images. This includes cell phones as well; any type of monitor. Whether a casual social media reader, a photographic collector or a a photographer and most vexing for the later two.

So speaking as a photographer, I try to maintain an internal color management system that attempts to ensure that the photographs I create are faithful the images I print and of course the ones I share on-line, whether social media, web-site or on this site.

What I just learned is that when I recently purchased a new 27″ iMac, I had assumed that the monitor was already calibrated. In retrospect; bad, bad, bad.

When I just published a photobook review on The PhotoBook Journal, one of the comments back from the photographer was to the effect that my images on his screen appeared “blown-out”. hmmmmm. Not so much on mine. BUT I knew that he was a working professional photographer and thus he may have had his color management in a more current state than I did. Also, I recalled my iMac monitor calibration assumption. Not so smart.

I also knew it was time to update my color managment system, thus I quickly acquired an X-Rite i1 Studio system (aka Photo-Munki) to calibrate my monitor, printer and camera. Once the on-line registration was completed the required system software to download was provided on my online X-Rite profile. Done. Then it was a matter to run the software with the sensor (a bit hard to rotated the indicator dial on my device) and finish with a new icc profile for the monitor. Yep! A little different look to the iMac monitor. sigh.

Better late than never.

Interestingly, not all of my prior post photographs appear that different, but the most recent one did; see below the version that I had posted. I am not linking the earlier post as I have already updated that photograph; no sense letting this version of the image continue to haunt me. Probably most noticeable aspect to me between the two image versions are the greens. I also notice that other earlier images have the reds going bonkers (oaky, a bit “blown-out”) in comparision. What about you, what do you see as differences?

The other aspect is that this is a film photograph is from one of my rolls of expired 120 film (I think that this roll expired in 1998), that was processed and scanned by my professional film lab. So a few more potential “color management” events before I was able to evaluate the file in PhotoShop.

I had planned on making some on-line submissions but now I need to recheck all of the image files for color balance, etc; do these images still look as I had intended? If not one thing, it’s another.

Cheers, Doug


July 6, 2018

Memory Pods – end of Season Four

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 1:46 am


Memory Pods, June 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Now that the heat of July has come in full force here in Southern California, the Aloe Vera seed pods that I am photographing for my project Memory Pods are all quickly withering away in their own unique style. As I wrote earlier in April, this is my fourth year of working on this project and since I am not sure of how I want to publish this project yet, I will probably work on it again next year. I will give me self some more time to reflect. I am pretty sure that I can exhibit this project now, which is an option that might allow some feedback. Another aspect to consider.

Meanwhile, there are still a few parts of these plants that are still getting my visual consideration, thus I will probably shoot another couple of more rolls over this weekend. Then its time to call it quits for photographing my subject in 2018. I am noticing that I am much more preoccupied with other projects since I can’t see the ending for this one yet.

This was the year that I acquired my used 120mm f/4 Makro for the Hasselblad to photograph this project. My takeaway is that this lens did not focus as close as I had anticipated, thus I am back to thinking about another extension tube (yes, don’t remind me that I sold two and vowed never to use these things again). The upside to this current camera/lens combination is that these are really big negatives and I can crop these extensively to create large prints. One visual aspect of using an extension tube on the 120mm lens would create an even shallower depth of field, which I seem to leaning into at the moment.

Something to think about during the “off season”.

So now back to the project that does seem to have my intense interest; Gardening for Ordnance in conjunction with a secret project that is developing in the background. fun, fun, fun!



January 23, 2018

Hasselblad jamnation – Again!

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Douglas Stockdale @ 9:24 pm


Hasselblad 500 C/M January 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is not the post that I had intended for today, as I was hit again with the Hasselblad Jamnation blues.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up my 500 C/M after it was “repaired” and after some back and forth last night, loaded the A12 back with some 120 color print film for today’s camera and lens check (did I mention my 120mm CF Makro lens acquisition?). My goal was to start photographing where my Gardening for Ordnance project was crossing the new Path to Somewhere project.

After a short hike out to the trail and to my destination with a quick set-up for my composition, I made the first exposure. The distinctive “flap” of the Hasselblad shutter in conjunction with the almost silent “ticking” of the lens shutter was music to my ears. That was it for a joyful moment. When I wound the camera for the next exposure, the mirror and lens reset, but the film counter did not advance for the A12 back. Huh? So then I did the same sequence a couple of more times; wound the shutter/mirror, fire and advance again and still the A12 film counter was still not advancing. Hmmmm.

Since I did phone reception; Google A12 film issues. All of the discussions were about the either the film not being loaded correctly or a problem with the gears in the A12 back. So I figured the film was a gonner, so I opened the A12 and pulled out the film insert; the film had not moved past the first exposure and everything looked fine. This A12 was working mighty fine before the body went into repair, so I was suspecting the camera body. After hiking back to the studio, I took the A12 back off the body, then back on again and tried the whole exposure thing again. Uh Oh, now things had gotten worse; I was back to the body/lens being locked up and another jamnation.

So the Hasselblad with the locked on lens is heading back to the repair shop, again. So two strikes for this body (and one strike for this camera repair shop). What next?

In retrospect, I should have completed a proper camera and film test with the gray card in my back yard, will I ever learn? First, I will bring a roll of film with me to pick up the body after this round of repairs and ensure everything is working fine before I leave. Then I will do the camera/lens film check in the back yard.

So I needed to post this to vent and get this frustration out of my system. Feeling only a little bit better, but some.  sigh.

Regards from a not so happy camper.

January 7, 2017

New Adventure for 2017: Video


Untitled (Middle Ground) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Something that has not really captured my attention for some time is working with video. I am of that generation in which movies were made with super-8mm film, a real bear to edit (actually had to physically splice the film together) and trying to add sound was an actual nightmare. To do movies right also meant investing in 16mm equipment, so still photograph made life so much easier. Even when I purchased the Canon 5DMk3, which has professional HD video capabilities, I did not even read the manual on how to use this feature until very recently (yes, like over this last New Years holiday while I was sicker than a dog).

So what prompted this wild & crazy idea? While photographing the Middle Ground project, I came up with the idea of doing a video of the same freeway urban landscape that I was looking at as I did the slow pokey drive in the bumper to bumper traffic.  What might that urban landscape look like as a video, as I had no idea. The idea is that the video would complement an exhibition of the still photographs to provide another visual alternative to this same project. This is in addition to photographing this landscape project with my Hasselblad (still have not purchased the 50mm CF Distagon yet), which I wrote about here.

I knew that my daughter’s brother-in-law Cameron has a sound studio in Santa Ana, but I had not realized the amount of video that he has also worked with until we started talking about it over the holidays. The reason I even brought it up with him is that Kevin, a good friend of mine, has been playing piano for many, many years and while listening to his CD it occurred to me think that this might provide a nice background sound track to my video, which it turns out, Kevin was game for. So I was primarily asking Cameron about his ability to add this sound track to my video. No problem! I then received a interesting mini-lesson in video and what I could do with my 5DMk3, which then prompted me to want to actually read the manual ;- )

2016 was my year to try Instagram and 2017 may be my year to try video. Who knew?


December 29, 2016

Hasselblad 50mm Distagon lens in my future for 2017?

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 6:09 am


untitled (Middle Ground), copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

While working on my current project, Middle Ground, I have thinking that I might want to consider using my Hasselblad and start shooting this with color film in 2017. The biggest issue is that I do not have an equivalent Hasselblad lens for the digital gear I am currently using. I have decided to work with a wide field of view for this project, selecting a 28mm focal length and field of view using my Canon 5DMk3 and the 24-105mm lens (a little scotch tape does a pretty good job of locking down the lens at the focal length that I want). Yes I could also purchase a 28mm prime lens for the Canon, but I am also a bit cheap and this works pretty well.

The closest thing for the Hasselblad is the 50mm f/4 Distagon lens and using a 1.6 factor, this lens can provide about a 31mm equivalent field of view to my 5DMk3/24-105mm. So I taped the 24-105mm lens at what is about 31mm tested it on a drive to San Diego. Part of the drive I also locked (taped) the the lens at 35mm to compare (the 60mm Distagon is about 38mm field of view equivalent). The 31mm was not too bad, but the 35mm started to tighten the pictorial framing of what I want to capture a little too much, thus confirming that an investment in a Hasselblad 50mm Distagon should work. It would be nice to borrow a 50mm Distagon to try out, but my buddies near-by do not have this lens to lend. darn.

Since I will be acquiring a used lens, which of the four different 50mm Distagon models to look for? I think that the CF will do the trick for me, a bit newer and better (lens coating) than the original C model and as I am not focusing close-up the later FLE (Floating lens element) model is probably not necessary (and save me some extra bucks as well).

So the lens hunt is now on!


November 3, 2016

Memory pods – 9-12-16 negative #8

Filed under: Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 7:41 pm


Untitled (September 12, 2016 Portra 160 Negative #8) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just finished scanning this negative from my Memory Pods project. For this photograph, my subject is just barely out of focus. I have determined that this negative in conjunction with two others from this same studio session might create an interesting triptych, a progression of the same subject slowly going out of focus with this image the third of the three. I am currently scanning the #9 negative, which has one of the extended tips in focus, then when that is complete, I will load #10 into the scanner which will have a bit more in focus.

Pre-visualizing this project as a published book, I would anticipate that this three image progression would be ideally suited to a gate-fold. One image, probably the one with the most focused memory pod, would be on the outside and as the gate-fold is opened, the reader would see the progression of the subject fading away with the two remaining photographs.

Second, this studio session was the result of wanting to create an analog/film version of my earlier digital image titled “Ghost“. I know that I can not exactly duplicate this earlier photograph as the actual dried stem was discarded a couple of years ago. So I am attempting to obtain the similar emotional image that I was initially drawn into investigating.

One thing I have to admit; previously I mostly scanned black&white negatives or color transparencies, thus still a little getting used to scanning and subsequently processing the color negatives.


October 18, 2016

On the scanner: 09-04-16 negative 12

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Douglas Stockdale @ 12:55 am


Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Cooking on the Nikon film scanner is negative #12 from my September 4th studio session working on my Memory Pods project. Hasselblad & 150 mm f/4 lens with two 21mm extension tubes, Kodak Portra 160 with an E.I. of 80, normal film processing.

Scan is taking a little longer as I did remember to scan at a 14 bit size (think I forgot for the last scan). Scan is at super fine: 16 times sampling for each scan pass.

The dried and slumping Memory pods are out of focus while the jumble and tangled elements are just in focus. This image kept coming to me while on vacation last week, thus the first of the new batch on the scanner now that we are back.

Next is the extensive spotting of the scan file, then all of the usual magic.


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