Monday, October 2, 2017

Macro Monday 7, Industrial art

And here you thought I'd forgotten about Macro Monday. Not so! The last several Monday's I've been busy. This isn't intended as a regular Monday thing, but if I've shot macro, it will likely show up Monday regardless of when I did the cameraing. Yes, that's a word. We decided on the last Zeller field trip that it's a perfectly cromulent word.

It took a little while to get set up, and here's what it looks like. I finally figured out that I can bolt the base plate that usually goes on the 70-200 mm lens onto the bottom of the macro rails, which means I can mount the whole shebang on my tripod head and get some flexibility about angles. Yes, I'm using my bike stand to hold the subject. Its surprisingly flexible, and quite stable. The blue arm and black disk is an LED light. Too much light is seldom a problem in macro photography. The distance between the surface of the lens and the subject is just over an inch. You can bet I was careful not to extend the lens right onto the subject.



Along the way I discovered that Curtis walking past the tripod shifts the floor enough that I can see a slight bit of movement on screen. Me shifting my weight back and forth creates lots of movement. Someone walking anywhere in the house bounces things around enough you can't even see what's on screen. Twiddling the macro rails even slightly moves things, and I needed to let the vibration settle down again.

1. Getting dialled in, this is about 3.8x. It took quite a while to get a flat surface parallel to the plane of the sensor to minimize depth of field issues. When I started, I could get one of the silver squares in focus at the bottom of the screen, the next up was a little fuzzy, the next one was a lot fuzzy and the top one was a hazy blur.

2. Now at 5x. All the rest are at 5x unless otherwise noted.

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5. Slightly back out to about 4.8x, to get all of this structure. It's about 1 mm wide.

6. Back to 5x. Now we're looking at the bigger, older subject. It's dusty.

7. I could figure out the diameter of those wires if I really wanted to. Maybe I'll leave that as an exercise for the keen student.

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9. If I gave you the subject, you'd likely not see these wires unless you looked carefully. I hadn't known they were there till I saw them on the camera screen.

10. From here I got daring and added a 20 mm extension tube, just to see what would happen. I thought the image would be darker and harder to focus, but not so. As a hint, I'm using live view, and sometimes using that zoom to help me focus. Who cares about battery life when the charger is within arms reach?

11. Then I got carried away and added all the extension tubes (12 + 20 + 36 = 68 mm). Depth of field gets to be even more of an issue. These plastic insulation of the wires are barely visible to the naked eye.

I thought of trying to get a set of images I could stack into one, but with my setup and how things are vibrating between shots, I don't think I got images aligned properly. Further experimentation needed. Stay tuned.

Up till now a macro shot was a success if it was in focus, within the limitations of depth of field. Now I'm starting to look at them for artistic merit, beyond just the inherent cool factor of the shots. Part of the issue is that I think this industrial stuff is really cool, (so you might see more of it, just saying) and I've gained a whole new appreciation for the skills of the people assembling and installing these. I'd bet money these were assembled by hand, quite possibly by someone using tiny hand tools under a big magnifying glass. Maybe there was some sort of Waldo arrangement, where the operator moves their hand an inch, and the actual tool moves some fraction of an inch.

Then there's the natural world, if you can get it to hold still. You may recall the bee from a Macro Monday a few weeks ago, down at the bottom. I got very lucky there. I've got some ideas to explore over the winter.

12. Here's a technical shot showing how little the camera sees at that magnification. In comparison, at 5x the camera will see about 4.5 mm side to side, with the extension tubes added it's just over 3 mm. I don't know what the actual increase in magnification power is.


This is what you've really been looking at. Once upon a time the big one was the mechanism for holding and controlling the heads of a mainframe computer hard drive. No idea which model. This is almost entirely made of metal. As near as I can tell, the only plastic is the coating on the wires, and I'd guess the circuit board. The big one is about 13 cm long and 5 cm wide. It was probably worth thousands of dollars back in the day, and now it's industrial art. The smaller one came from one of my old hard drives that had crashed. I took it apart just to see how it was put together. The tiny black boxes at the tips of the arms are the magnets that actually read and write information to the hard drive, and are barely visible.


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