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Coming Together | by Don Komarechka
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Coming Together

This water droplet image is symbolic for me in a number of ways: it’s my first new image here in Bulgaria and it’s been created with a sample of a new lens just announced today. I love being on the cutting edge of things no matter where I am in the world. :)

 

First, the image. It was taken with a few dandelion seeds harvested from our front yard before mowing the lawn (which was in a rather wild state when we arrived). Gerbera daisies are thankfully well stocked by local florists in central Varna, in a spot that we walk and drive by frequently. Garden centers have ample supplies of spray bottles. All of the ingredients were easy to assemble to make this image come to life – and I brought my various flashlights, clamps and tripods with me.

 

(Brief aside: my friends at Platypod, which offer most of the lighting and staging equipment I use, have a pretty awesome sale on right now. I get nothing if you use the code DONKOM20, but you get 20% off anything not already bundled. I highly recommend getting a handful of their mini super clamps if nothing else: www.platypod.com/products/mini-super-clamp )

 

Setting up a water droplet refraction image is almost second nature to me. I recorded a video on the topic here, which is about as good as I could ever describe the process in such a short-form tutorial: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuMK1NZJQLE – give that a watch to see how all of these ingredients come together.

 

Next, the lens. I am pleased to have been shooting with the new Laowa 85mm F/5.6 2x macro lens designed for mirrorless full-frame cameras. They don’t make a native L-mount version, but I happily adapted the Leica M-Mount version to the L-mount for my Lumix cameras. The lens is absolutely tiny, robust, and performs well. Venus Optics has been doing some great things with macro lenses lately, and this little guy is no exception. The fun part is that it has a maximum aperture of F/5.6 – in almost all scenarios, I never use a standard macro lens wide open at F/2.8 or F/4, and eliminating these two stops can greatly reduce the size of the lens without compromising on quality. 2x maximum magnification is also very helpful!

 

For this image, I did not use the maximum magnification, but rather depended on the “high resolution” mode of the Lumix S1R to generate an extremely high-res image (187MP) from which I cropped to create the resulting image. Shot at F/11 to avoid issues with diffraction, this is something a “threading the needle” approach which requires a balance between depth of field and resolving power. A sub-optimal lens would also have resolving issues, but nothing bad was seen with this new lens. It’s slightly less contrasty than other lenses I have used in the past, but no complaints that cannot be solved in post-processing. You can check the lens out here: www.venuslens.net/product/laowa-85mm-f-5-6-2x-ultra-macro...

 

Finally, Bulgaria. We departed Canada exactly one month ago. In that time, we have purchased a house full of furniture and appliances, danced through numerous bureaucratic processes, bought a car, and effectively restarted our lives here. Last week, I received a National ID card that states that I am a permanent resident, and my daughter has been granted citizenship as well. Our home is better than we could have imagined, ripe with possibilities and the foundation for a peaceful life.

 

There is still more to do to get back up and running at full speed, but we are making progress. It’ll probably be spring time before things start to feel “normal”, but that doesn’t negate many creative opportunities between now and then.

 

Oh, and in a couple days, expect to see some new snowflake images. ;)

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Taken on November 28, 2021