Maple Tree Flowers

Plants are pretty open and calm about their reproduction. I just think it's cute.

The red maple outside my office continues to do its spring development. Buds that were only stretching a little bit last time I looked are now flowering. The little squiggly things (sorry to use such technical language…) have gotten much longer and are now surrounded by tiny petals.

Once the sexual stuff is done, I guess we’ll start seeing some little leaves. I can’t wait.

Technical info: This was special; it was my first attempt at focus stacking with the new camera (a Phase One medium format digital back, a Cambo bellows and rail, and various large- and medium-format lenses). I had to order a cable to enable shutter triggering from the linear stage that moves the camera to change focus.

This was taken with a medium-format macro lens, specifically the 140mm Mamiya RB lens. Normally, that’s a film lens, it gets used on an RB camera, but it’s really sharp, sharp enough for digital as well as film. (A lot of old glass is surprisingly good if you can stop it down a bit; this was done at f/11.)

Really technical info: the Mamiya 140 Macro is a special lens design. A modern lens has motors and gears and sliding rods inside it, and can move different glass elements by different amounts when focusing (even different directions, if its necessary). The Mamiya lens predates all that (and also predates things like automatic exposure). The Mamiya RB uses a bellows for focusing, so the manual focusing of this lens is somewhere between pure bellows and modern lenses. It’s a bridge to the history of photography.

That is because the 140mm Macro has moving lenses inside of it, but they don’t move themselves and there’s no motors, so…you have to adjust some exterior dials to move the lenses based on how much magnification you are using. There are elaborate charts on the side of the lens to guide you to the right settings. Suffice it to say that since I am NOT doing this on a Mamiya camera, I had to do the math to set the wheels and dials in the right places to get good focus across the field. It looks like I got them right.