Hi art friends! Today’s post is the continuation of the Kenko Extension Tube kit test. Following the test with Maisie, I wanted to conduct the test on something properly small: the Force wielding Grogu, who is slightly larger than Maisie’s face. Grogu stands at 2.25 inches tall. I bought the 2 piece Grogu set from Amazon, the other Grogu is him eating a frog. I started with the frog-eating Grogu, but by the 12 mm shot, it looked, uh, pornographic. That’s when I took out Force-wielding Grogu.

This shoot was set up immediately after completing the Maisie Test: Canon Rebel T1i with 50 mm lens, Kenko extension tube kit, set at 1/80 and 2.0. Using my tripod, black wooden tissue box in my still life set up.

The images were shot on Manual mode, in raw. I don’t have a ton of patience, so I get my Manual setting by taking a shot in Auto mode to see what the camera selects. I switch to Manual, take a shot and adjust the shutter speed and aperture until I get the amount of exposure I like, which tends toward slighter darker exposures and deeper shadows. Sure, I can do all that in Photoshop, but I prefer to save time by getting the exposure I want in camera.

This time, I took a scale shot of Grogu with a US quarter, using just my 50 mm lens. The image was shot after I conducted the test. Focus was a problem for this series. I took and deleted a lot of shots. More on how I worked through that with each image. I’ll also apologize for Grogu, who needed to be dusted. Couldn’t tell until I looked at the shots. Ew.

Grogu scale image

As with the Maisie test, the only change to these images was to convert them from raw to jpg for posting. No edits or corrections were made in Lightroom or Photoshop. As with the Maisie test, my camera was mounted on a tripod. This both helped and hindered me at times.

Photo #1: Grogu and the 50 mm lens. My physical space to use a tripod with my still life set up is problematic: my desk is directly behind the setup, which limits where I can sit and place the tripod. The tripod was partially on the rug that is under the desk. The rug is there because the hard wood floor is too slippery to use with my standard rolling office chair.

The rug is not wide enough to fill the width of my studio. It is long enough to will the room width; however, rotating the rug 90 degrees doesn’t work because the width of the rug is not enough to be fully under the legs of my desk.

All of which is to say: I need to re-organize my two Billie shelves to shift the still life area to the other shelf, which is beyond the furthest edges of both the rug and desk.

Grogu, 50 mm lens

The second image is the 50 mm Canon lens + 12 mm extension tube. In addition to the photo below, I have one focused on Grogu’s hand, but it made me laugh that it looks like Grogu is flipping the viewer the bird. Grogu is a punk, after all.

Grogu 50 mm + 12 mm extension

The third image is the 50 mm lens + the 20 mm extension. Here is where I experienced focusing problems. There was a lot of experimentation to get these close-up shots. I was on the verge of giving up, but I really love macro photography, so I pressed in order to work this out. As you might guess, very small movements of the camera makes a huge difference in focus.

I am extremely near sighted, with a severe astigmatism in one eye and I’m at an age where I have progressive lenses. Although I’m correctable to 20/20, I choose to buy the ultra lightweight lenses, otherwise, my glasses are very heavy. Each time my prescription changes, it takes me about 2 weeks to adjust to the new lenses, which create a lot of distortion beyond the sweet spot at the center of the lens.

The little adjustment wheel on the camera is not enough to compensation for this. I’ve tried and gotten the best results I can out of it.

I use the focus selection feature to set where I want the camera to focus. I change this focal point as needed for the day’s shooting. My workaround to solving the manual focus problem is similar to how I set the exposure: I use the Autofocus feature to set the focus, then switch to manual then physically move the camera where I want the focus.

Grogu 50 mm lens + 20 mm extension tube

The fourth image is the 50 mm lens + 36 mm extension tube. This image is when I realized my tripod was a touch too high so I lowered it a turn or two. I have mixed feelings about this image. I like the focus on his hand, you can see the lines of his hand and the cuff details, but his face is blurred to the point where you can’t really tell it’s Grogu. It could be Yoda. A change in camera angle may solve that, but again, this is only a test. If this were an actual photo shoot for a project, I’d take a lot more photos and change angles if it was a problem I needed to solve.

Grogu 50 mm lens + 36 mm tube

The last image is the 50 mm lens + 48 mm extension tubes (12 + 36). This is macro almost to the point of abstraction. It could be an interesting way to indicate movement in a series of images (say for a graphic novel), by progressively zooming in. I can imagine this combination would be an exquisitely dreamy way to capture flowers.

Grogu 50 mm lens + 48 mm extension tubes

I’m glad I spent the time on these tests. I took a number of lessons that I think will take my photography to the next level, as I work on mastering shooting in manual mode:

  • move my still life set-up so I have the full width of the room to work in
  • use Auto mode to set the aperture and shutter speed, switch to manual mode and adjust the settings to my liking
  • use the auto-focus to set the focus then switch it to manual focus and physically move the camera to the desired area of focus.

The last test in this series is to put all 3 extension tubes on. I didn’t use all three for the Maisie. By the time I got to the 48 mm/2 tubes, I thought the 110 mm would be too extreme for bjds. In addition, I needed time to process what I was learning with the combinations up to 1:1 in order to make a plan to shoot with all three. I think the trio of tubes would be unsuitable for use with bjds, but I’m curious what I’ll get with Grogu.

Today is grocery day, so I may buy a bouquet of flowers for more macro photography. I’m writing this post on the weekend of the hottest weather on record, so going outside to shoot is not a consideration right now.

As for Takashima, I picked up some Photoshop actions specifically for creating graphic novels. The kit included some layout templates. After these tests, I may shoot additional character close-ups to factor in that delicious blur.

I’ve been shooting and editing so much lately, that I’m able to schedule posts several weeks out. This post was written immediately after the Maisie Test Post. In thinking about how little I’ve utilized Maisie lately, I had an idea to test the new Photoshop actions and create a teaser of the story to follow Takashima. I’m also planning baseball card-style character bios. So many ideas, but that just means this is my muse.

Happy creating!