Macro Experiments

Been trying out the new Macro lens to see if I can get used to when to use which aperture setting.  Since it was a beautiful spring day, I walked around the yard with the lens experimenting on different subjects.  

Checking out Erin’s garden, which includes a bunch of crystals. f5, 1/320, ISO100, 90mm

Douglas County Petrified Wood, Colorado Smoky Amethyst Quartz, and a Douglas County Smoky Quartz Amazonite plate. Again in the garden. f11, 1/100, ISO100, 90mm.

Some convection on a storm a bit north of here, getting used to the fixed nature of this prime lens (this is my first foray into prime lenses). f11, 1/400, ISO100, 90mm.

Black and white convection shot, at the top of the stack. f11, 1/640, iso100, 90mm.

Manual focus on the seed in this dandelion shot. f11, 1/100, iso160, 90mm.

Was going for a shallow depth of field here with the foreground in tight focus. Manual focus, f2.8, 1/1250, iso100, 90mm.

This guy was cool, letting me get so close. Needed a deeper depth of field to get the entire grasshopper in focus, didn’t quite achieve that though got most of his head in good focus. f/6.3, 1/320, iso100, 90mm manual focus.

Working on really tight focus on all of the head. Didn’t get the antennae though. Manual focus, f6.3, iso100, 1/200, 90mm.

Got him itching, even bugs have allergies? This one was a bit tighter in focus, not because of the change in aperture, but rather the antennae are more in line with the body I think. Manual focus, f6.3, 1/200, iso100, 90mm.

Caught this hawk soaring! f14, 1/400, iso100, 90mm

The goal for this shot was to get the little anthers in focus while also have the rest of the flower which requires a deeper depth of field. Manual focus, f14, 1/100, iso1250, 90mm.

Here I was trying to get the further away anthers in sharp focus to highlight the curly anthers. Still trying to get it in mostly focus, but the foreground is a bit out of focus. Manual focus, f18, 1/100, iso2000, 90mm.

For this shot the goal was to get the flower and anthers in tight focus, didn’t know what kind of bokah to expect. Manual focus, f5, 1/100, iso250, 90mm.

Was trying to get the anthers in tight focus to highlight them with a really shallow depth of field to focus the eye on the anther and pollen. Manual focus, f2.8, 1/500, iso100, 90mm.

There was a tiny little ant crawling around the flower, wanted to try and get him and the flower in focus. Manual focus, f13, 1/00, iso400, 90mm.

I saw the ant walk into this hole in the tree, so I did a tight focus on that hole and waited for him to peek his head out. Manual focus, f13, 1/100, iso250, 90mm.

This dead flower stalk had good depth between the flowers, so I wanted to see what the extreme shallow depth of field would look like on this lens. I find it amazing the few inches blurs that quickly! Manual focus, f2.8, 1/640, iso100, 90mm.

The goal here was to get good overall focus, with the seeds being primary focal point. I liked this because you can see all the way to the core of the dandelion flower and I wanted to try and highlight that. Manual focus, f22, 1/100, iso800, 90mm.

Had some Mt Antero beryl showing in the garden, so tried to get crisp focus on some of the Colorado blue. Manual focus, f18, 1/100, iso4000, 90mm.

This quartz crystal needs a cleaning someday. The goal was to get all the facets in focus, so a deep depth of field from the macro lens. Manual focus, f18, 1/100, iso1600, 90mm

Cinco de Mayo sunset and astro experiments

What a beautiful (probably smog enhanced) sunset at my friends house here in Larkspur.  Wasn’t focusing too much on photos (more on just chilling after a tough couple of weeks) but was able to capture several with a 55mm prime f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens.  

Going for the shallow depth of field to blur the background. f1.8, 1/6400, iso100, 55mm.

Rampart Range, Perry Park and Devils Head. f8, 1/160, iso100, 55mm

Devils Head and contrail. f8, 1/125, iso100, 55mm

Devils Head and “X” marks the spot! f8, 1/60, iso125, 55mm.

Love how the moon flares with this lens. 15sec, iso1600.

We were watching for the eta Aquariids shooting stars, and it was time to go home, so I made a fireball :). This is actually the moon. 15 sec, iso1600.

These are fairly noise due to the digital zoom with the 55mm lens. I’ll go back and shoot these with a telephoto sometime. This is the Front Range west of Denver. f8, 1/60, iso160, 55mm

Another perspective. Lookout Mountain in Golden is in the lower left. f8, 1/60, iso200, 55mm.

Douglas County Libraries Colorado State of Mind

 Colorado State of Mind

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Colorado State of MInd event sponsored by the Castle Rock branch of the Douglas County Libraries.  A friend works there and asked if I could present the rocks and crystals I have found in the state.  Sounded like a ton of fun, literally!

Colorado state of mind rockhound booth

My bland booth, chock full of rocks

I worked the entire event, 5 hours, talking to very interesting adults and super cool (and many times very intelligent!) kiddos on crystals and rocks.  Everyone could pick up the crystals and experience their beauty and geometry up close.  I really enjoyed seeing the excitement of the kids faces as they explored the beautiful rocks, and enjoyed meeting like minded folks.  I think many people were amazed of the cool gems that lay underground in literally our back yards!

Dave and library patron Carl Degolier. Kindly used with permission from DCL.

I talked about some useful information, so I thought I’d include that information here for reference…

Erosion

The theme of this post is erosion.  On a recent trip to Las Vegas I was able to have some fun taking pictures from 30k+ feetwith my Note5 and the Instagram filters!

The desert can be a harsh place, but it is full of colorful beauty!  My cab driver stated there are towns that are emerging from the depths of Lake Mead, he stated it is 320 feet below normal!  Anyhow, here to the wind, rain, snow and natural weathering processes!

 

 

 

Sunday Slow-Down improv set

Sunday Slow-Down picture taken by @Nix_Morton.

Charles

COEC @ SSD-1

I will be doing a live, ambient/electronic improv set with Charles Ballas in Denver on Sunday March 5th, 2017. Conveniently located off of the central light rail line at Alameda Station, should be no reason for you not to slow-down your Sunday and join us.  4-6pm. White Whale Room is the venue; looks like a ultra hip place to spend the afternoon!

Sunday Slow-Down live electronic music

The theme of this event will be simplicity.  No car needed, I’ll just have focus on one piece of gear, likewise Charles will bring a guitar and looper pedal.  We’re going as Chill Out Enforcement Crew and do take our jobs seriously!  LOL.

The flyer is turntable illusion art.  Print it and stick it on your LP player for some optical illusions!  Then you’ll fully understand the vibe we’re looking forward too!

Obliq Museum: Korg Triton Restoration

I have been wanting a Korg Triton synthesizer since they were released in 1999.  At that time I had a Korg Trinity which we used heavily, as you may have heard in our Multicast tracks.  The Triton has a built in sampler and expansion available for MOSS functionality (Korg Prophecy engine), which I’m now on the market for! 

I found a Triton on Craigslist but it had some issues.  The price was right so I went ahead and took the challenge of hopefully being able to find the issue and then fix it.  I know that Triton parts are getting hard to find since it was discontinued.  It has the two memory cards and also the EXB-PCM04 Dance Extreme expansion board.  So an awesome setup once I get it fixed!

More restoration stories can be found here

Korg Triton

Korg Triton as it was when I brought it home, you can see the issue with the one “E” key

Korg Triton Power

Here is the sketchy power. The whole assembly was broken and the power button was gone.

The person I bought it from was a vet and this synth had seen the desert and likely many other places upon this earth!  It likely brought joy to many, so the karma is good!  The plastic buttons and modulation joystick assembly were all heavily discolored, likely due to sitting in intense sunlight for a long period of time. There is no way to fix the plastic discoloration issue without replacing all those pieces, which would be very expensive (if you could find the parts) and given that is cosmetic I’m not overly concerned.  Part of the character of buying a used synthesizer!

Here were the problems that I diagnosed that needed fixed:

  1. Power assembly was completely broken, but still worked
  2. E Key was broken
  3. Something in the I/O boards were broken causing the touchscreen to now work properly
  4. Several screws were missing and/or were not seated properly (cosmetic)

The big issue was the touchscreen issue.  You couldn’t choose the drop-down menu (upper right) which rendered the synth very unusable.  Upon troubleshooting this I found that it was a slider issue.  The likely culprit was the Value slider.  I found a replacement slider online but I wasn’t sure it was just the slider.  I cleaned the slider but it still didn’t work, so I assumed it was the slider but I wanted to find a replacement of the 2085 control board if possible.

I found all the parts for the power assembly new at Keyboard Kountry (check them out, they have a great stock of replacement parts for Tritons and other keyboards).  I also bought a replacement set of screws since some were missing and others were slightly stripped.  Nice that they offered this!  They also had the “E” key for a great price.

The 2085 board was a different story…there were no boards available on the internet that I could find, except one I found in Austria on eBay.  I’ve had mixed results buying used parts on eBay in the past, but the seller had a good feedback rating and said it was 100% working, so I took a chance and purchased the board.  It took 2 weeks to arrive.

Here are the boards after I removed them. The upper right is the jack board, the upper center is the 2085 human interface board and the lower tray holds the CPUs.

The keyboard assembly, the bottom (with floppy drive attached) and main control board still attached to the chassis.

Reference photos showing the headphone jack connection (there are two small sockets on the jack board that are the same, so I wanted to be sure to remember what went where)

Reference photo showing the wiring of the jacks and wiring harnesses

Triton motherboard wiring

Reference photo of the main motherboard wiring

The parts came in within a couple of weeks, and I started to do the repair and reassembly work.  The power assembly was simple, two screws and a simple plug into the power supply PCB.  That took 5 minutes and now works like a charm!

Triton Power Supply Assembly

Power assembly showing the jack into the PCB. Simple replacement; nice to find a full assembly with button at Keyboard Kountry!

Triton Power

Power looks much better and is safe!

To replace the broken key, you have to remove the keyboard assembly entirely, which is a bit of effort!  At the top of the keys there is a plastic clip that sits along the entire assembly. Sliding this off, you now have room to slide the key upwards and it will pop right out. Putting the new key in is the same, in reverse.  Then re-position the clip and you’re good to go!  

Replacing Keys

Most keyboards are similar to this, there is a plastic “clip” that sits on the back edge of the keyboard assembly, removing this provides a small amount of space that allows enough room to slide the keys back and they will pop out

Triton broken key

This shows the broken key from the back, the plastic guides should be showing like the other white keys; those were busted off and the key needed replaced

Broken vs New "E" Key

If you are missing a key entirely, you MUST make sure you get that metal insert–this replacement key didn’t come with one so I got lucky that I already had it!  Without this metal piece the key will not work properly. If you are replacing the key like I am, you transfer this metal to the new key. Notice the broken plastic guides that render the key useless

The most difficult part of the reassembly was the wiring.  I noted this and added some tape with reference letters to help me remember where the harnesses attached to.  Note that the wiring is “just long enough” to reach its destinations, so that also helps with reassembly, as does the different amounts of wires in the sockets/jacks–only a couple were the same size and coupled with the wire length being exact it made it easier to know what went where.  But given there are a lot of wiring, reference shots and labeling as you disassemble are always a good idea!  

Headphone Jack

There are two small audio connectors on this jack board. I highlighted here (in red) the headphones jack that runs to the front, lower left, of the unit.

Now the Korg Triton is fully functional!  Awesome!  The sounds are killer and I’m just starting to play with the synthesis engine!  The unit was pretty dirty so i scrubbed it down and was able to pull off some of the grime; but unfortunately there are many scratches that are more than skin deep and again that is the “character” you get when buying synthesizers second hand!  

Overall this restoration project consumed about 8 hours of time and parts cost a little over $100.  Parts are getting difficult to find, however, and so even if the synth isn’t “vintage” it may still be a difficult restoration project…note to self!  I got lucky on this one that I was able to procure all the parts immediately without having to put together repetitive web searches like I’ve done for other classic synthesizers in the past!

Here are some great resources for the Korg Triton: