Cherry blossom macro portraits with olloclip and a makeshift desktop studio

Around the last year of graduate school I came down with the “sniffles”. For weeks I had itchy, watery eyes, a stuffy nose and I sneezed almost incessantly. It was impacting my school work and my friend insisted I take a trip to the school’s medical center. I was shocked to when she told me that I had seasonal allergies. I grew up in the West Indies. I never heard of anyone who had allergies to anything.

Apple iPhone 5 (4.12mm, f/2.4, 1/60 sec, ISO64)
By: Khürt WilliamsCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Every I get the sneezing, nasal itch and drooling, itchy eye watering, “sniffly” allergies. I love the Spring but hate my bodies reaction to it. That doesn’t stop me from doing what I love. Walking outdoors enjoying nature coming to life after many months of dreary grey. Of course I pay for it later.

The building grounds crew were clipping off low hanging branches from the trees right outside the entrance. I asked and they cut off a small bunch for me to take.

Apple iPhone 5 (4.12mm, f/2.4, 1/60 sec, ISO50)
By: Khürt WilliamsCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I set up a small “desktop studio” using two sheets of 11×14″ paper. One sheet was laid flat on the desk and the other was set against the wall of the cubicle. The branch was placed on the paper and illuminated from directly above the fluorescent light installed at the desk.

I had a lot of trouble securing the iPhone. I wanted to make sure focusing was as sharp as possible. This was challenging giving the shallow depth of field of the macro lenses. I didn’t have a tripod so I improvised. I stuck a bent business card into the slot in my Kenu car iPhone holder. After a great deal of trial and error I was able to get the setup stabalized. I used the digital zoom feature of Camera+ to check that my focus was as sharp as possible. Just to be sure, I used the 5 second shutter timer on Camera+ to reduce any possible camera shake when I tapped the on-screen shutter release.

Apple iPhone 5 (4.12mm, f/2.4, 1/120 sec, ISO80)
By: Khürt WilliamsCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The following set of images were taken with the Olloclip 10X and 15X macro lens attachments for the iPhone 5. The images were exported to the iOS camera roll1 and then imported into Photogene to remove a scratch on my iPhone lens2. Once the scratch was removed, the images were exported to Flickr. This was to ensure I had a backup of the images before moving on. I then did another export to the iOS camera roll and imported images into Mextures.

Apple iPhone 5 (4.12mm, f/2.4, 1/60 sec, ISO50)
By: Khürt WilliamsCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Mextures I applied some of the formulas from the Summer Formula’s pack to create the final result. What do you think of the results?

  1. I realised later that I could have exported the images directly from Camera+ to Photogene. 
  2. The scratch shows up as a purple dot in every photo. Quite annoying but easy to remove with the “Heal” tool in Photogene. 

What’s in my mug?


NIKON D5100 (85mm, f/1.8, 1/80 sec, ISO100)

Rojo’s Roastery
Papua New Guinea kimel estate AA.
wet process
var: mondo novo, blue mountain, typical,arusha, caturra, catimor

I’ve drunk a lot of coffee from Rojo’s Roastery lately. Since I now work in the Trenton area, my commute is a little longer, I leave home a little sooner. Driving over to Buy the Cup in Rocky Hill has been a bit more challenging. The Rojo’s Palmer Square shop is on the way so I’ve stopped in when I run out of coffee. Right now that seems to be the middle of the week usually on Wednesday or Thursday.

But I’ll have to make some time to visit Buy the Cup this weekend. Vitali probably misses me.


KYOCERA Finecam M410R (30.6mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO200)
By: yama_hokkaidoCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Equality does not mean we all share the same capabilities, it means we are all worth the same regardless of our drastically unequal capabilities. It is because we are so radically unequal in ability, background, and opportunity that treating one another as identical bearers of intrinsic worth is so important.James Shelly

But what do you do when the grasshoppers feel entitled to the work of the ants? Or the grasshopper thinks it can do the work of the ant and vice-versa?

Duke Farms


NIKON D5100 (55mm, f/22, 20 sec, ISO100)

Despite severe allergies and feeling tired from another photo event the previous day, I decided to join a group of photographers for a walk through the Duke Farms estate in Hillsborough. I popped one Zyrtec, one Singulair, and squeeze a mist of Nasonex in each nostril and drove the ten minutes to the estate. Once again I met with Ed and Prasanna, our leader Loren, and a few other people from my last photo walk.

The first stop along the path was the waterfall feature. On the last photo walk, Ed and Loren had talked to me about Neutral Density filters. I learned that an ND filter is essential for creating that creamy white water look in photographs of waterfalls and rivers. After some online research I purchased a Hoya 55mm Neutral Density ND-400 X, 9 Stop Multi-Coated Glass Filter from B&H to use on my Nikon 18-55mm f/5.6 lens. I used it for the first time today. What do you think of the result (above)?With some trial and error I took a 20 second exposure of the waterfall at f/22.


NIKON D5100 (55mm, f/22, 20 sec, ISO100)

Above is a closer crop of the image.


NIKON D5100 (29mm, f/16, 1/50 sec, ISO100)

I didn’t take many photos on this photo walk. I had too much fun being outdoors and enjoying the company of other photogs. Perhaps I’ll come back in a few weeks when the trees have more flowers.


NIKON D5100 (45mm, f/5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO100)

Some of the images were post-processed in Silver Efx Pro and Color Efx Pro.


NIKON D5100 (18mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO100)