About Photomatter Blog

Photomatter Blog is an extension of Photomatter.com's Photography web site featuring photos by James Markus. The blog will focus on photography, business practices, equipment, new photographic creations, important photographic news/information, recent work, and my occasional posts.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Gallery, and Contests

Last spring I began competing in Viewbug's photo contests instead of the usual on line competitions. There were a number of reasons for this, but the number of eyeballs was one of the main ones. After about 8 months of entering photo contests on Viewbug seven entries have placed and/or won recognition, 77 have been deemed "Top Class", and another 878 entries have received "Peer Awards". Four of the seven Viewbug awards were won by this image.

The gallery is still coming together, but I like the format and style of image presentation. You can see my gallery at this link HERE

Monday, November 21, 2016

By the river fall colors

  Had an opportunity to work with the Nikkor 135mm f2.0 ai again. It's a beautiful lens. This was photographed by the dam in Grand Rapids Michigan on a very pleasant November evening.

Men fishing at dusk

Water over the dam

The lens faithfully captured the color and mood of the evening. It resisted flare, ghosting, and comma under some harsh conditions.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Seems I haven't posted in a while.  I got a bit busy, and I needed to recharge the soul. In the last 6 months I began participating in another photo site which aesthetically I liked it's design. I also let expire my FM gallery which reached 2.3 million views. Lots of views, but almost no action. So, the approximately 1200 images in the gallery were all  thrown away. Cathartic! 

I created an image for one of the new site's photo contest, and it won some awards. The new gallery is linked here, and here is the image.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Macro with different lenses and techniques

There are many ways to shoot macro photography. Each of the these were shot with a different lens and technique. The lenses used were a Tokina 17mm reversed (mounted with the rear of the lens facing forward), a Nikkor 20mm ais reversed, a Nikkor 28mm ais reversed, a Nikkor 105mm micro, and a Nikkor 135mm + extension tubes. (Click photo to see larger versions)

Title: Liberty - Tokina 17mm f3.5 ai reversed

Title: Eye of the Needle - Nikkor 20mm f2.8 ais reversed

 Title: Wizard's Hat - Nikkor 28mm f2.8 ais reversed

Title: Sunflower #9 - Nikkor 105mm f4.0 ais micro

 Title: Standing out from the crowd - Nikkor 135mm f2.0 ais + extension tube

These are some of my favorites so I entered them into Photo.net's February Macro photo contest. Of course there are many wonderful entries that you might enjoy seeing. Click HERE to check it out.

Monday, February 15, 2016


I like to give photos of flowers to Barb for Valentine's day. There are lots of reasons, but I think she likes it this way now. This year I ended up with three keepers of Gerbera Daisies (a favorite), and I liked this particular color this year. I really appreciate the bokeh (out of focus areas) that the two lenses I used to shoot these images render. The first two are using the Nikkor 105mm f4.0 ais micro, and the last one is the Nikkor 105mm f1.8 ais with an extension tube.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gallery Milestone

Hard to believe that in a few years this would happen...

A few weeks ago my gallery on Fred Miranda's web site passed the 2 million views mark. I just want to thank the people that look, and those that took the time to comment. I have other galleries on my own web site and on Photo.net, but here is the link to the James Markus FM gallery

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dishwater Dreams

Vision of the future, and reality are two very contrasting themes in my life. Dreaming is no problem, but
the reality is usually far less colorful. When I think about the 1960's I remember an explosion of colors.
Colors we had never seen before outside of nature - like fluorescent shades of various primary colors showed up in publishing, and the culture. While experimenting with common tap water and dish soap I found little areas of this explosive color. I set out to capture one of these fleeting intersections of color. Here is one of the intersections, and a 100% crop of a piece of the image. Lets hope our futures become as colorful.

Both of these were shot with a Nikkor 105mm f1.8 ais manual focus lens, and extension tubes.
Click to view a larger versions

Monday, July 20, 2015

Time Travel

A convergence of old...

A couple months ago my mother gave me this pocket watch. Its value is that it belonged to my grandfather; whom I never meet. However, I was born on his birthday and share his first name as my middle name (Paul). Yesterday, I gave the stem a twirl, and the watch leapt to life. The rhythm was amazingly precise, and I thought about how to capture that accuracy. This is a 150 second slice of time as recorded by the watch. Notice the perfect spacing of the minute hand. So, what is the "convergence of old"? Well, first there is the old man that took this image, me. Next, I employed a 35+ year old manual focus Nikkor lens (105mm f4.0 ais micro), and of course the watch itself.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Whimsical Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner

 Title: "Chili Fire"
 The expression by David is exactly what I was going for in this humorous image. It is a straight forward shot requiring no Photoshop special effects. Just timing, some preparatory work, and simple lighting.

Photo.net's "Whimsical Photo Contest" guest judge awarded my entry the grand prize a couple weeks ago. The prize is this really cool wireless 2TB portable hard drive. It has a battery that can last up to 20 hours, and a SD slot. The judges' comments can be found HERE as well as the other winning entries.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Road Less Traveled

  Jerry Seinfeld is quoted to have said "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason". Today, I literally went down a road less traveled by me - 36th street SW. Evidence of the recent economic crash was shockingly apparent. A sky-walk to nowhere.

This sky-walk once led to one of the largest factories in Wyoming Michigan. It filled a city block - probably close to half a square mile of space. For some reason GM (General Motors) left this sky-walk structure in place after completely wiping the ground clean where the factory once stood.

 It seems a gesture kind of like giving the middle finger to the community where thousands toiled to make GM millions of dollars. I can't imagine the number of  lives destroyed by this decision, but it is a very good reminder of the actual stewardship and care that a large corporation has for the local community. There is a reason that some roads are less traveled, and 36th street is now one of them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monthly Project Win on Photo.net

 In January there was a monthly project on Photo.net that was about DOF (Depth of Field).
I had just acquired a beautiful used Nikkor 105mm f1.8 ais lens off the popular auction site which proved perfect for the project. So, I shot the nearest model available...Charlie.  Here is the lens...

There was a prize for the project, and I used it to purchase a canvas print of my tribute to Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" - though my version is an antithesis of his sunny bright yellow - live flowers - round vase etc. The unfortunate thing about the tribute is I shot it with another ancient Nikkor - the 35mm f2.0 ai, but I sold it a while back. I wish I had not sold it. I think of lenses as brushes...at least I got to use it a few times. Here is my "Vincent".

 If anyone wants a discount on a canvas print - Canvas Pop does an excellent job. I have a 2' x 5' print in the receptionist area of my studio that I look at everyday. Discount is HERE

Monday, January 26, 2015

Warm Rosemary Herb Bread

provided the inspiration for another food photo award from I Shot It this month. Barb had purchased a delicious Rosemary herb bread, but she improved upon it. Here is the result. This loaf only lasted about 10 hours. BTW Barb also made the bread board. Link to judges comments is below.
Click here to read the judges comments at I Shot It