Friday, 11 January 2019

Adventures in Toyland

Not exactly a new toy, more a slight upgrade of an existing one. That's how I think of my 'new' 20mm lens. I had the feeling that the old one, while working well enough, might be heading for a breakdown. Any new lens has to be tried out under field conditions once it's functionality has been confirmed. With little chance to go anywhere for more than an hour or two I took it first for a walk to the village and back, photographing stuff I knew I would delete. There was one frame I saved as it had wheelie bins in it and can go in my village views folder in Lightroom.

This picture demonstrated again to me how little distortion there is from this lens when used with a bit of thought. It doesn't have that ultra wide look to it. This makes it usable for people photographs. Although you do have to get pretty close to people for them to appear as more than distant specs! The advantage here is that you are so close they don't imagine you have them in the frame.

A few days later I took my slow medium zoom out. It's been languishing for a while but a recent outing encouraged me to dust it down in an attempt to decide if it should stay or go. It's staying. But the crop sensor body I attached it to is going. There's nothing wrong with the body, it's just served it's purpose in an experiment. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't take photos in dingy places quite so often I would be perfectly happy with a smaller sensor camera, but hand-held in low light is something I like doing, and some of my preferred subjects frequent dimly lit places. High ISO performance rules, OK.

Although it's a 'slow' lens, and not all that expensive, it does a nice enough job on out of focus backgrounds. Another good reason for keeping it.

It was only on Thursday that I managed to get enough free time before dark to do some more thoughtful photography. As it happened the time available coincided with a heavy mist descending. I like mist for outdoor photography - sheep dog trials excluded! It's especially useful in a woodland setting. The light is diffused to eliminate harsh shadows, and the mist hides a lot of background clutter while enhancing the aerial perspective.

Having learned in the steamy auction mart that longer focal lengths work best for showing a misty effect I ventured out with my long zoom. I stuck the 28mm on a second body and put that in my new bag. The longer lens did the donkey work.

Although I like the way mist turns all colours into pastel shades I still wanted the final pictures to be in monochrome as part of the ongoing project. Because of the haze many were almost monochromatic anyway. Some I made colour and black and white versions of. The colour versions being stand-alone pictures outside of the project. They joys of digital.

I wasn't sure what I was looking for. It turns out I was after subject-less pictures. I took quite a few with my viewfinder eye squinting as I framed the shots.

Outside the wood I couldn't resist the goal posts on the playing field. It's a bit of a cliché, and I first photographed misty goal posts a long, long time ago with one of my first cameras. But I don't care. This time I stuck with the colour shot.

It's hard to believe that I used to leave my long zoom behind more often than not as I ma now using it a great deal. So much so that I could probably manage with just this lens, 28mm on the second body and a 20mm in the bag. The trouble is there are so many ways to skin the lens choice cat. I could probably manage with just teh 20mm and the super-zoom. Or go retro with my four prime dream team. Or...

In the final analysis it's the way you look for pictures that matter more than the lenses you point at things.

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