Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary

Dreaming of a new lens

It is a amazing how a month flies by so quickly. I don’t even remember all the things that happened and why in the world I only have one post for February – bad me. However, I think it is about time I sat down and got back to some serious blogging.

So what have I been up to? I have been in the market for my first prime lens. I have been looking for a standard 50mm lens with either a 1.4f or 1.8f. Why you may add would someone be using for a prime lens? Have you completely lost touch with the world of the zoom lens and all the pleasures that gives? Absolutely not! But, for taking shots indoors nothing beats a fast prime with a wide aperture.

I have been checking around locally in the Syracuse area but most shops I have visited only seem to stock the 1.8f lens. I would have loved to do a comparison because all reviews I have read online recommend getting the 1.4f for one main reason. Most lenses are soft when they are open at their widest and get progressively sharper as one stops down. This the best photos for a 1.4f is really at 1.8 and the for the 1.8f it is 2f. So, if you want to shoot at 1.8f, it makes sense to get the 1.4f because your images will be as sharp as a tack in the places it needs to with that lens. I have certainly tried out the lens and taken some test shots with it. The one below is a shot I took at 1.8f, in one of the camera shops I visited and my impressions.

“Dribble, dribble. Yummy, creamy bokeh. Dribble, dribble some more!”

On close examination of the image I did notice that there was a bit of color fringing and a bit of noise in the sharp areas after sharpening was applied. I guess there is some truth to the statement of a lens being a bit soft at its widest aperture.

So why even consider a fast prime lens? Well I have been considering getting some personal projects taken care of which involves some indoor photography, thus my interest in a fast lens. I would love to hear some input on the 1.4f.

New York, New York

Last weekend I took a trip to New York City, a first for me and one heck of an experience. It was a four and a half hour road trip with some friends that took us from Syracuse, down to Pennsylvania and up through New Jersey and into New York. I didn’t get to take any photos on the way but I was steering out the window like a primary school student when we drove across one of the many bridges which links Manhattan to the many boroughs which surround it.  To say the least, I was excited with anticipation.

The first day in was too exhausting to take any photos but I got some opportunity to take some during my second and third day there. The photos below are just a few that I took from the trip.

Brooklyn Bridge Entrance
Brooklyn Bridge Entrance

Brooklyn Bridge Entrance:
To the left we have the Brooklyn bridge. It is one of two major bridges in the south of the island of Manhattan which links the island to the borrow of Brooklyn. It is also the closest bridge to the Statue of Liberty. Now I did get a fairly good shot of the statue, But, I was roaming around with my 18-55 mm nikkor which by all standards is far better designed for street photography than telephoto shots.   Here a couple pause for a moment to review the shots of the bridge which they took.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun Flare on the Bridge
Sun Flare on the Bridge

Sun Flare on the Bridge:
Here is another shot while crossing under one of the many main pillars which support the suspension cables of the bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset on Manhattan
Sunset on Manhattan

Sunset on Manhattan:
This is one shot which simply captured my fancy from the time I shot it. It was a sunset which was begging to develop on the horizon of Manhattan and the golden rays were dispersed through the sky creating this lovely glow. Just capturing that scene put me in the best of moods in spite of the windy weather atop the Empire State Building, and boy was it ever windy.

 

 

 

 

 

Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Centre:
The world famous Rockefeller Centre on 50th Street. Surrounded by flags representing the different nations of the world is the ice rink and the statue for Rockefeller Centre which holds carvings of the different zodiac signs. I have no idea whether Rockefeller was a superstitious man but I found that rather interesting. It was also welcoming to see my home country’s flag – Dominica – being represent there.

 

 

 

 

 

The Charging Bull
The Charging Bull

The Charging Bull:
No trip to NYC can be complete without at least one shot of the famous/infamous charging bull of wall street. The symbol of American Capitalism and also the symbol of the trading centre which cause an economic global chain reaction. Thankfully the stock market was up when I visited.

Although I have more posts I think I will stop there. My intention was not really to show all of NY but some of the places I visited. There are some places that I visited which are still undocumented in photos and some which are not so picturesque. But these represent some of the major highlights of my weekend to the Big Apple – New York, New York.

Blogging on the Go

I have recently discovered the WordPress app for the iPhone/iPod and realized that my location no longer dictates where
I blog. I don’t have to lug around my laptop nor do I have to look specifically for an internet ready location equipped with desktop. Instead, armed with my iPod and the deviously clever but persistently buggy wordpress app, I will be able to share ideas related to photography while on location.

It is certainly convenient and gives me an opportunity to blog when it is needed the most, when I am inspired.

March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Last year, I spent about 3 months studying the styles and techniques of various other photographers  whose work I came across online. My objective was to enrich my knowledge of photography, and in so doing develop my own style. What I achieved was further from my goal than I would have desired.

In the three months of learning on how to improve things like tonality in my black and white photographs and developing a better understanding of my editing software, my photography prints improved – visually. Indeed they were more eye catching and stunning but slowly I noticed that my photography did not look anything like what I had started off with.  These improvements on my photography did more than improve they radically changed it to the point it was unrecognisable. Sure, they had this great magazine appeal but I didn’t feel the  deep, emotional, timeless connection to them any more.  My photographs were no longer my own.  Instead, they were those of the authors who had mastered those techniques I had picked up along the way. I had become a human photocopier. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it is bad to learn the styles of other photographers; I am saying it is bad when you don’t move past that and make elements of the style your own – i.e. change it so that the photograph expresses your vision.

After going through that funk for three months I saw an anime series where one of the characters was an artist. Whenever she did a piece she went almost into a trance. She was in her own zone – “Listening to the beat of her own drum.” Suddenly, I realized what I had forgotten. I had completely pushed a side the very essence of my style of photography. I had forgotten to listen to that little voice inside of me that drew me to a scene.

So here is a little tip for the New Year’s resolution. March to the beat of your own drum.