Thursday, October 25, 2012
I went for a hike last weekend around these parts. Some snow fell. It was lovely.
This was along the Gold Creek trail, which heads out from the Gold Creek Pond picnic area. The Gold Creek Pond picnic area is somewhat interesting because it as formerly a gravel pit – it’s where a lot of the raw material to build I-90 over Snoqualmie pass came from. But they turned it into a little natural area after they were done with it, so it’s a nice little spot. There’s some fantastic fall color up around there now, so today was a perfect chance to go check that out, and see some snow (which was fully expected) as well.
There’s a few reasons this image is mildly interesting. I’ll do my best to iterate them all.
First, this was a pretty long exposure. I couldn’t find my tripod (or more specifically, I couldn’t find the *mounting plate* for my tripod) so I ended up just bringing my gorilla pod with me. That works, except that then you’re limited to things close to the ground. So it wasn’t as useful as I had originally hoped. But, occasionally I could find stuff to put it on, to get some decent views. The real reason I’m mentioning the long exposure as a mildly interesting point is that it was actively snowing (pretty hard actually) at the time. So fast exposures would have lots of big fat fluffy flakes in them, and this image had a long of vertical snow trails visible. I did a little bit of post-processing on this one (mostly just brightness/contrast) which was enough to fade a lot of them into obscurity, but if you look at the full-size image, you can definitely still see them there. I’m not sure how I feel about those – on one hand they’re kind of distracting. But on the other, they do kind of set the mood, as it was indeed snowing.
Secondly, I just recently (after the somewhat-debacle that my Colorado trip turned out to be, what with the focus issues and such) upgraded my camera body! I had my eye on either a 7D or perhaps a full-frame sensor, but the former hasn’t been refreshed in a loooong time and the latter would be way too much of an investment for me right now – given that it would mean upgrading all of my lenses as well.) So I went with the T4i – and so far I’m pleased with it – the high ISO performance (even coming from a somewhat-recent T1i) is really striking! So this is the first photo I’m posting that was shot with the new body.
Third, I ended up getting a new lens as well. If you’ll remember, I’ve recently been expressing some frustration with my Tamron 17-50, particularly in regards to edge/corner softness. They had a used 17-40 L-series at the camera shop, so I jumped on it. I was 95% sure I was going to return it, but as I was doing some simple photo tests around my house with that and my 17-50, the issues with the 17-50 became painfully apparent. So, I brought the 17-40 with me today, and I’m quite happy with the results. At the same time, I packaged up my 17-50 and sent it in for warranty repair, to see if they’d find anything wrong with it. They did, it turns out, and I’m currently waiting to get it back. So, once that arrives, I’m super curious to see what the results of further testing are – will I be able to tell the difference between that and the 17-40 L? If so, I think I’m still inside the window where I can bring the 17-40 back – I’m not expecting the Tamron to be significantly (or even noticeably) *better*, but it would certainly be *cheaper* to keep the one I’ve got, and get the hundreds of dollars back that I spent on the L. We’ll see. But it’s of course a very frustrating time for me – thinking back on all of the images that are ruined (in many cases) or at the very least degraded due to the issues with that lens. Like, a large number of the pictures that I got in Colorado – many of which aren’t usable at all. SO. DAMN. FRUSTRATING. Oh well, now I know, and now I can move forward. So… is the Canon 17-40mm F/4.0 L a *better* lens than the Tamron 17-50 F/2.8? Unclear. Is it a nice lens? Absolutely. Would I recommend it as a good choice to somebody that doesn’t already have a solid lens in that range? Without question.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T4i, Canon 17/40mm F/4.0L lens. 1s, f/16.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 27mm.