September 9, 2009 – Loveland Pass Lake

Loveland Pass Lake

Loveland Pass Lake

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey everyone! I’m back from my short vacation, which means that you get more pictures. Most of my trip was spent showing off the baby to my parents, but we did get out a couple times for some really quick hikes. All in all, I learned two things on my trip: 1) my wide angle lens is fantastic (with one major glaring caveat), and 2) my other lens, which up until recently was the single lens I used for 100% of my pictures, is total crap. (Sigh)

The new lens (a Tokina 11-16 mm), is super sharp, has a delicious super-wide field of view, and, perhaps most importantly, is an f2.8 throughout the range, meaning you can open it super wide, and get great handheld shots even in pretty dark conditions. (Couple that with the fact that wide angle lenses in general tend to have SUPER wide depths of field, and you can see why I’m so excited about this.) I played around with it a lot this last week in lots of different conditions, and while there are definitely shots you can’t get with it (focusing in on distant detail, or taking portraits), it’s actually quite surprisingly versatile. Only rarely did I take it off to swap to my other lens (a Tamron 28-300), and I was never really satisfied with the results when I did. It’s just so much easier to get a great shot with the Tokina, and the Tamron only seems to get the focus right some of the time, so you get a lot of shots that look great on the camera’s screen, but when you look at them full size, it’s all a blur.

This particular picture is of a little alpine lake near Loveland Pass, in Summit County. (Right near Arapahoe Basin ski area.) I failed to find its name after a few minutes of Googling, so we’ll all just have to deal with calling it “Loveland Pass Lake”. The whole time we were up there, there were little clouds passing overhead, so if you looked at the same view 3 times in 10 minutes, it’d be different each time, because different parts would be in the sun and in the shade. Kind of cool. Also, a lot of the little scrubby plants were changing color for the fall, so the hillsides looked like they had been dabbed with paintbrushes, it was really nice.

Now, you heard me mention that there’s a caveat about this lens. So it turns out there’s a ring of fuzziness, right in the middle of the frame. You can’t see it when the picture is reduced to web-size, I’ve only been able to really notice it at the original resolution. But the ring’s diameter is just about the size of that thin horizontal set of bushes on the far shore. It’s maddening, and I’m not quite sure what to do about it yet. I’m probably going to make a couple example images with the fuzziness circled so I can show the shop where I bought the lens. This is almost certainly something that I’ll have to send back for warranty repair, but I don’t want to wait 2 months to get the lens back, since the fall is when I’m planning to get out hiking as much as possible. There’s a small chance the shop will be willing to just exchange it, but I’m not sure I have the energy for that fight. Plus, I’d still have to mail it both ways, since my local shop was sold out and I had to buy it online. (I bought it through a third-party seller on Amazon.) I probably won’t bother keeping you guys updated with what I decide to do.

I got plenty of great shots on the trip (with the exception of the ring of fuzziness – sigh), so you’ll probably see them appearing as the picture of the day here and there for awhile to come. But probably not tomorrow. This one just happened to be on top of the pile when I downloaded the pics from my camera last night, so it’ll be a long time until I can properly go through them all.


Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16 mm lens. 1/200s, f/10.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 11mm.

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