Tuesday, June 29, 2010
So as long as we’re on a Jamaican kick, I may as well keep it going. This is yet another shot that I got when I was in Jamaica earlier this year. This is a hibiscus flower. Or, this is *an* hibiscus flower. Normally, I tend to be one of those obnoxious folks that’s always snarkily pointing out glaring grammatical flaws. (My two personal favorites are using an apostrophe to pluralize a word (using apostrophe’s to pluralize your word’s), and using “less” instead of “fewer”. God I hate that.) But, in this particular case, I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean, I KNOW that you’re supposed to use “an” with words that start with h. But I just don’t buy it. It doesn’t feel natural. H is a consonant. It sounds like a consonant (most of the time, anyway). So why should we treat it like a vowel. Grrr, it eats me up inside.
Anyway, right, hibiscus. Cool, right? Yeah. I took this one with my ordinary walk-around lens (Tamron 17-50), but I used a cheap set of diopters aka macro lenses aka “a macro kit”. Basically, a couple little magnifying lenses that you screw on the end of your lens like a filter, that magnify the subject and let you focus closer. They’re a great way to dip your feet into macro photography, because they’re cheap. I mean, sure, if you’re a Canon purist, you can of course find a way to spend hundreds of dollars on one. But you don’t HAVE to, you can get an off brand (I have a set from Hoya and a set from Opteka. Different sizes, to fit different lenses, that’s why I have two) and only spend 20 or 30 bucks. I read a blog once from a guy that spent WEEKS researching which way to go, and eventually he decided to get the cheap ones, and he was just AMAZINGLY disappointed. He actually went so far to include the words “BIG MISTAKE” in his blog post. Yeah, that’s total crap. They’re not that bad. And besides, you spent 20 bucks on the goddamn things, how big of a mistake could it have really been? For things that are cheap like that, there’s no reason NOT to try them out. Sure, they may not be fantastic, but you may be surprised, and regardless, you’re only out like 20 bucks. Personally, I’m pretty happy with the cheapie cheaps. Sure, they’ve got their limitations, but as long as you realize that, you can work with it, and you can do some cool stuff.
Okay, rant over. Sorry I missed yesterday. I may also miss tomorrow, just sayin’.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens with Opteka macro kit. 1/1000s, f/4.5, ISO 200. Focal length: 30mm.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Yeah, I know, I know, I promised either a baby ostrich or a barbed wire fence today. Or at least something keeping with the theme of using only crappy and/or weird pictures this week while “nobody was around to read the blog”. Well, I couldn’t do it today. Because, you see, this is the last post until sometime next week. Which means, all of the random folks that land on this page between now and then will see *today’s* post as their first and most likely *only* impression of me. So I had to make it a good one, right? Don’t worry, you’ll get to see at least one of the mediocre pictures that you want next week.
Today’s shot is another one taken with a macro kit, basically a set of magnifying glass type things that you screw onto the front of your lens. But this was a somewhat different set up than you’ve seen before, because this was taken with a lens that I bought at the end of the summer, a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, and because it takes a different size of filter than the lens I formerly used with my macro kit, a brand new macro kit. But it’s the same idea.
The macro kits do work as advertised, allowing you to focus more closely and get further in than you would be able to otherwise. But they can also add sort of a hazy, dreamy feel to the pictures (particularly at the far end of your zoom), which may or may not help the picture. This picture is a perfect example. It looks like it’s been extensively photoshopped, but in reality I only did minimal post-processing on it. If I had the original handy, I’d post it here as well so you could see. Perhaps I’ll do that later. Definitely a great toy to play around with, and it can definitely get you some really interesting images that you wouldn’t get otherwise. But it’s also definitely not something you want to keep on your lens all the time.
Okay, that’s it for this week. Have a great holiday if you’re in to that sort of thing!
Monday, September 28, 2009
I mentioned that I had a whole bunch of these, right? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding, really.
Actually, to be perfectly straight with you, I didn’t have this one until this weekend, it was not a part of the previous pile. I just added to it a bit. In the interim, I actually made a couple more changes to my equipment. I went ahead and made a decision on my overall lens strategy. You of course all remember that for the past couple of years, I’ve been exclusively using a Tamron 28-300 (actually, two Tamron 28-300’s, one without image stabilization, then later, one with – Amazon links here: http://bit.ly/vuRVr , http://bit.ly/vShrg ), but earlier this year I decided that using a super-zoom meant I was making some sacrifices in image quality. That sent me on a quest to figure out what lenses I really wanted to use moving forward.
First, I filled out the wide-angle part of the range. I rented a Canon 10-22 (Amazon: http://bit.ly/1GhCtc ) just to make sure I wanted one, then I picked up a Tokina 11-16 based on the recommendations of the guys at the camera shop. (Amazon: http://bit.ly/166NGM ). But that still left me with the meat of the problem: what to do about the mid range, where, let’s be honest, most of us take most of our pictures. My lens budget was already running a bit thin (okay, it was way past thin), so I figured this one would be a challenge. But it turns out Tamron makes a couple great lenses to fill that need, a 17-50, and a 28-75 (Amazon: http://bit.ly/z7D8t ) that I ended up going with. So far I’m really happy with it, and it’s actually more versatile that I was expecting. (I was expecting that I would constantly find myself wanting to swap out to my old 70-300 mm telephoto that I’ve sadly had to start carrying to fill out the range, but I’ve found that the 75mm end gets me just far enough in that I don’t really feel the need for more except in rare circumstances.)
Today’s picture was actually taken with that lens, paired with an Opteka macro kit, which is the same thing as the Hoya macro kit that I’ve been talking about for awhile now, except a different size, to fit the new lens. Good stuff all around.
By the way, I keep posting those Amazon links because if you actually use them and then buy something (I don’t think it even has to be the thing you clicked through to), I get 4%, which as I mentioned awhile back, is only 96% away from being totally sweet. So far none of you have bought anything, but I’m still holding out hope.
That’s it! Enjoy the crazy fall weather that seems to be rolling in everywhere!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens w/ Opteka Macro Kit. 1/500s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 75mm.