Category: Landscapes

Nikkor 35mm F2 AF D…

The-Road-from-Imladris

I would say that 50% of the time I wanted to take a landscape shot in NZ on my recent trip to the South Island, I wished I’d had a 35mm lens to shoot the scene rather than the 50mm or the 14 – 24mm lenses I had with me at the time. Not because they weren’t great lenses, simply because I felt that the 35mm was a better choice for what I was trying to capture. I made do, and I did come back with some fantastic shots. But I decided that such thoughts had shown me a gap in my lens range that needed to be addressed.

Hence yesterday I took delivery of a Nikkor 35mm F2 AF D. There is a G version of the lens, but it’s considerably more bulky for the slight increase in sharpness and image quality. Not enough in my opinion to warrant the extra expense when size and weight is a far more critical element to me for this choice. Yes it’s an older lens design, but still relevant and reviews very well. Simplicity is often the best answer. There are just some lenses that don’t really need that much improvement, and sometimes that improvement comes at a cost that discounts some or all of the benefits of the previous design.

Like my Nikkor 50mm F1.4 AF D I need something that is easy to slip in the pocket, doesn’t take up much room, and prefer it to use the same size filters (52mm) as the 50mm F1.4 or the 50mm 1.8 lenses.

I’ve yet to give it a good test yet, but hopefully over the next couple of evenings I’ll take it for a walk and try it out. Otherwise I guess it will be getting tested on the weekend.


Back from the Land of the Long White Cloud…

Waterfall-at-the-Gates-of-Haast-NZ-South-Island

I have been back a week now, and starting to get some of the stock organised from the New Zealand (South Island) Junket. I had a fantastic time, and managed to improve my skill set immensely as well as come back with some beautiful memories and shots. I’d really love to get back there soon, and possibly move there in the future. It seems to be one of the last paradises left.

I was somewhat disappointed from the wildlife point of view, but I guess that’s because I aimed to see so much that I didn’t allow myself the luxury of the time necessary to just sit and wait for the local fauna to begin to ignore me and get on with normal activities. Somehow I lost sight of that in the euphoria of making the trip happen. Still, I met some great people, managed to generate a bit of free publicity for my business internationally, hopefully it’s generating further interest when each of those I chatted to gets home themselves. Best of all I enjoyed a magnificent country with a population working quite hard to live in an environmentally sustainable manner, with an environmental, economic and social focus. Fantastic to see in action.

Overall, I’d say there was not much I could have done to improve this trip being my first overseas working photography trip. As I said, unintentionally I think I prioritised scenery and flora over wildlife, but then on reflection I’m not sure in this instance I could have done it any other way now. I would need to have that focus purely for the trip I think as so much of the wildlife is birds, which requires quite a bit of waiting at times.

One of the other glaring gaps in my planning for the trip was the lack of a 35mm Lens. I can see that because I wasn’t originally planning to be doing so much landscape when I was organising the trip originally. Certainly I was planning on seeing the landscape, but hadn’t consciously realised I’d be shooting that above everything else. Still lessons learned, and still plenty of stock. And certainly I could do with more landscape stock. Still on landscape, I was very happy with my filter work (see featured shot above). I believe I’ve improved that significantly on the trip, and also found that I can achieve similar results with my AF-S NIKKOR 14-24MM F/2.8G ED (1.7X) without a filter with a bit of patience. Great considering a special adapter is required to use filters on such a lens. And it gives me great results such as this one below.

Barrow Downs 2

 

Although both the images in this post required a tripod, I did do far more handheld over the course of the trip, and also felt that my ability to shoot handheld in difficult circumstances improved significantly as too did my ingenuity for when I didn’t have a tripod but needed some extra stability.


Mystical Moments in the Mountains…

Barrow-Downs

Driving along the Road between Westport & Murchison (South Island of NZ), I was compelled to pull over by the wonderful mist that was beginning to hang in the River Valley beside which wound the road. After enjoying an warm cup of soup & crackers while shooting the initial stop by the river, I drove but a little further and once again was stopped by this opportunity.

I couldn’t help but think of the Barrow Downs out of the first book of the Lord of the Rings.


The Essence of Change…

Well I’m in my last Seven Days here in New Zealand, and feeling like I’m running to of time. I’ve actually managed to achieve the bulk of what was on my list to get done while I was over here this time, but I have missed some of the Optionals, and one of my Non-Optionals. Stewart Island will have to wait for another time I’m afraid. Weather wasn’t that good for the day that I was going to try and do it, so I decided the money could be spent elsewhere this time.

Until I get back, the featured aperitif


Weathering the Storm…

Lightning-from-Hill-overlooking-Sebastopol

I took the opportunity of the first decent storm in months to get out and take a few shots of lightning. It’s my first attempt at getting out and shooting in a storm, in particular chasing the Lightning Shots. Also given it was midnight, things were a bit smash and grab as far as gear and location. I grabbed the D600 with the 50mm F1.4 & the Nikon 14-24mm F2.8. I also grabbed a hand release and my MIOPS Trigger hoping I might get a chance to use it for the first time with Lightning too.

So off I drove to the closest vantage point I thought was high but with plenty of other choices for Lightning to strike other than myself! As it turns out, where I parked on the side of the road happened to be unfortunate orientation: over the course of the storm most of the lightning was to the sides of me. However I managed to get 1 out of the 30 shots that worked for me. But to be fair it was my first attempt at this subject matter.

I thought I was stuck not being able to use my MIOPS as I thought I’d not bought the extra cable for the connection for the D600 (it’s different than the D810). As it turned out later when I got back home I realised that the remote release I had been using had a detachable cord with the right connection! Anyway, lesson learned for next time: spend more time with some gear in relaxed conditions. Still shooting in Bulb mode, with the remote release I felt I started to have a good feel for the right way to shoot it near the end of 30 odd shots. I’m looking forward to the next Storm when I will be more prepared.


Trips being Planned…

I’ve been putting together some plans for the next few trips to do some shooting.

Mallacoota
Located on the far east “point” of Victoria, it’s about as far on road as you can go in this State. This seems like to be comprised of two components: a short 4 day trip to scout about and the second part a week long trip staying on a hired Houseboat with a friend. There are apparently plenty of jetties to tie up to at different points about the river & inlet.

Grampians
It doesn’t matter where in the Grampians you go, there’s nothing but awesome scenery to shoot, along with beautiful wildflowers and in particular Orchids.

Otways
Located in the south of Victoria, there is some absolutely amazing Forest & Wildlife to be seen. In particular I’m looking forward to walking out to Sabine Waterfall. It’s an hour’s walk from the road, but approximately 130 metres high, so should be a treat! Apparently there’s a Black Carnivorous Snail that’s rare, apparently endangered, but a real treat if you get to shoot one.

Werribee Gorge
Apparently this is a area abounding with great scenery & walks for all skill levels. Walks go from the easy right through to tough!


Free and Easy Down the Road…

Trent-ham-Falls-early-Autumn

A trip to Woodend and back with just the idea of a relaxing drive and shoot anything that happened to interest was the only goal Stefan & I had while having a day of chilling out on the road and chatting. A slip into Trentham Falls was wonderful however I gather from some others that it normally has more water running down it. Yet another sign that we’re still not far out of drought if at all! An amusing moment was watching another visitor to the area taking her Furbag for a walk on a lead and watching it play with the water. Unfortunately I couldn’t get quite enough light in to get a good shot of them.


There’s Days You Do and Days You Don’t…

A day of returning to previously scoped sites and scoping and new sites. Some of Sunday, and some of Monday was spent following up previous leads, and generating new ones. Not sure I managed to catch a definitive shot on either day for the sites concerned, but getting back home and reflecting on the shots has generated some new ideas for some future shots in both these locations and potentially future locations, by virtue of any similarities. So a learning lesson. And as long as I walk away with that, I’ve walked away with something, and the shot will come later at a future instant!

I’ll need to go back to Dean for another couple of shots, now that I’ve been provided some interesting information about one of the tumbled down buildings there. I’d hoped to get some interesting wildlife shots from the Gong Gong reservoir, but clearly it’s too dry there for what I was looking for, and perhaps just a bit late in the day for the birds, and other retiring wildlife.


Just a Drive in the Rain…

I’d intended to take a drive to check out a track in the Bungal Forest recommended in “150 Walks in Victoria”, but decided the day was a bit too wet to go further on in there. So I settled for a reconnoitre for a future visit and a drive about the area looking for some shots.

Most of the afternoon the rain was a bit too heavy for me to pull out the gear, although I got a few shots out the window. However it did ease off enough at a couple of stages for me to take a few shots. Most won’t make the grade in the end, but I did like the Hayshed in the accompanying image for this post.

I also have some spots picked for the return drive another weekend.