To make a long story short, I am in a bittersweet mood about my NEX-7 finally being back in my hands. I’m happy I finally have a “real” camera again, but am a little disappointed that A)The sensor cleaning function still doesn’t seem to work and B)The rear LCD turned out to be peeling when I took the plastic off (when I sent it in, the rear LCD was immaculate). I believe Sony has sent me a refurbished NEX-7, instead of my own camera. Not too keen on getting back a camera in worse shape than when I sent it in for repair, so I’ll be contacting them this week to see what the deal is.
But in the meantime, I’ve been busy! I photographed everything from tiny flowers to the sky this past week and managed to shake off my “camera blues” from not having my NEX-7 for over three weeks.
First up, I learned a little bit more about light painting in my photography class. Though I feel this genre is overdone and cliqué in many ways, I tried to be as original as possible for my assignment. In class, none of us had our tripods, so we took this one handheld—at different angles—of our teacher:
I wasn’t too pleased with it, as the background is obviously not blacked out like most examples of light painting show (we popped a flash at the beginning of the exposure, so this didn’t help!). So, in the controlled area of an impromptu studio in my room, I used my 105mm f/2.8 Micro AI-s on a tripod to get these examples:
A few more with that 105mm micro, one of the students on campus displayed some impromptu art by pinning multiple origami swans onto a tree. Not too sure how the tree felt about that.
I also found a lowly Halyomorpha halys, commonly known as the brown marmorated stink bug, crawling around some dishes at night near a window (undoubtedly where he got in). Luckily due to the cold he didn’t move around too much, and I was able to stop down for a long exposure—I have yet to purchase a ring flash, unfortunately:
Wanting to go for a “floating” effect, I symmetrically placed three gumballs (from a sweetgum tree, naturally, hehe) on top of a glass table and overexposed the background to white. I always love seeing the detail in this spiked fruit. I wouldn’t recommend ever eating one, though!
It was an active week for sports as well, as I shot a little bit of a softball game and most of a lacrosse game. Spring sports are really kicking off, and the next month-and-a-half are going to be very sports-heavy for me. Taken with either the 180mm f/2.8 AI-s ED or 300mm f/2.8 AI-s ED:
Thanks to the much bigger viewfinder and focus-peaking ability of the NEX-7, I got a substantially larger number of keepers than when I shot lacrosse with the d300 last time.
Now for something completely different. There’s a large tree right outside my window with a squirrel nest. I’ve seen as many as five of the little guys come out at any given time, but they are usually moving too fast for me to take anything (let alone to give me enough time to haul my 300mm f/2.8 onto a tripod!). However, I had the unique chance yesterday to see two of them merely sitting out in the sun warming themselves. I quickly got my set-up ready and knew I was going to have crop substantially. This meant staying at ISO 100 and f/5.6 (the lens’ optimum aperture), which translates to very slow shutter speeds. Multiple fires of the remote later, I came up with a fun little progression, and realized just how sharp this super-telephoto can really be:
Also, I still do use the excellent 35mm f/1.8 OSS when the situation calls for it (remember, I’m usually a telephoto guy). I got this snap of a rather hazy but interesting sky and added a lot of clarity in LR4 to give the clouds more texture:
For a grand finale of sorts, I return to the 105mm Micro. I managed to get some test shots over the weekend to get a better idea of how “technically” good the lens is so I can be at least one step closer to writing its review. Let me tell you, this lens is easily the sharpest lens I have ever used (especially at and around optimum). The only time it won’t out-resolve your sensor is if you mis-focus—which, in macro, can easily happen with the slightest of camera position changes. This lens also exhibits absolutely ZERO field curvature, and is truly sharp corner-to-corner. This means that it is perfectly suited to panorama work, in which I’ll be using it over the next week or so for a project on street murals (essentially, legal graffiti). Below is a downsized-version (about 1000×5000) of a 65-megapixel panorama. I used Photoshop CS6 to merge the frames, and I tried using the patch tool to edit out the pole on the right. However, when it tried editing out areas where the painting became more complex, weird artifacts were introduced that were obvious. So, I left it in for a bit of size context, this thing is big!
That’s all for this big update, guys and gals. Thanks for dropping by! No promises on when the 105mm Micro review will get here, but I can tell you I’m getting closer with every shot I take with it.