This summer, I have searched for some local photo-friendly spots that I can use to test out lenses and other gear. There are local parks, trails, and the like in North Chicago, but little to nothing that compares to the sprawling metropolis/park areas I saw on the daily in Japan. Some of the smaller areas and bike trails are great for getting out for an afternoon of fresh air, but they don’t offer much in the way of a bonafide picturesque and scenic location. Thankfully, I did not have to search too far to come across the excellent Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL. Housing 27 separate gardens and four nature areas on 385 acres of land, the “living museum” has so many great places to make some great photographs. As it should be no surprise to some of my readers, I’m very excited they house an extensive bonsai collection as well as a well-manicured Japanese-style garden (that I plan to visit on my next trip!). In a summer filled with Navy Weeks and other projects, here’s a few photos made during a day trip to help keep my photographic chops sharp.
Well…I’m finally doing it. After years of owning this 11-pound tank of a telephoto, it’s time to put together a review of “Big Papa”. I’ve shot with the lens for events and wildlife sparingly, in my time in Japan I couldn’t just drive anywhere with this optic in tow. All my photowalks consisted of train rides and lots…and lots…of walking. Now that I’m finally back in the States, and I have a high-performance full-frame camera to test on, I have the opportunity to really get out there with the lens and try some more wildlife shots, and perhaps some sports/events if I get the chance. Thankfully I do have at least a few shots over the years that will easily find their place in the review if needed. Continue Reading
After a full day of wandering around central Seoul, I was still pretty excited to get out and do it all over again the next day to see what else I could find. After all, in the megacity of Seoul you can just pick a direction to walk and eventually stumble across some cool sights! Being our last day, however, I headed out with a friend to hit as much as possible with the help of Seoul’s (incredibly cheap) metro. Continue Reading
Now that all the pleasantries are out of the way from finally hitting 1,000,000 views on the site, it’s back to quickly catching up with my most recent international trip to South Korea! Part one of my travels saw me more in the countryside of South Korea, exploring some cool spots in Gyeryongsan National Park. Just a few days later, however, our group finished our performance with the Republic of Korea Navy Band and we had a whole two days to relax and see the sights of downtown Seoul! Last year, free time was essentially non-existent, so I pretty much didn’t know what to do with myself with so much opportunity to explore. Continue Reading
Not so hot-on-the-heels of my last post over a month-and-a-half ago, here I am making some time to address my blatant inactivity on the site. As it turns out, student teaching and photography don’t happen to mix very well. My particular placement and accompanying assignments give me next to zero free time for anything else. Seeing as the essentials—sleep, eating, and physical activity—take up the majority of that time, finding a slot to simply “go out” and make photographs is a near impossibility. This busyness has also forced me to cancel my anticipated pre-order of the new Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS, a popular lens that I would have loved to review. That’s the bad news.
However, every now and then I still take photography assignments from my university for sports and other campus events. This, at the very least, helps keep my shutter finger trained and my manual-focus skills honed. Per the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, my student teaching will go only until this end of this calendar year. So in theory, next year I will be able to get back to my usual updating with photo-walks and all manner of lens reviews for you loyal readers to enjoy (many thanks for the recent subscriptions despite my absence). That’s the good news.
In…other news…if you have been living under a rock for the past couple months, there’s been a lot of buzz around the near-future of Sony’s E-mount. Some rumors are claiming Sony to introduce a whopping three E-mount cameras, all with a full-frame 35mm sensor! One is a supposed “NEX-9”—a camera I’ve dreamed about ever since the first time I shot with my beloved NEX-7—while another may be an ILC-9 or a9000 (a full-frame version of the already available a3000). Since that one will be relatively bulky with its pointless DSLR shape, it appeals less to me (well, the added grip of that shape gives it some relevance). Regardless, come mid-October, Sony has the very real chance of taking the mirrorless photography world by storm, and I’ll be watching avidly for pre-orders. 😉
Now, time for some photographs, right? Over the past year, I’ve taken part in my own Project 52, submitting one quality photograph for every week of the year under a supplied theme. My “supervisor” for the project is a local photography group that I’ve joined on Meetup.com, and the ability to see multiple other photographers’ work as the project progressed made the entire process more enjoyable.
All the following (52 in all, so yes, there’s quite a bit of scrolling ahead) photographs below are downsized to a web-friendly 2000×1333 ratio or similar to keep the site’s bandwidth from filling up. Most here are captured with the NEX-7, though a few captured with other cameras found their way into the project. A good number of these photographs have been featured elsewhere on my website in lens reviews or other photographic posts. Also, all photographs are in the ProPhotoRGB colorspace to get correct yellow saturation levels, so depending on your browser and viewing device (I recommend Google Chrome on a desktop computer), these photographs may have odd saturation levels on your screen.
If anyone in the continental US was interested in purchasing my Series-E zoom lenses that I have extensively reviewed, I now have listed all three on eBay. This is the site that I have done literally all of my used lens transactions, both buying and selling. I have yet to run into any real problems, as the buyer protection policy is superb for deterring scammers. I enjoyed all three lenses in varying degrees, but the two telephoto zooms in particular were optically superb. The only reason I’m selling the entire set is that I am a prime guy, and have faster prime lenses that cover all these focal lengths. Here are some links if interested:
Nikon 36-72mm f/3.5 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Nikon 70-210mm f/4 Series-E (Review)– (UPDATE: SOLD)
Have a great week guys and gals, looking forward to writing my weekend update already. 🙂
Just a quick update post, I have added the three zooms to the page detailing the general strengths and weaknesses of the entire 8-lens Series-E lineup by Nikon. The 6-month journey of photographing with these lenses, beginning with the 50mm f/1.8, has been a great exercise in technical lens reviewing and photographic artistry. All journeys have to come to an end, however, and this one is no different. One of the questions I have been asked on multiple occasions is “what lenses are YOU going to keep?” To be blunt and simple, the 50mm f/1.8 is the only Series-E I will hold on to and still use. The tiny nifty 50 is still the best example of a lens meeting my 4 “shootability” pillars in a legacy lens. Though most of the Series-E’s are optically great, their focal range overlaps with all of my primes that I enjoy using. Despite going through the review process of three zooms, I STILL couldn’t shake my prime-shooting habits. Zooms always stayed either at the wide or telephoto end, myself “zooming” with my feet to get the composition I wanted. So it stands, the other four primes have long been sold, and the remaining three zooms will find their way to eBay soon enough. 🙂
That’s all for this post guys and gals, thanks for dropping by!