To say that there is a lot to do and see in Japan is a gross understatement. After living in this country for six months now, I am still surprised at how many fun sights and sounds there are to visit within a nation only slightly smaller than California. Even locally, I have the awesome opportunity to be an hour’s train ride from Tokyo, the megacity with near-countless things to do for everyone. Continue Reading
As I have mentioned a couple times in previous posts, one of the biggest perks I was looking forward to experiencing in the Navy was the chance to visit other countries on assignment in addition to thoroughly exploring Japan in my free time. Well, after last week, I now can double the countries I have set foot in!…(yes, that leaves just the U.S. and Japan as the others…) Continue Reading
Well hello there, what a long time it’s been since I’ve written to all you awesome readers! Last time I checked in, I was already on my way to basic training to join the United States Navy. Fast forward nine months, and I’ve found myself stationed smack dab in the middle of any photographer’s/tech geek’s heaven, Japan! I couldn’t have been more excited to actually live in another country, in all its 14-hour time jet-lagged glory. Finally, I can experience a whole different society, culture, and region that is farther than I could have every hoped to travel to in the U.S.
Though I will not turn this post into a traveler’s experience, I will say I love it here in Japan so far. The food is always great, the people are ridiculously nice and amiable, the weather is mild, and there are an infinite amount of possibilities to spend my free time amid a language I…unfortunately…am still far off from understanding. Oh, and the technology, Japan has lots of that too, which brings me back to the post at hand. There’s a lot to get through, from the guns-blazing Sony GM lineup, to compact primes, to the ridiculous ZY 135mm f/1.4, so grab a seat and let’s all geek out over photography gear after the jump! Continue Reading
Just like last week’s installment of my 2014 Project 52, I am working one bit at a time towards getting this past summer’s photographs organized and uploaded. On one weekend in-between a three-week sports camp photography gig, my family and I traveled only a few hours north to the small town of Nashville, IN just for the sake of going.
Nestled in the southern portion of Indiana, downtown Nashville is full of dozens upon dozens of artisan shops, stores, and eateries. Surrounded by trees and gardens, each block of the town looks something akin to this:
Last weekend I got the chance to tag along for a short 2.5-day road trip from Kentucky to Oklahoma and back. Though I knew there wouldn’t be a wealth of time for photography, I decided to bring my entire kit with camera, lenses, chargers, and everything else I might need should something break along the way. Though it all filled up the backseats of the car, a lot of my gear saw use, so there’s something to be said for over-prepared-ness.🙂
Photo ops only began after arriving in Oklahoma—a time crunch kept me from stopping for photographs along the way. After a nice supper at an Italian restaurant in Edmond, OK, I took a brief look around the small town to come across the Bella Forte glassware studio located in Italian Jim’s Restaurant. One of the artists was blowing glass as I passed by, and he welcomed my camera in the intensely-hot blowing furnace room:
Typical of many small-town areas, a prominent and detailed sculpture adorned a street corner outside the restaurant:
Naturally close to the historic and iconic Route 66, we detoured in the late evening to see if there were any landscapes or old buildings to catch in the fading light:
With the sunlight gone, we made a final stop at Pops, a fun restaurant and gas station featuring an enormous neon pop bottle that lights up in myriad colors after dark: 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.
The following is a short guest post on the other new lens in the Zeiss Touit lineup, the 12mm f/2.8. This ultra-wide comes in at an even more premium price tag of $1250 compared to the $900 asking price of the 32mm f/1.8. With that high price you get an extreme 99-degree diagonal angle-of-view to create a unique perspective for many subjects. Just like the 32mm, the 12mm f/2.8 also comes in X-mount with an aperture control ring:
I’ve had the Touit 12mm f/2.8 for about ten days now, but have had little free time to try it out. This morning I took it with me and snaped some shots of the famous Fox Theatre in Bakersfield in good early morning light, and then out at one of our local parks I got to play with its bokeh, which isn’t easy to do at 12mm.
The lens handles very well, though the hood is very light and easily snaps out of its locked position, which causes vignetting. The focus ring feels great, just like on the 32/1.8, though I still have to give the nod to the Sony Zeiss Sonnar 24/1.8 for build quality, if just barely.
The lens does have that unique Zeiss color, though I must confess that it is far wider than anything I’ve ever used before, and I’m just barely into what I expect to be a significant learning curve.
I believe that the lens has distortion correction programmed into its firmware as Apple Aperture seems to apply whatever is in the camera. DXO relies on its own lens profiles and doesn’t have one for this lens yet, so the uncorrected image can be seen in DXO. Correction appears minimal though as the lens seems to be well-corrected optically.
Not much more that I can say yet as I’ve barely used it. Fortunately I have until the spring to learn fully how to handle such a wideangle before my next trip to Asia.
For all you pixel-peepers out there, I’ve posted his titled examples at full-resolution, click on each for maximum detail. All shot with a NEX-7 in RAW, and converted straight to JPEG in Aperture 3 with no post-processing: