The End of November

A few shots from today's visit to Chincoteague National Seashore and Chincoteague, VA.

Images shot with a Fujifilm X10 or Sony Alpha SLT-A35. All processing in Photoshop Lightroom 5.2.

I went back-and-forth between the Sony and Fuji cameras today. I kept finding the Sony to be frustrating -- almost to the point of distraction. In the end, I used a couple more pictures from the Sony, more because of compositions than anything else.

Ocean City Sunrise and a Solar Eclipse

Since we were near the beach on an emergency visit to my parents, we ventured out early this morning to try to catch the sunrise/eclipse. I'd never shot a solar eclipse before, and so my results were certainly mixed. But I did get some nice sunrise shots. Here are a few...

All of these were taken with the SLT-A35, although I also shot with the X10. I'll probably play around more with the eclipse shots -- I shot a couple series intended for HDR processing that I haven't had time to play with yet.

Camera: Sony Alpha SLT-A35 Lens: Minolta Maxxum AF28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 Support: MeFOTO RoadTrip A1350 lightweight convertable tripod/monopod w/ Q1 ballhead

Maryland Renaissance Festival 9-2-13

We visited Revel Grove again today, this time with our friend Lynn in tow. Since Lynn is not going to be heading out the Festival as often as we are this year, we did pack in a lot of activity -- I think we caught six or seven performances this day! Our feet are tired, and our muscles sore, but a splendid time was had by all. We also ran into one of our favorite former baristas from our favorite local coffee shop.

We also paid another visit to R.E. Piland Goldsmiths, a fine jeweler who has had a shop at the Festival for as long as I can remember, with an eye to finally get our permanent wedding bands. I think we've just about made up our minds which ones we want. All I'll say for now is that the rings are from their Silver Celtic Wedding Bands collection. There will be pictures once we get the new rings sometime in the next few weeks. We will be looking into getting Donna's diamond reset as well.

Due to other commitments, we won't be back at the Festival until the weekend of September 21.

On a "photo-geek" note, I took all the pictures yesterday and today with the old Maxxum 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking with the Minolta (and Sigma) lenses when I use the SLR through the rest of the Festival run. As old as the Maxxum lenses are, they're sharper and faster than the more convenient Tamron 18-270mm all-in-one lens. Furthermore, I really prefer the way these old lenses render colors -- I spend far less time "fixing" in post processing, and can concentrate more on "creating" instead.

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Rte 27 Farm

On her way to going grocery shopping at the little family-owned store up the road, Donna passes a really neat looking farm. When the light and sky are right, there's a really interesting pattern to the fields. Today, we were out for a drive and passed the farm -- and I was smart enough to bring my camera along.

All of the pictures were shot hand-held with my Sony Alpha SLT-A35 and the Tamron 18-270, and processed in my usual selection of imaging applications: Photoshop CC with various Topaz plug-ins, Lightroom 5, or Nik Snapseed (no longer available for PCs or Macs).

The Beauty of the Old

One of the reasons I made the switch to Sony cameras was the amazing imaging qualities of the cameras and the functionality of the new single-lens-translucent (SLT) technology. I've talked about that before. Another important reason was the ability to use older Minolta Maxxum lenses. Images made with Minolta lenses have a certain "look," much like older Olympus lenses from the OM-1 days. So, in addition new high quality "new tech" lenses, I decided early on that there were a few Minolta lenses that would have to be a part of my kit, and the first one I wanted to get was the second-generation of the 50mm f/1.7 (the second generation is almost identical to the mystical original "crossed X" version, but is rumored to be slightly sharper). Last week, I found a great price on one on line, and quickly snapped (no pun intended) it up.

Literally, this is one of the first pictures I took using the lens. There were specific things I was looking to examine in this "test shot": color, depth of field control, bokeh, and sharpness.

Obviously, at f/1.7, depth-of-field is extremely shallow. And, wide open, the bokeh is beautiful! Nice, perfectly round spectral highlights and soft, flowing colors. And what lovely color. Amazing and beautiful results from a lens that's nearly 25 years old.

For those who long to pixel-peep... Actually, I saw this crop when I zoomed into the image in Lightroom to take a closer look, and really liked the composition. It also affords a nice look at the detail that the lens can capture.

I'm definitely planning to add at least a couple more of these classic lenses to my bag, specifically, the AF 20mm f/2.8 and the AF 135mm f/2.8. An original AF 24-70mm f/2.8, if I can find one that I can afford, would also make a great addition to my kit. More than likely, I'll pickup the 28-85 f/3.5-4.5 instead, as well as a 70-210mm f/4.

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