Posted by: digibirder | December 18, 2010

What a year!

We were musing yesterday that it was one year to the day that we both lost our jobs. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have achieved much in that time, if you ignore the brief period when I had that horrendous call-centre job. I’ve also had a struggle getting started with a photography business, but I suppose I hadn’t really given it my best shot and I have been mostly researching and testing and playing at it. So, I’m making a resolution to get organised next year. I’ve done a few workshops during this year that have equipped me in certain aspects of establishing a photography business, so I really shouldn’t have any excuses not to get started. I’ve also concluded from my endeavours that some of my lenses may not be up to scratch for what I want to do, so I have therefore decided to sell the Sigma lenses and get one more good Canon lens. But which one?

I have rented three lenses over the past few weeks, of which two are classed as portrait lenses – EF24-70 f/2.8L and EF24-105 f/4L IS – but I’m having a problem deciding which to get. The former has a wider maximum aperture, but no image stabilisation and is the heavier of the two. The latter gives a wider zoom range, is lighter, has IS and is also a bit cheaper. But I think the 24-70mm has the better reviews overall and that may be the one I will go with. Decisions, decisions!

We were going to have another trip into Leeds this morning – the alarm was set and we were quite prepared to get up and away early – but lack of sleep due to various factors caused us to have a re-think. The purpose of the visit was to return to the market where, last week, Keith had picked up some goat meat. We’ve never had it before, but it made a delicious curry so we were keen to get some more. We tried in Sheffield yesterday but there wasn’t any to be had.

While in Sheffield, we had another wander around the Christmas Market. It was a bit less crowded than the Leeds one, but then it’s only about a quarter of the size (and it was a weekday). We had a cup of mulled wine, as you do, and then went to get a meal at a very cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant. I did take the camera with me, but with only my old Sigma 18-50mm lens attached. Before we set off I rang the organisers to check about photography (this one not being organised by the council, as was the Leeds market). No problem, was the response, so I took her name and went armed with that information, should I get stopped again. There was no problem, as it turned out. In fact I pointed my camera at the stall where we bought the mulled wine and the security guard smiled and struck a pose! Unfortunately, there was too much camera shake. The only problem was that I didn’t have any camera support. I decided, as we were also there to do some shopping, that I wouldn’t take my tripod or monopod, but I think I may nip back with it sometime before next week as there were some good scenes that I would like to get.

As we were supping our mulled wine, I set the camera on the table we stood at and took a few shots, but most were blurred. Some turned out OK, and they are fine for the blog, but they wouldn’t win any prizes for sharpness. I took a few more as we wandered around, and I must have managed to get a fast enough shutter speed for some of them to be passable.

An amazing array of sausages

The following image is the tree I posted the other day, which looks so much better when it’s lit up. I faced it from a different angle, as it looked quite magical with the lights in the windows of the library in the background. I wondered what the bright speck was just to the left of the top of the tree, but it’s in a slightly different place in the next image, and I think it’s the moon. The two images appear slightly different in colour as I tried them with the colour balance at different settings. Images with lights in tend to go an orange colour, so the colour temperature has to be altered to make it more pleasing.

Another thought that came to me regarding the past year was the 365 project I attempted at the beginning of the year, and which terminated mid-February. I wondered whether to attempt another one, but then decided that this might take my focus away from the business too much. However, I may set myself some sort of project for the year – perhaps a monthly or weekly theme. It may help to keep me on my toes and promote more creativity.

I bought a new photography magazine yesterday called Advanced Photographer – it’s only the second issue – and there is a large section on black and white photography. As I don’t convert to b&w too often, I thought I might make a habit of doing so from now on, so to start with I decided to convert one I took the other week in Bridlington. It has light and shadow and therefore has plenty of contrast to make up for the lack of colour, although I have added a little more and tweaked certain colours to make areas lighter or darker. Probably could do with a bit more time spent playing with the settings. I’ll read the article properly and get back to you.




    that’ll confuse you 😉

    • Well, it sort of helps – I think it does highlight that the quality of the 24-70mm wins over the 24-105mm, particularly the second link. The only reason to go for the latter would be the IS, lower weight, and the extra reach.

      On the first point, I did not notice any issues with the 24-70 not having IS, and I think the results from that lens do have a slight edge over the quality of the 24-105mm. Secondly, as I did not have these two lenses at the same time, I was unaware of the extra weight of the 24-70mm, but it did not appear to be an issue at the time. Finally, I already have the 70-200mm so although having the 105 focal length would help to avoid lens changing, it is not absolutely necessary as I have that length covered already.

      As the second link says: If you want image quality, go for the 24-70mm. If portability and weight are the issue, get the 24-105mm. I think it has to be the former that is on my wish list.

  2. Whew- you did have a year! Check out the shutter sisters for some photo equip suggestions!

    • I have seen Shutter Sisters site before, but haven’t been there for some months. I will have to re-acquaint myself with them.

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