After midnight in the garden
After midnight in the garden
The sheer exuberance of color.
Photography has come a long way, from the ambrotype, daguerreotypes, to tin types, albumen, and what became modern film.
Now it’s DNGs, jpegs, tiff, etc and an array of digital editing software, ink and printing paper, even the ability to create a digital tin type.
Change comes with something of a built in accelerant, a quickening to the next stage, and I can only imagine what wonders the next five or ten years will produce.
Sigma is releasing a variety of genre specific lenses such as the Art series, as well as what are referred to as Contemporary and Sports lenses and it appears as though they are onto something.
The Sports series is above my pay grade and seems to be well received, but I can personally attest to the capabilities of the Art series in owning the trilogy comprised of the 19mm, 30mm, and 60mm lenses all of which are f2.8.
Not particularly robust in build but more than compensated for when it comes to price and IQ.
My personal opinion is that when considering those two factors they are the hands down best bang for your buck you will find and capable of out performing a variety of noticeably more expensive lenses.
As to the Contemporary line I have one – the 30mm f1.4 – different build quality, very fast, very sharp, and with a street price of $339 attainable for those on a budget.
How does this lens perform? I can only speak from personal experience but have to say it has met and or exceeded my expectations.
Like all lenses or camera gear you will find conflicting opinions – David Lavikka of Lavikka photography refers to it as a “killer lens”, I wholeheartedly concur.
Others say it produces marked CA and color fringing that isn’t very well controlled – I disagree as that hasn’t been my experience running it through it’s paces as much as time and work has allowed.
When conflicting opinions exist it is inevitable that the meme of a “bad copy” will arise, and the possibility that such is the case can’t be dismissed, yet at times I’ve come to believe the “bad copy” meme is just that, a meme often without substance.
People are inclined to equate quality with price, the more it costs then surely it must be better, and there often is a truth to that, but not a truth set in stone.
I tend to look at such a belief as I would the “fashion” world – is the implication that an article of clothing made overseas featuring a company label like Nike, Abercrombie and Fitch, or The Gap emblazoned across it that sells for a ridiculous price better than it’s competitors?
Based on cost and brand alone I’d have to say to no.
Sigma is filling a niche in the world of photography others have seemingly opted to avoid – you truly are getting bang for your buck, and in the real world that not only is something to appreciate but speaks to Sigma’s understanding that this “niche” is composed of the vast majority of people with cameras and lenses.
Bragging rights don’t automatically accrue as the result of the brands an individual may own, they are the result of images produced – and that in my opinion should be a level playing field, not some nebulous caste system predicated on brand and price.
I’m not an expert or a “pro”, don’t profess to be, but I know what works for me, what my budget is, and appreciate the fact that I don’t have to save for years to own a high quality lens.
The challenge is about more than a camera or lens that will think for you, it is about more than a brand or associated cost – give any photography buff the absolute best and highest priced gear available and I guarantee they will be able to produce stunning images – even more so if they know their way around editing programs like PS or Lightroom.
That isn’t to denigrate pro equipment or pros who obviously know their way around their gear, post editing, and are talented, rather to say I have a greater appreciation for those with more humble equipment who produce stunning images whether they be film or digital – an appreciation that extends to lenses that facilitate doing so at something other than an outrageous price.
That’s what I like about Lavikka’s reviews, he’s not pushing multi thousand dollars lenses or cameras though he may own a few, he’s telling the real world take a look at this, this is something affordable and can produce the kind of images you’re looking for – also something I appreciate with the approach Sigma is taking, volume sales of a quality product rather than price gouging.
I’ve often thought if I were to run a business I’d opt for a profit line of ten percent after overhead, try to make whatever I offered affordable and rely on volume – that of course isn’t the common marketing model but it would be nice if it were.
I’ve been working a lot of hours, hard work, haven’t had much time to devote to photography, and I expect that to be the way of it for the next few weeks as I rebuild a friends home that has suffered a lot a damage due to a fire.
But I’m getting a handle on it now and will be making a way to get out and about with the Sigma 30mm f1.8 DC DN soon, when I do I’ll post a few examples of what it’s capable of.
In the interim if you’re interested in this lens scout around a little, talk to someone you know who may have a copy, or visit a store that rents or will allow you a grace period if you purchase and change your mind – you know what you want, what you expect, and what your budget is better than anyone else.
Guess this a threefer friday before changing my mind after writing the below:
There was a time in my life maybe not unlike others when I had a certain wanderlust.
I was always confident in my willingness and ability to work that I’d get by, and pretty much did in being able to meet essential needs and send a few bucks home at times.
I can’t say I was specifically looking for anything or to “find myself”, I just wanted to see, and I did.
An education in itself from brawling in Boston when others thought to take my backpack to being welcomed in the most humble of homes among the nations.
Kind of my black and white era photography wise once I had gotten into it – I’ve got folders upon folders dating back several years, some from film converted to digital and on through the present.
A great many depicting life on the rez across the nation and Canada to just those of things that caught my attention for one reason or another.
I’ve never been keen on the idea of uploading photos to the net, and there may be a bit of animism in not doing so as I consider them to be a personal, a representation of a point in time where I and others may have been, and even in today’s world personal means private to me.
I get nudged about that at times and incrementally moving in the desired direction, but it’s a process, and to that end I’ve mentioned a possible book in the past focused on the people of the nations, the circumstances and lives we lead.
Well, the photos for that book have been collated and I left the selection to others trusting their judgement, footnotes and comments added.
Now it’s become about publishing – self publishing which I favor, or an established publisher.
A book I admit that was never a personal consideration, and in a way you might not readily understand seemed a little presumptuous of me on my part as the story cannot be adequately told in photos or books.
If you haven’t lived the life then it may be a story that can never really be told.
To that end a couple of photos from the b/w era of subjects people can readily identify with, none of which will be in the “book”, and none of which I consider to be of a keeper quality – but part of the “nudging”.
During this journey I’d like to think my photographic abilities have improved, and in fact believe they have, but that remains for the viewer to decide.
I feel compelled in a way to say I don’t want so much as a dime from the book, nor any sort of notoriety – I’m not looking to cash in, and in fact any revenue from sales will be devoted to indigenous causes and needs, of which there are many.
So take a look at the photos and if you care to critique feel free to do so, as the very act of living is about learning and striving to be better in our relationships and endeavors, or at least it should be.
When it comes to camera settings and photography it’s all about aperture priority or manual mode for me.
Safe to say the huge majority of photos I take employ those methods.
Auto modes may be convenient at times or favored by a person but I’m kind of thinking when it comes to settings the term “control freak” takes on a different connotation, a matter of choice though and what works for a person.
To that end most of the lenses I have are what is referred to as vintage, older manual lenses, and something of price range necessity.
But being familiar with operating a camera and the very high quality vintage lenses available for a fraction of the cost I may very well be ahead of the game in some areas.
Among my lens collection there are exceptions, most notably Sigma’s Dn Art series of which I have the 30mm F2.8 and the 60mm F2.8 – both if purchased new can be had for $200 or less and are no slouch when it comes to sharpness and IQ.
The build quality is substantial enough but very noticeable when switching from say a Fujinon ebc 55mm f1.8, but there’s no trade off in image quality.
In fact I’d say as good as the Fujinon is in some areas the Sigma(s) are better, which is nothing short of amazing when you consider their new cost, something almost unheard of for a lens of their performance ability.
Digital sensors have come a long way and sometimes people get caught up in the number of pixels, which can be a mistake as not all sensors regardless of pixel count are created equal.
Micro 4/3s, APC, and full frame are all capable of producing high quality photos, full frame is something of the holy grail but out of reach for some due to price.
An interesting aside is that Kodak developed the first digital camera in the 70’s and yet has never been a player of consequence.
Photography is a series of links in a chain, from the shooter to the lens, and if digital, then the sensors as well – a weak link offsets the strong ones.
If a person isn’t entirely satisfied with the images they’re capturing and yet have a good camera it may be time to explore Aperture priority or manual.
There will be something of an associated learning curve but nothing worth being intimidated over.
The icons on the program wheel may have an allure, a convenience factor, but there was a time when you had to know the mechanics of photography and the auto modes don’t lend themselves to that.
The above photo was taken with a vintage lens, a Petri 55mm F1.8 – if it’s sharpness a person is looking for this lens qualifies and probably can be found on eBay without having to stress the budget.
In fact I just looked and found a few ranging from$25 to $50 – of course you’ll have to have an eBay account or friend who does to avail yourself of one.
The lenses I have acquired are the result of bartering work, trading, something a person found in their closet, or picking up seriously cheap at a yardsale or junk store.
Not everyone will be interested in bartering work, but yard sales and the like abound – you may even have a friend with an old camera and lens laying around they have no interest in.
Kind of a story associated with the above photo, was out with a friend hiking around, we had just come down the side of mountain entering into a flat area and we ran across it.
She offered the opinion that it looked forlorn and wondered how it came to be in that particular spot?
Speculations got a little a silly and we settled on it was part of a ufo that had fallen off while making a crop circle – didn’t matter that there wasn’t a crop circle, could have happened before they began the process – anyway that’s our story and we’re sticking to it, though I wouldn’t suggest anyone upload it as proof of aliens.
I had a camera with me and so took a photo, it can be enlarged several times and the fact that it holds together so well is a testament to the Petri.
I’ve got a thing about bees inspite of having been stung a few times as a child – haven’t been since then as I’ve come to understand them.
The first rule is to respect their territory, don’t make a lot of loud noise, or begin swatting at them if they’ve drawn near to take a closer look.
Funny thing is that at times if I’m running a power tool like a saw and they’re around they don’t seem to like it – the noise aggravates them.
Understandable as people won’t exactly gravitate to such sounds even though it’s common and acceptable to those in the construction trades.
Bumble Bees seem to take particular offense and even will become aggressive – same approach though, bad idea to swat at them.
Interestingly bees have an acute sense of smell, they can detect odors through their legs, antenna, and mouth.
As I understand it receptors vary depending on body location – I’ve noticed that different types/piles of sawdust seem to have an attraction to them.
No nectar or pollen in sawdust that I’m aware of so I assume the attraction is based on smell. I haven’t conducted a survey or offered a questionnaire but I’d say judging by personal observation cedar has a certain allure though it is a favored repellent for moths in closets and drawers.
Someone told me there is a men’s aftershave that smells like cedar, since I have no need of aftershave I wouldn’t know but had to laugh when they likened it to pheromones in a bottle when it comes to attracting women, maybe something for those “metro” men to try.
Certain colors attract bees, like the purple of blessed thistle or a morning glory and yet I’ve been told they don’t perceive the color red, I suppose that inability is compensated for by sense of smell and visual recognition of a flower.
As a kid I can recall a couple of times when I plucked a morning glory flower to suck on the end for the nectar, kind of a treat as it was sweet and sweet was always in short supply – later I found out some species can induce a high or even a psychotic reaction.
I never experienced that, didn’t fall into a trance, get high, have visions, or become a morning glory addict and have to go rehab, but in knowing that I’m content to admire their beauty, scent, and leave it at that while suggesting others do the same.
Makes me wonder though if bees get high on morning glories kind of like cows will on silage? Which can be really funny as silage ferments.
Bees supposedly aren’t aerodynamically suited to flight and yet they fly – too bad the same can’t be said of humans.
It’s gotten cold enough now where bees have retired for the winter, they’ve laid up stores and have the ability to maintain a constant temperature within the hive – don’t know if they play board games to wile away the winter hours or have a library to avail themselves of but they’ve generationally cultivated a lifestyle that suits them.
Maybe they have elders and story tellers like grandfather, I’d like to think so.
What I do know is the world would be a radically different place if not for them.