Back To Basics

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Having exhausted my camera lust I find myself back where I started a little over a year ago. The first camera I had that produced anything remotely sensible was the Sony NEX 5n. I was blown away at the quality of the images and couldn’t quite believe I had finally managed a decent shot or two.

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Many, many, many camera brands and formats later I now have only one camera, a Sony NEX 3n. The budget baby of the NEX lineup, no bells or whistles, no frilly features. It’s a basic image making machine, and it does a perty fine job too.

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I thought I had in mind a two camera setup, one small mirrorless compact to sling in a handbag, and a ‘proper’ camera – DSLR/SLT. Brands offer various features that the competition may not and whilst I liked something of each brand, nothing jumped out as ‘the one’.

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So after much searching, testing, selling and returning I have decided to hang onto the little NEX as the compact option and take time to work out exactly what I really want/need from a DSLR………although there is one I have yet to try….

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Jus’ Ordinary People

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    I get to play with/try out a lot of different gear; cameras, lenses etc. I shy away from flash systems and other accessories right now, as nothing I might produce is worthy of the financial strain of travelling in that direction, although Im sure it would improve my results. IMGP1293 (2)-Edit (800x688)

There are many times when the pursuit of photography seems to yield no favourable result. Its all too easy to blame it on the gear, blame the sensor – poor noise performance, AF, dynamic range not as good as A,B,C etc. Or, the lens – too slow, back/front focus, poor colour reproduction, not sharp enough. You catch my drift.

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But, i think often times, as a complete amateur and portraitist, with limited subjects, knowledge and equipment it can be ridiculously diffuclt to ‘create’  something imaginative and arty, with a little flair and edge. It can be disheartening. The reality is, I photograph real, everyday people. I’m sure the possibilities are endless and the ability to create whatever you see in your mind’s eye is there. I aim to learn, but along the way certain facts cannot be ignored.

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The basic one – not everyone takes a pretty picture. There are some I have photographed, stunning in reality, but they just don’t translate well to JPEG. Others, kinda unexceptional, catch them in digital and the results can be amazing. Surely the idea is to capture the good ‘side’ of any individual, the question is, how?

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The other basic one -The so called holy trinity of photography = ISO, aperture and shutter speed. If you can ace the exposure and nail the focus then sure, you have a technically good picture, but, without decent composition and some point of interest as the focus of that composition then you have nothing real. I have tons of GOOD pictures with some distracting feature in the background rendering them useless, and some well composed shots that may be slightly mis-focussed or poorly exposed, (which i reckon can be rectified in PS or LR or somesuch, but I have little/no clue) but are interesting or worthy nonetheless.

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I’m not after the EXTRAordinary, as suggested, that’s a rare thing. I am interested in the LESS than ordinary; somethin’ with a little somethin’. How does one achieve that? I take a LOT of pictures, and just moved some 10,000 shots off my laptop to external storage. All taken this year…so far.

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A lot are sh!t, some are good and possibly very good. Most are ordinary. I can count on one hand those that are less than ordinary. None are exceptional.

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I leave that to the Pro’s

🙂

Happy Birthday Mummy……

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….You look old!

Thanks Ty. Out of the mouth of babes, as I’ve heard said.

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Anyway, today, I would like to wish a Happy 37th birthday to my sister Nichola; sharer of said birthday, womb, infancy, childhood etc.

We, Nix, are almost middle aged. When did that happen??!

The weather is beautiful and al is well, what more is there?

Mr H tapped me on the head (not the best way to wake me up) and presented me with a bottle of Fuzz (now that’s more like it). We aren’t quite at the Bubbly for Brekkie stage of alcohol dependency though…that’s for later.

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But a thank you. For the kind words (no Ty, that doesn’t include you)

The bubbly – Ruth, Dan, and also Mr H.

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Ruth -You’re a Gorgeous Cow 😉

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The Roses – The Gracie’s

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The Plant – Erin & Casey

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The teddy – Max, Ty & Kira

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The Frame – Mrs Whitehouse & Co.

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To Nichola  – For sharing, always. XX

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I don’t know which is me

🙂

Happy Birthday Mummy……

PD0023

….You look old!

Thanks Ty. Out of the mouth of babes, as I’ve heard said.

FEB01ME (2)

Anyway, today, I would like to wish a Happy 37th birthday to my sister Nichola; sharer of said birthday, womb, infancy, childhood etc.

We, Nix, are almost middle aged. When did that happen??!

The weather is beautiful and al is well, what more is there?

Mr H tapped me on the head (not the best way to wake me up) and presented me with a bottle of Fuzz (now that’s more like it). We aren’t quite at the Bubbly for Brekkie stage of alcohol dependency though…that’s for later.

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But a thank you. For the kind words (no Ty, that doesn’t include you)

The bubbly – Ruth, Dan, and also Mr H.

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Ruth -You’re a Gorgeous Cow 😉

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The Roses – The Gracie’s

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The Plant – Erin & Casey

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The teddy – Max, Ty & Kira

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The Frame – Mrs Whitehouse & Co.

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To Nichola  – For sharing, always. XX

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I don’t know which is me

🙂

Aye, Aye.

A macro lens is also good for eyelashes, and whilst I don’t like bugs, I do like eyelashes, as demonstrated below:

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Sh!t, could it get any more interesting?

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Ha Ha.

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🙂

MacrOphOtO

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I acquired a dedicated macro lens for the Pentax K30 and actually chose it over a standard nifty as I was curious to try a different focal length as well as macro. The lens is the well regarded Sigma 70mm f2.8 and it the first AF lens I have used on the Pentax.

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The FL is said to be great for portrait too, but given its widest aperture is f2.8 its not great for indoor shooting without flash, especially in my dingy living room. I have taken a few snaps of the kids, but I have mostly concentrated on inanimate and generally uninspiring items as you can see. Key fobs, flowers, bits of fencing, breadsticks, tiny plastic dinosaurs…..

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Well…..what do I know about Macro? I don’t do bugs.

The lens is superb in the areas it’s meant to be, close focussing, sharpness – in spite of the anorexic DOF – contrast and colour. Cant fault it.

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There are a couple of downsides, which I presume are down to the lens, though id have to test another AF lens on the K30 to be sure. It does lock on focus very quickly, only to find upon reviewing that a number of shots are out of focus. I have read that this is a known flaw.

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If changing focus point from near to far it takes an age, racking back and forth until it hits the spot. But saying that, its another common fact of macro lenses in this focal length range.

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So, is macro for me?

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Not really. Its fun, but unless you really want to concentrate on flowers and bugs its not really necessary to have a dedicated macro lens in the bag. The AF is too slow  and the widest aperture is never going to be wide enough for a portraitist.

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Now…………….where’d I put that nifty?

🙂

…..He Who Cast The First Stone…..

……Knocked the Philistine on his ass, or so the story goes (1 Samuel 17 if you don’t believe me).

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Today the Sony RX1 (David) was delivered and I’ve had a lot of fun with it, though I confess to mostly shooting flowers, due to a lack of other available subjects.  And I don’t do ‘street’.

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First things frst, I am used to Sony, the way the menus work, button placement, creative/picture styles etc so it took no time to be comfortable. Straight away there was a problem; the autofocus module is BAD, and I don’t mean in a good way. After about ten minutes trying to take pictures of Kira (during which I reckon I captured three) it gave up altogether and refused to focus at all. Sigh.

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I took all the bits apart that I could and started from scratch. Still sh!t, but it works sporadically so I exploited that whilst taking the dog for a walk round the block (check me out, Paula Radcliffe, NOT).

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DSC00213 (2)-Edit (800x800)The image quality is SUPERB. Yes, the D600 is great too and a lot smoother in operation due to the AF inconsistencies, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this camera. The metering is great, its built like a tank, the LCD is excellent.

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What more could a girl ask for………..apart from functioning autofocus?

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I haven’t tested the low light performance or the inbuilt flash, but I will get around to that.

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For now, suffice to say it’s a winner. 🙂

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