Saturday, March 26, 2011
Of Spring, and things.
First American Robin of the year. Shot through window glass.
Nikkor AF-S DX 55-300mm, 1/30th sec., f/5.6, ISO 200
Robins, House Finches, Grackles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Goldfinches - all summer residents, and all appearing in the back yard over the last week or so. Despite a dumping of snow on Thursday, causing Mr. Robin to blow himself up into a ball to stay warm, they're here to stay, warbling from the rooftops and madly scurrying around collecting nesting material.
On the other hand, I was scurrying around myself on Friday, heading to Seneca College to give my more-or-less-annual guest lecture to students in their Bioinformatics Program, an enjoyable chance to catch up with an old friend who runs it, and to test-drive my latest slide deck, which uses rather a lot of photos of zoo animals to make various points. That all seemed to go well, and gave me an opportunity to explore the adjacent York University campus a bit, an interesting conglomeration of coloured concrete, strange angles, and metal details. I particularly liked the huge and ironically impersonal monolith of the Ross Humanities and Social Sciences building, and the crazy internal details of the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Art, full of interesting design elements, half-finished sculptures, and enthusiastic arts students.
1/200th sec., f/8, ISO 200
I decided, on this occasion, to take only a single, fixed-focal-length "prime" lens with me, a technique used by many, many photographers over the ages, including the incomparable Henri Cartier-Bresson - no zooms, no wide-angles, no telephotos. In this case, I had just a 35mm lens that on my DSLR gives more-or-less the same "normal" field of view as Bresson's 50mm mounted on his venerable Leica. The idea is to use your feet and hands and eyes to compose the photograph, rather than a zoom ring.
Wall detail, Centre for Fine Art
Indoors - 1/640th sec., f/2.8, ISO 1,000
Having trundled around Keele Campus for a bit, I'm finding myself rather pleased with the little 35. As expected, it's a bit soft at very narrow apertures, likely due both to diffraction inside the lens and also the resulting slower shutter speeds, showing up my less-than-rock-solid hands. Also as expected, when fully wide-open it does suffer a bit from coloured fringing around bright objects. But in its sweet spot, which I don't think I've quite hit in either of the photos above, it's rather nice indeed. There will be more photos coming... once the weather warms up a bit.
The lens in question.
Shot with Nikkor 18-55mm @ 18mm, 1/6th sec., f/3.5, ISO 200.