Sunday, 25 January 2015

Look out for Jack Frost...

Yep, here in the UK winter is about...cold, frosty days with plenty of snow up in Scotland and the north of England...of course this gives great photo opportunities (even if your fingers turn blue)...so this weeks blog will have some nice wintry images for you...there is also a new section - one concerned with gear...

I get asked a lot - either on line or by pupils exactly what gear do I use and why? Indeed I was taking to a gentleman from India only the other night about the merits of certain lenses (isn't the internet brilliant at bringing people together?); so what I thought I would do is each week introduce a bit of my kit, explain why I chose that particular one, it uses and its importance to me as a working professional photographer...

So to start here is my wide angle zoom...




This is the Nikkor 20-35mm f2.8 AFD...it formed part of the "three-kings" in the 1990s and was a standard lens in many photo-journalists around the world for several years. First produced in 1993 it was a special lens and for many of us out here remains so... this link... will tell you everything you need to know about the lens technically, plus one of my pictures is used to demonstrate the sharpness it can produce...(the green one of the lily pads)...

I use it most days, especially for street and photo-journalism work - many of the images taken at the rally in Trafalgar Square a couple of weeks ago were taken on this lens.  Since 1998 it has been superceded by at least two newer examples; both wider and better...BUT...and this is important...they are not THAT much better. If you have the money the latest version - 17-35mm f2.8 IF ED AFS will set you back £1500 and it is a better lens...the 20-35mm above can be found used in excellent condition for about £400. Whilst it isn't as good there isn't £1100 worth of difference...and that is the story surrounding all my lenses...there are better options, much more expensive options but they aren't so much better that the investment can be justified; at least in my opinion...It is relatively light, has great glass (hand finished glass aspherical element), produces really sharp images and is fine on DX as well as FX bodies. It may not be super wide but I have never been on a shoot and wished for a wider lens...maybe my core subject matter, but for me it works...If you have been thinking about a wide-angle zoom...take a look at this one...

So that is the first of my gear introductions for you all...it is a great lens and if you are on a budget then it can pay to look to used gear...

So, what have been shooting this week? Well as it was frosty I did get out several times...







The boat house - a new location I found this week in Ely...I loved the light - I shall be going back here regularly I feel...








The willows above was a shot I saw but when I downloaded it it was dismissed...on reflection I wondered what it might look like using my dream preset in Lightroom...It has proved popular on Facebook...









Hazel (above and below) male catkins above, female flowers below...one of the first signs that a new season is approaching...



















Above is another of my oft-visited themes - puddle ice; it forms interesting patterns and you get great colours...this one is a favourite of mine so far this year...























Wild carrot (above and below) the seed heads form great shapes and with a bit of frost they become almost jewel-like...




and find some nice wintry shots...hope you like them...

I also managed an hour or so out and about on Saturday morning...sunny but not so cold...




Above - a leaf bud on elder...spring is just around the corner surely...?




Now the green blur above is ivy leaves back lit by the sun...I like the effect...




A couple of lichen shots here - not sure of the species but I love the forms they take...







So that about wraps it up for this week...as always regular updates can be found in the usual places...here on Facebook... or here on Flickr. Next week I will continue running through my gear with the Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 AFD standard zoom...

Have a great week everyone...

TTFN