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Friday, April 10, 2009

Foto Friday: Wide Angle

Choices, choices. Do I give you a crummy photo with my new lens? Or a good photo with my old lens? Or a good photo with my new lens, though those are kind of scarce?

This is what I mean by "crummy":

Sunset on Haleakala, looking East
Mar. 2009

It's crummy because there isn't anything spectacular in it. But my eye kept wandering back to it, so in it goes.

This is actually more ESE, to be terribly pedantic. To the right of center you can sort of see Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, wreathed by pinkish clouds (click for a larger image). On the far right there's a dark swelling which is Mauna Loa.

I got a new 17mm lens! I bought it for bagging rainbows, but most of the rainbows I've managed to capture with it so far have been distinctly unimpressive. The other day I did get a fantastic, glowing, full rainbow, but I haven't got the film developed yet.

I had 15 days to evaluate the lens, so I ran out and blasted away in random directions using cheapo film, shooting whatever was there, to make sure there weren't any hidden flaws. Then I took the film to one hour photo developers, so I could have it back quickly. (Usually I send it to Kansas.) This means that the five rolls of film I shot did not result in top-notch photos.

Super-wide field is a whole new world. You have to be more careful about metering, since the lens will capture large areas of the sky, which may be very differently lit than the center. You can see that in the upper corners of this image, where the sky overhead becomes much darker than the central subject. I don't think it would be a good lens to use with slide film, except in the middle of a bright day.

You also have to be careful around vertical structures, because they lean if they're not (vertically) centered in the lens (I've found this with the 28mm too, to a lesser extent). It can get tricky if your composition requires them to be off center.

The exposure business had me a little disappointed with the lens, since I shoot a lot of sunsets. The actual sunset is a smallish bright space surrounded by darkness. This is not helped by the fact that it's only an f/4 lens, so you have to have lots of light or a slow shutter speed or fast film.

But it does a pretty good job on those cloud formations. That part is going to be awesome.

By the way, when I say the lens is "new", I mean it's new to me; it was made in 1982. I have waited four months for one of these babies to come on the market (the right market, i.e. not eBay). So I am very jazzed about it.

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