More than 3 months without a single post… It's quite obvious I couldn't keep my new year's resolution to go out for a photo walk regularly. On the contrary, I seriously lost my motivation. Recently I didn't feel the creative mood at all that I had to push the shutter button. I only managed to take some family photos but that was all.
This year nature is at least 2-3 weeks behind here in the UK. The wild garlic bloom hasn't reached its peak along the stream outside our village. Bluebells are already well on the way but also behind a bit at their usual life cycle. Last Sunday was simply too cold for early May. Temperature dropped around freezing at dawn. It was mostly clear sky with only a few clouds. The previous evening I decided to break my photography deadlock and go for a short stroll. I packed only two lenses into my camera bag, the Samyang 135mm F2 and the old Sigma 400mm F5.6 APO Tele Macro. I wanted to shoot close-ups exclusively. And of course my camera was there as well which I have just bought recently. Not long ago I upgraded from Sony A7II to A7RII. Mostly because it was almost free. I found one on eBay and won the bidding on a very reasonable price. For almost the same price I could sell my A7II, I had luck. The 42 megapixel of the A7RII comes really handy at landscapes. The camera has newer BSI sensor and much better autofocus system. I think it was a worthwhile upgrade.
I reached the area at the edge of our village about 30 minutes before sunrise. Because of the relative darkness I started to shoot with the big tele lens setup on my Benro tripod. I took many different close-ups and this couple became the keeper.
After the Sun had risen higher and higher above the horizon it was already enough light to swap over to the Samyang 135mm F2 and to ditch the tripod. The sensor stabilisation of the A7RII allowed handheld shots at F2-F2.8 with shutter speed of 1/160 and ISO200-400. As this lens is rather for portraits its minimum focusing distance is only 80 cm which doesn’t give enough magnification for my macros. Last year I bought some cheap macro extension tubes for reducing the MFD. As there are no electronic contacts on the lens I decided to go for the simplest one. Buy cheap, buy twice... The build quality of the extension tubes are awful. It wobbles in all direction, just horrible. I tried to hold them firmly where the tubes connect to the lens. But there was one point I managed to touch the release lever somehow and the lens just came off immediately. The problem is that the wobbling issue was so serious (1-2 mm distance from the lens mount) that it had probably affected the image quality adding extra tilt effect to the story. At the shallow depth of field I was working with it wasn't really recognizable on the pictures, I just know it's there. In spite of this I still managed to take some photos I'm happy with.
When I decided to leave the site I walked down the stream to have a look for possible landscape compositions for next time. But the wild garlic is not in full bloom here because it’s well shaded by the trees. Along the stream you can find some ferns too. Last year I took one photo which I quite liked. This time I went for black and white processing. I really like the triangular patterns of the fern leaves as a background.
When I got home I decided to get rid of the crappy extension tubes. I have already ordered different ones and this time the electronic version as they tend to be built sturdier and more robust. I hope on my next macro shoot I can use the new ones much easier.