Well, since we’re talking about lowered expectations, I moved the site to a new host. Prior to this move, I was self-hosting a WordPress site with a WordFence firewall and a bunch of other security plugins, all on top of a VPS in the cloud. A few nights ago I did a major upgrade to the Operating System and, as is always the case with Murphy’s Law, I had to restore from backup. As a result of my luck, I decided to move the site to Squarespace. I’m still getting used to the interface, but it’s overall a load off my toad. I use my VPS for other things not related to a website, so moving to a dedicated service was a no-brainer. Plus, it saved me about a hundred bucks a year.
Anyway, this is the frist post on the new platform. All the other posts before this were migrated in from WordPress. Squarespace did a damn fine job of migration, however not everything translated from the Fukasawa theme, so the older posts can look weird. I’ll dress them up as I work through them, I suppose, but I’m pretty lazy. Lower your expectations.
Speaking of lowered expectations, I took a new lens out this past weekend, the Rokinon Auto Macro 35-135mm f/3.9-5.6 FD-mount for the Canon F1-n. It’s a beast of a lens. I have no idea how the Macro works on it, and I was never able to get an f/3.9 aperture no matter how hard I tried.
So off to the Memphis Zoo I went. I’ve done this once before* with a 135mm lens at the zoo. It’s a nice older focal length for grabbing more natural shots of the animals. The longer lens allows me to separate out things like park benches, wires and cables, toys, food dishes, anything that would make it look like it was taken in a Zoo and not the wild. For instance, those nasty wires protecting the public from escaping wildcats (and probably protecting the cats from stupid humans) disappear when zoomed in on the subject and not the wires. There’s a technical term for this somewhere. I wish my brain and eyes could do it.
The lens, however, is damn slow and hard to hold steady. Shots below 1/125th second might as well be sketches with oil pastel as they’ll be sharper. So when the weather brings “Cloudy 4” instead of “Sunny 16” the max aperture is 5.6; 3.9 was apparently unattainable. With my ISO 400 , I was shooting at 1/60s at f/5.6 just to get the needle on the meter to behave. The results were, shall we say, meh ?
To say it was a struggle would be an understatement. The only saving grace on some of these photos is the split/ring rangefinder prism. That really helps get the images sharp (at least above 1/60s), but it doesn’t work well with old eyes. I also should have worn my damn glasses, because there is no diopter adjustment.
I really can’t complain about the lens when I was really shooting it outside the trustworthy range of the exposure triangle and the lenses capabilities. It is probably a damn fine Korean lens when shot in good lighting and speeds that stop movement. I bet it’s a great portrait lens, too. I have no idea if it’s a good macro lens since the macro feature is a mystery to me.
I can, in the future, lower my expectations when shooting new cameras/lenses/films. Each time I take a new kit out, I get to the location and immediately regret not having my trusty 50mm lens, or this other camera, or that other film. The cameras aren’t capable of making my photography better. It’s the area behind the camera that does the work. The camera just records the result.