All posts by dwa

Photographer, expat Buffalonian, crazy cat person.


Luckily, I did not break an axle or die of dysentery on a recent trip to Oregon. I did however spend some time with two friends who were kind enough to drag me through the wilderness to see some lovely sights. There are more pictures in the full gallery, including one which should delight fans of The Goonies. Here however are some highlights:

That last one I got soaked by the Pacific in the process of taking it – waves viewed through a wide-angle lens are closer and faster than they appear!


I haven’t given up on getting good photos out of the T. Can you spot the self-portrait hiding in there?


And for lack of a better place to put them post them, a couple of shots on the way to/in the North End:


On an equipment related note I picked up the battery grip for my camera a little while ago – while it makes it a lot more bulky it fits my hands and handles much more nicely. It also makes my camera bag quite cramped, I might need a bigger one soon (any suggestions are welcome). I’ll also be renting the 90mm T/S-E lens this week, so expect to see some experimentation from that in the near future!

Boston Public Garden

Scenes over the past couple of weeks from the Boston Public Garden. I’m actually really looking forward to winter and hopefully getting some decidedly different shots then!

Most of these were made with my favorite lens, the 100mm f/2.8 USM macro; the exceptions are the first and last photos. Personally, I’m rather pleased with the B&W skyline shot, and the duck has a peculiar attraction as well.




Frustration to a T

Last month I had focused most of my photographic efforts on the garden along the path I walk every day and had been really pleased with the results. So next I had decided to try and focus on the MBTA and at best I’ve been frustrated. There’s probably a few reasons it hasn’t been working out quite as well – I’m usually rushed and stressed when I’m using the T, and everyone else around me is too. I also try to avoid pointing my camera at people who are just out and about, and (surprise!) there’s people on the T.



All along the Path

On my way to/from Davis Square, I almost always walk along the Somerville Community Path. Along said path is a garden that I’ve been focusing my photographic attention on of late. I’ve also been experimenting with more black and white than usual lately. All of these were taken with the excellent Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens:

My very favorite however is this one:

All of the B&W images have color versions nearby in the gallery. So far I’ve preferred the B&W versions but I’d love any feedback that anyone has.

Walkabout Photos

No exotic lenses or interesting events for this post, just a bunch of photos taken recently:




The last one, in particular, is a happy accident of shutter speed and IS and deserves a look at larger-than-thumbnail size. The rocks on the shoreline (the Atlantic on the New Hampshire coast) stayed decently sharp while the waves show a bit of motion. Next time I’ll have to purposefully try for that!

July 4th, Somerville Edition

Somerville had its fireworks display just yesterday – it was originally scheduled for the 2nd but got rained out. Not quite the same number of people as Boston’s – and I wound up watching it from a friend’s balcony anyways, after wandering through the crowds a little bit – but anything that goes kaboom like that is fun in my book.


Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar

I’m always on the lookout for interesting lenses, so a little while ago I rented the Zeiss 100mm f/2 “Makro-Planar” lens. It’s actually a Nikon lens, so a Nikon -> Canon adapter came along for the ride as well. This made shooting it quite an interesting affair. The adapter is purely mechanical, so one had to manually set the aperture on the lens and of course manually focus as well.

The first thing that hit me when taking it out of the box was that it’s quite a substantial lens – the barrel and lens hood are all metal, I can’t recall a single part that was plastic. The focus ring was very smooth and precise with no play in it whatsoever.

And when you nail the focus, the lens is incredible. But the focus is the tricky bit, especially wide open with a razor-thin depth of field. Click the thumbnails for actual-pixel crops from this tiger and this shot from the Small Strobes workshop.

What struck me most about the lens however was how buttery smooth it drew anything not in focus:

You really want to look at the larger version, if not the full size version. The way that this lens “draws” is really the most desirable and distinctive aspect of it, in my opinion.

Compared to the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro (which is one of my very most favorite lenses): The Zeiss is a tiny bit sharper, a full stop faster, but manual focus and only goes up to half life-size magnification. Oh, and it’s also about $1,000 more expensive too!

I won’t be buying the lens immediately but, much like the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, it’ll be staying in my mind. If I didn’t already own the Canon 100mm macro, I’d be looking to buy it a lot sooner.

July 4th, Boston Edition

As it turns out, July 4th in Boston is a somewhat popular event! I wandered through the Cambridge side of the Charles for them and the crowds might have been more impressive than the fireworks show itself. This was the scene on the way back:

Since I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going I elected to leave the tripod at home. On one hand this was a good idea — I ended up walking about 6 miles last night — but I wasn’t entirely happy with the pictures I was getting handheld. So I put the camera into movie mode, parked the camera on my shoulder, and enjoyed the show through my eyes.

So while I don’t have a bajillion photos to sort, now I have to figure out what to do with a few gigs of video. Have a screen cap:

Somerville is having its own fireworks show on the 9th (originally planned for the 2nd but rained out) and I’m planning on being there, this time with a tripod!