Featured Forum Thread: "Back to the Sierra, this time with the A7!" by Jefenator

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Jefenator, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    It's only 10 months since I last visited the region, but there was a big family reunion this month to honor my departed grandparents. That's all the excuse I need!

    I got to know Mono Lake a little better, found some nice alternative vista points.
    Mono Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Mono Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    I'm glad I invested in an L-bracket for the A7. Even though it added a bit of bulk, it enabled me to use my swivel clamp to do stitched panoramas with ease - even in portrait orientation!

    Tenaya Lake is a sacred spot to my father's side of the family. They used to camp here for weeks on end in the 1950s. You can't do that anymore but at least you can still enjoy the beach!

    Tenaya Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    I'm pretty sure Ansel Adams once had is tripod set up somewhere within 10 paces of where I was standing.

    I was using mostly Minolta MD lenses, but I swapped in my trusty old Nikkor for 24mm duty and I was glad I did.

    Tenaya Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The Nikkor seems sharp and well-behaved - the Minolta MD 35/2.8 even more so!

    Dana Fork
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    I also remain a huge fan of the [Minolta MD] 85mm, which took my mild telephoto shots to a new level.

    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Here's that thing I talked about: a panorama stitched together from portrait-orientated frames. With wider lenses sometimes the subject gets compressed, elongated or otherwise compromised. The stitches with the 85mm lens seem to come out very natural-looking and the resolution with this method is insane!! (I actually had to scale it down before saving a .tiff. But if you ever need a panoramic mural with the short edge almost 6000 pixels, this will get you there...)

    CA120 and Boundary Peak
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The MD 50mm/1.4 is not my favorite for any one purpose, but it comes on these trips because it's small and light and shares the same filter thread as my 35mm & 85mm. It doesn't exactly disappoint.

    Water Tank
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Garage Display
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Sometimes out in the open, the only way to really render what I'm seeing and feeling is a near-180º panorama stitch with a somewhat absurd aspect ratio.

    Owens Valley Panorama
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    I tried some ultra-wide stitches for this scene but a single frame with the 24mm beat them all out.

    Long Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    I admit, I incorporate the asphalt fairly often.

    Round Valley Road
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Lens speed was usually irrelevant on this trip, except for this telephoto shot where even at f/2.8 I had to wrestle between high ISO noise and star motion blur. (This was at 85mm - I think the stars would appear to stay still for me a little longer with wide angle.)

    Rovana, CA
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Here's one of my favorite road scene locations, shot by me several times now. (I'm not sure that the polarizer helped on this particular occasion - it certainly did darken the sky.)

    Pine Creek Road
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Here's a portrait frame stitch done with the 35mm. Came out very natural, I think. (Among other things, I love that the 35mm has very little distortion, which definitely helps a lot for this kind of thing.)

    Box Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    But, time and time again I found: stitching, good - one frame with the 24mm, better.

    The Other Long Lake
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    The Nikkor 24/2.8 also seems to do comparatively well with the sun in the frame. (Apparently Galen Rowell also used to feel so. I stopped at his gallery in Bishop for a second time BTW and was once again severely humbled and blown away. If you're ever in the area, take a quick break from the mountains - the light is going to suck in the early afternoon anyway - and check out that gallery.)

    Burney Falls
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    Lower Falls near McCloud, CA was already cluttered with humans and the light wasn't good. Fortunately, there was a worthy shot in the exact opposite direction! :D

    Lower Falls Tree Study
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    And the photos end with a telephoto vertical crop-o-rama of Middle Falls:

    Middle Falls
    by Jeff Addicott, on Flickr

    For those interested, there's a few extra shots I didn't include here in the Flickr gallery:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157646170332740/

    Overall impressions:

    • The Owens Valley floor is not quite so inviting in August. Better hiking & sleeping weather can be found, higher up.
    • The A7 is undeniably bulkier than the old NEX-7, but not enough so to be of concern on this, a dedicated photo expedition. (Maybe I'll finagle over the extra pound or so after I've gotten my own body down to a healthy range and updated the 20-year-old tripod...)
    • It's nice to FINALLY have a nice, solid 24mm solution handy. And unlike a couple of months ago where I accidentally left the 24mm at home, this time I really used it a lot!
    • A good telephoto zoom may eventually be in order. I love, love, love the 85mm but I could use a bit more reach, sometimes. (And 5 lenses is already plenty.)
    • I came back a few days too soon. (Next I'm in the Sierra and have some goofy minor work event on day 7, I'm going to cancel it...)

    That's about all for this time. Thanks for looking! (And if you're feeling at all jealous, you'll be comforted to know that I now have to go back to work and stay not-photo-busy for many long weeks...)
    • Like Like x 25
  2. GabrielPhoto

    GabrielPhoto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    This is a stunning collection! Thanks for sharing
    • Like Like x 1
  3. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Legend

    Oct 8, 2013
    BIG beautiful country for sure...and you have some great shots there.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Those are all excellent, but my favorite is "Long Lake". Just something about those sweeping views with the blue sky, background mountains, and foreground elements. Well done.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Stunning series Jeff, well done! :)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Really beautiful shots and a gorgeous area!
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Inspiring photos, Jeff! That part of the planet seems to bring out your best work.
  8. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
  9. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    May 10, 2013
    Yannis Marigo
    nice story and shots. thanks for sharing.

    Envoyé de mon iPhone à l'aide de TalkEmount
  10. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Amazing photos Jeff of an amazing place :thumbup: Can't really pick just a favorite out of these!
    Thanks very much for sharing ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Luiz Curcino

    Luiz Curcino TalkEmount Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    Uberlandia-MG Brasil
    Stunning set pictures! thanks for sharing.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    One could spend a life time in " them thar hills."

    Nice shots and write up.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Yadex

    Yadex TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 4, 2013
    New Jersey
    Really amazing !!!!!

    Sent from my iPad using TalkEmount
  14. Rollin

    Rollin TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Have you used the MD 24mm - If so how does the Nikkor compare?
  15. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    I have used the Rokkor 24mm. As much as I'd love the simplicity of roaming with just one lens system (like I did on the last little road trip) I find the Nikkor 24mm performs noticeably better. Less curvature, cleaner corners - in a recent direct A/B test at home, it just looked better, pretty much everywhere in the frame and in the test scene. 24mm got used a lot on this trip so I'm glad I brought the Nikkor.
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Gorgeous series, Jeff!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. mnhoj

    mnhoj TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 19, 2013
    Excellent series Jeff.
    Nice, smooth narrative too.

    I just got back from a Mammoth Lakes fishing/photo trip.
    Had a wonderful time.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Amazing Work Jeff.
    • Like Like x 1
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