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Archive for August, 2012

Fog is one of the best opportunity for photography.

Fog can add drama and/or mystery in a shot, you have to be out early because when the sun is up the fog will evaporate quite fast and the show will end.

I’m lucky to live in the Province of Quebec in Canada where we often have cold nights that are ideal for fog formation. Here it can happen most of the year, habitually you need a warm day followed by a cold night, even in winter when there is a big drop in temperature during the night, fog will form and also frost will hang on the trees adding another beautiful touch to the landscape.

Autumn is the best season for fog photography because the days or still warm and during the nights the temperature can drop very low and you can have fog and frost in the same shot!

This shot was taken in August on a cold morning on the shore of Lake Philippe in Gatineau Park, Province of Quebec, Canada. I waited until the sun was out to see how the scene would change, sometimes you’re lucky and get a good shot.

Pentax K20D, Pentax DA*50-135mm, Tripod.

Exposition can be tricky because your meter will try to make the fog grey, so you will have to compensate for that by dialing +1 or more depending on how much fog take place in your composition.

Another situation that is hard to expose is when the fog is lit by the sun, burning highlights can be easy. The “blinkie” on your LCD can help to see how much of the scene will be overexposed, some part might be overexposed but you don’t want to have all the fog to be too overexposed.

Here is an example of the sun rising behind the fog, the sensor can’t record the dynamic range of the entire scene, so you have to let the sun overexposed which is OK since we can’t see all that scene well exposed with our own eyes anyway.

Sony NEX-3, SMC Takumar 35mm/3.5, tripod.

An interesting thing about fog is that it will take the color temperature of the available light, at sunrise it can become orange and before sunrise it’s more gray or blue.

Here is a shot i took at sunrise, you can see that the fog took the color of the light at that time of the day.

Sony NEX-3, Sony Alpha 70-300mm G series, tripod.

Composition is important, if you fill the frame with fog you will not necessarily get a good shot, you will get a white frame, you need structure and if possible a strong foreground interest. Practice is the key for photography and particularly with fog, autumn is coming so it’s time to set your alarm clock, dress warm and get out with your camera. Back home after your photo session you will be able to look at your shots on your PC with a hot chocolate or coffee.

Some more shots.

Fog and frost in a field last autumn, not thick fog but enough to give a final touch to that shot.

Pentax K20D, Pentax DA* 50-135mm, tripod.

St-Lawrence river at sunrise with fog on the horizon.

Pentax K20D, Pentax DA* 50-135mm, tripod.

Fog can give a different look to your wildlife photos, those Canada geese looks more like a painting.

Pentax K20D, Pentax-67 M* 400mm/4, tripod.

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Pentax DA 35mm/2.8 Macro Limited.

The Pentax Limited lenses are well regarded among the Pentax shooters since the first FA Limited series lenses. The FA Ltd are faster than the DA Ltd which goal is to be smaller or pancake lenses. They are the modern incarnations of the old screwmount Takumar lenses, sure the Takumars were even better built but for modern lenses the Ltd are certainly different than most lenses produced these days where plastic is king. The DA35 Macro Ltd have a built-in metal lens hood, i like lenses with hood like that, and a beautiful metal front lens cap with velvet inside.

The DA35 Macro Ltd is my first, and only Ltd, that i own at the moment but i really like that lens. It’s a versatile lens since it can do landscape as well as Macro and it performs very well in both situations. If you buy it to do mainly Macro in the field, it’s not the best choice because of the close distance from the subject when you’re at the 1:1 repro ratio. For serious Macro i would choose the DFA 100mm Macro WR or the A*/FA* 200mm Macro.

Like i said, at the minimum focusing distance you’re almost touching your subject with the front of the lens, if i’m using that lens for photographing frogs i don’t use the built-in lens hood. I like the FOV that this lens gives to photos because you can see more of the background than with a longer Macro lens in the 100mm to 200mm range, but you have to careful that the background doesn’t look too busy and distract from your subject.

This shot above was taken with the DA35 Macro Ltd with aperture set at f/8. You can see that the background is too present and doesn’t help reading the photo, too distracting, even if i had selected f/4-5.6 the background would had still be too busy.

This shot was also taken with the DA35 Macro Ltd but this time at f/5.6 and i composed to eliminate the distractions in the background and it makes for a cleaner shot.

When you learn how to use that lens and control the background in your shots it will deliver beautiful photos with great colors and contrast. It also makes a good lens for landscape hpotography, it’s still plenty sharp for that purpose.

If you like metal lenses with great built quality and good manual focus feeling, then the Pentax Limited lenses are for you, sure they are not cheap but using such lenses is so much fun ! I will certainly buy at least another one of those Limited, pentax put a wide angle DA zoom Ltd on the roadmap that they showed for 2012/2013, hope that it will make it to production…. i will be one of the first to order one 🙂