3 August 2016
When Commando bought me the fancy pants camera it had two lenses with it, 18-55mm and 55-200mm. Camera buffs will understand exactly what this means but, frankly, it meant nothing to me other than the longer lens was for taking pictures of things further away. Learning to use the camera at all was a steep enough learning curve without adding extra lenses into the equation so I left the 55-200mm lens in the box and concentrated on getting used to the 18-55mm lens and the workings of the camera in general. Today it was time to get the long lens out of the box.
Commando was going ever so slightly stir crazy being unable to run, or even walk very far. Since he’s been injured he’s been talking about getting a bike for cross training and to use while he’s recovering. After much research and a few words with Russ who has been riding his bike while he’s injured, he was ready to bite the bullet even though his ankle wasn’t up to bike riding yet. The bike shop was in Totton and he suggested I go along, take the long lens and maybe take some photos of the Test estuary from Redbridge on the way back.
After a few issues changing the blasted lens, mostly because the protective cap on the 55-200mm one was on so tight I thought it had been welded on there, we were off. It wasn’t long before I was bored of all the bike talk and I wasn’t really needed in the shop so I took myself and my camera outside. Across the road there was a gate with a view over the fields bordering the Test estuary. It was time to put the lens to the test.
There were some cows in the field. They looked like good subjects and I was quickly impressed by how well the lens zoomed in. Mostly I like my cows at a distance, the further the better. The lens gave me some nice crisp close ups without having to get within trampling distance.
A little further off there were some other cows. These ones had long, scary looking horns. They may have been bulls. One of them gave me a bit of a stare but soon seemed to realise I was too far away to be of any consequence. Even so, the camera did a great job of capturing their long auburn hair.
After a bit I got bored with cows and began to look around to see what else there was of interest. Beside the gate there was a small stream, more like a moat really. Looking along it I could see Old Redbridge and the flats in Milbrook. The camera could see them much better.
The downside of the long lens came when I tried to take some photos of the flowers and seed heads in the verge beside the gate. It didn’t take long to discover I needed to be much further away from my subject than I’m used to. There were a lot of false starts and bad photos. It seemed much easier with the shorter lense, more like the iPhone. Then again, I can see the advantage of being able to capture a close up from a greater distance. More practice is needed I think.
Before I went back to the bike shop to see how Commando was getting on I took a couple more cow shots. This time from the verge beside the gate. It was getting a little blowy, which may have had some bearing on my lack of success with the flowers, and I liked the way the camera captured the movement of the waving reeds and grasses.
A bike had been more or less purchased by the time I returned. It wasn’t actually in stock but it had been ordered, along with all sorts of accoutrements. The amount of things you need to buy with a bike are mind boggling, special pedals, special shorts, helmets (obviously essential) special shoes…
We did stop off on Old Redbridge on the way home. We parked up and walked slowly to the old bridge and the boundary stone. Slow is the only speed Commando can manage at the moment. I took a few photos looking over the estuary but, sadly, there was no wildlife today. Another downside of the long less became rather obvious at this point. There was no way I could zoom out enough to get the landscape shots I wanted. In the end I concentrated on the pub across the railway line. It made for a better subject for zooming in.
Then we walked back across the bridge to the car with a final stop to zoom in on the cranes of the docks on the opposite side of the flyover. All in all I’d say my first outing with the long lens was a success, although, for my normal walks, I think the 18-55mm is more practical, mostly because it’s better for zooming out to take landscape shots and getting up close and personal with the flowers. Even so, I don’t think this will be my last adventure with the long lens.
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