Chasing the Winter Solstice

I’ve never liked English winters. They’re dark, rainy, and cold. I wouldn’t mind if they were sunny and cold, but they’re not. However, this December has proved me wrong;  it’s been beautiful!!

The winter solstice was the clincher. The sunrise was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and I snatched up my camera and took a few quick snaps just to show the world :) It really did look like this! No added saturation or altered colour balance in sight, I just altered the curves and clarity in Lightroom.

Winter Solstice Sunrise-1

Afterwards, we headed up to Bradgate Park near Leicester. It had become very cloudy, but from time to time there were fleeting bands of sunshine racing across the land. The colours were just gorgeous. In another few seconds it would be gone again. The land was an amazing combination of barren and beautiful.

Solstice Sunrise Deer-3

Solstice Sunrise Deer-1

Solstice Sunrise Deer-6

Solstice Sunrise Deer-5

The sun comes out properly for a few moments…

Solstice Sunrise Deer-2

Fenton! The white blob in the photo below is a hyperactive spaniel. I couldn’t resist :)

Solstice Sunrise Deer-4

10 thoughts on “Chasing the Winter Solstice

      1. I got rid of all my DSLR kit about two years ago (Canon EOS 10D and various Canon L lenses) as I found I was leaving it at home most of the time in preference to a compact mirrorless which I could pocket.

        I’ve tried various mirrorless models since then from the Canon G11 and Ricoh GXR to the Leica X1 before setting on the Fuji X100 for the past few months which I really like – there’s just a quality to the images it produces, I can’t exactly say what – maybe quite film-like. Having said that, there are times when I wish I hadn’t got rid of the DSLR kit – that’s always the case and I could kick myself when I think of how little I sold it for!

        The reality is that there’s no single camera that can cover all areas so I’ve more or less come around to the idea of keeping the X100 and picking up another EOS – I almost went for a Mk11 just a few months ago – and then of course, the Mk111 came out just at the wrong moment – so I guess I’ve upsold myself! Did I recall reading that you’d made the jump from Mk11 and found the 111 far superior?

        What lenses do you use? Do find yourself leaning to a particular one more than others? I had a few but almost always used the 17-40 but I think I’d be tempted to get two or three primes and maybe a macro next time. Not cheap though! G

  1. Ah, I see! Yes, I miss the compact-ness of mirrorless cameras, especially when wanting to remain light and inconspicuous!

    I moved from the mark 1 to the mark 3 having never properly used a mark 2, which meant the the difference was very noticeable for me. The focussing system must be the biggest change between the mark 3 and both the mark 1 and 2, and the new system is fantastic! Plus, having read a lot of reviews about them all, there are a lot of little subtle changes between the mark 2 and 3, such as the shutter lag being a lot less, and you can really feel them. This is one of the most extensive reviews I’ve seen about it and other similar models, where you can find all such details :)

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-DSLR-Camera-Review.aspx

    I only own a 70-200 2.8 and a 50mm 1.8, and I use them both an awful lot. Even though it’s a brick, I probably use the 70-200 more because I love the bokeh and focal range. In the next month or two I will be getting a 24-70, as I use the wider focal lengths a lot too (and usually borrow my friends one!). Can’t decide whether to get the mark I or mark II version, though! I’ve heard a lot of good things about the new one, but I can’t help but remember the £700 or so price difference!

    I’ve used the 100mm 2.8 L macro and it really is amazing. You might have seen a blog post of mine where I took photos of my degus (overgrown furry gerbils, basically!) with one. They are small, very fast and I was in dimly lit room, and the lens dealt with the whole situation fantastically! Unfortunately I didn’t get to shoot any portraits with it but I would love to at some point. I do really likes primes and how they make you think about your positioning a lot more, but for me the convenience of having so many focal lengths available all at once in one piece of glass outweighs that – especially when I’m on the go :)

    Hope you had a lovely new year, sorry for my very delayed reply!

  2. Hi Justine! Thanks for the extensive reply, and the link to the review, I’ll check that out later. But from what you said (and what I’ve read elsewhere) I think the Mk111 seems the better bet – just down to the cash really!

    Yes, I did see your ‘gerbil’ macro shots – excellent quality, and that would be something I’d like to get as well at some point – initially though I guess it would be something along the lines of your set up with a decent zoom and maybe a 35 or 50mm prime – and a wide angle of course! Mmm, sounding a bit like a small mortgage to cover that lot!

    Looking forward to seeing your upcoming shots anyway, so I’ll check back in from time to time, and I’ll get back to you if I have any more kit queries if that’s OK!

    Have a good new year and successful 2013!
    Greg

    1. Thanks! Actually, I’m back again asking! I was wondering if you’d thought about/tried any of the higher end micro four-thirds kit before going for the 5D? As I mentioned before, it was the size of the 10D I had that eventually led to me leaving it at home a lot of the time in favour of my smaller Canon G11 mirrorless camera at the time.

      I’ve also been giving some thought to the Olympus OM-D or possibly the Fuji XE-1/or Pro which are all interchangeable lens systems and get very good reviews (and cheaper) but don’t come with the bulk of the 5D – obviously though the sensors are APSC rather than full frame so you lose on that side of things (but full frame, if it’s going to be left at home much of the time, doesn’t make much difference!)

      Thoughts/experience?!

      Greg

  3. Hi! No, I didn’t look at anything but DSLRs when I first got my 5D. Before the 5D I had a Sony compact (which was pretty good actually!), but nothing near the standard of the ones you’re looking at. My friend uses a similar olympus model and her photos come out beautifully.. so much so that sometimes I wonder where the extra £1000 or so I put into my camera went to!!

    I think the most important thing to consider when getting a camera is what you want it for. What do you want to photograph, why do you want to photograph it, and what is your approach? If you travel a lot, but the photography is second to the experience, then the ease and mobility/portability of a mirrorless camera is perfect. If you travel a lot, but specifically with the aim to take beautiful photographs and produce large prints or even sell them commercially, then the larger sensor and resolution of a DSLR might be more suitable.

    Ultimately, though, great light and great subjects make a stunning photo. I’ve taken images on my 5D3 that are so mediocre you would never have guessed that they were taken with one (and I’d be slightly embarrassed to admit they were)! And many photos taken with compact cameras put mine to shame!

    When things like the 5D3 really *do* come into their own, however, is when you’re faced with difficult lighting situations – such as at gigs, night time/low light, sports/action, shooting into the sun, etc. As more of an editorial photographer/documenter this happens to me quite frequently – much more so than say a commerical photographer who has more control over the situations they are in. My 5D3 has got me out of a LOT of sticky situations for its ability to shoot well in difficult light, and the main reason why I love it is because of the trust I have in it to be able to handle almost anything that comes its way (and that, I guess, is where the extra £1000 comes in).

    I hope all that rambling helps!

    1. Hi Justine, thanks for the extensive reply again – some interesting and useful points there. Funny the comment you make about taking mediocre images with a great camera – I was thinking that only a day or two ago as I was looking through some shots and wondering how I’d managed to make them so boring!

      As you say it’s about identifying just what you’re going to use it for – and I think the most salient point your raise is in your last lines about having trust in it – I’ve shot stuff on the mirrorless that was perhaps ‘OK’ that I know for a fact I would have absolutely nailed on a DSLR and been able to focus properly and seen what I was getting – as I’m not a professional photographer that doesn’t matter most of the time but there are shots I’ve missed because the focus has been slightly out or I’ve locked onto the wrong part of the image so I don’t have that trust – whether it’s worth spending upwards of £3k to achieve that is another matter though! G

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Chasing the Winter Solstice

I’ve never liked English winters. They’re dark, rainy, and cold. I wouldn’t mind if they were sunny and cold, but they’re not. However, this December has proved me wrong;  it’s been beautiful!!

The winter solstice was the clincher. The sunrise was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and I snatched up my camera and took a few quick snaps just to show the world :) It really did look like this! No added saturation or altered colour balance in sight, I just altered the curves and clarity in Lightroom.

Winter Solstice Sunrise-1

Afterwards, we headed up to Bradgate Park near Leicester. It had become very cloudy, but from time to time there were fleeting bands of sunshine racing across the land. The colours were just gorgeous. In another few seconds it would be gone again. The land was an amazing combination of barren and beautiful.

Solstice Sunrise Deer-3

Solstice Sunrise Deer-1

Solstice Sunrise Deer-6

Solstice Sunrise Deer-5

The sun comes out properly for a few moments…

Solstice Sunrise Deer-2

Fenton! The white blob in the photo below is a hyperactive spaniel. I couldn’t resist :)

Solstice Sunrise Deer-4

10 thoughts on “Chasing the Winter Solstice

      1. I got rid of all my DSLR kit about two years ago (Canon EOS 10D and various Canon L lenses) as I found I was leaving it at home most of the time in preference to a compact mirrorless which I could pocket.

        I’ve tried various mirrorless models since then from the Canon G11 and Ricoh GXR to the Leica X1 before setting on the Fuji X100 for the past few months which I really like – there’s just a quality to the images it produces, I can’t exactly say what – maybe quite film-like. Having said that, there are times when I wish I hadn’t got rid of the DSLR kit – that’s always the case and I could kick myself when I think of how little I sold it for!

        The reality is that there’s no single camera that can cover all areas so I’ve more or less come around to the idea of keeping the X100 and picking up another EOS – I almost went for a Mk11 just a few months ago – and then of course, the Mk111 came out just at the wrong moment – so I guess I’ve upsold myself! Did I recall reading that you’d made the jump from Mk11 and found the 111 far superior?

        What lenses do you use? Do find yourself leaning to a particular one more than others? I had a few but almost always used the 17-40 but I think I’d be tempted to get two or three primes and maybe a macro next time. Not cheap though! G

  1. Ah, I see! Yes, I miss the compact-ness of mirrorless cameras, especially when wanting to remain light and inconspicuous!

    I moved from the mark 1 to the mark 3 having never properly used a mark 2, which meant the the difference was very noticeable for me. The focussing system must be the biggest change between the mark 3 and both the mark 1 and 2, and the new system is fantastic! Plus, having read a lot of reviews about them all, there are a lot of little subtle changes between the mark 2 and 3, such as the shutter lag being a lot less, and you can really feel them. This is one of the most extensive reviews I’ve seen about it and other similar models, where you can find all such details :)

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-DSLR-Camera-Review.aspx

    I only own a 70-200 2.8 and a 50mm 1.8, and I use them both an awful lot. Even though it’s a brick, I probably use the 70-200 more because I love the bokeh and focal range. In the next month or two I will be getting a 24-70, as I use the wider focal lengths a lot too (and usually borrow my friends one!). Can’t decide whether to get the mark I or mark II version, though! I’ve heard a lot of good things about the new one, but I can’t help but remember the £700 or so price difference!

    I’ve used the 100mm 2.8 L macro and it really is amazing. You might have seen a blog post of mine where I took photos of my degus (overgrown furry gerbils, basically!) with one. They are small, very fast and I was in dimly lit room, and the lens dealt with the whole situation fantastically! Unfortunately I didn’t get to shoot any portraits with it but I would love to at some point. I do really likes primes and how they make you think about your positioning a lot more, but for me the convenience of having so many focal lengths available all at once in one piece of glass outweighs that – especially when I’m on the go :)

    Hope you had a lovely new year, sorry for my very delayed reply!

  2. Hi Justine! Thanks for the extensive reply, and the link to the review, I’ll check that out later. But from what you said (and what I’ve read elsewhere) I think the Mk111 seems the better bet – just down to the cash really!

    Yes, I did see your ‘gerbil’ macro shots – excellent quality, and that would be something I’d like to get as well at some point – initially though I guess it would be something along the lines of your set up with a decent zoom and maybe a 35 or 50mm prime – and a wide angle of course! Mmm, sounding a bit like a small mortgage to cover that lot!

    Looking forward to seeing your upcoming shots anyway, so I’ll check back in from time to time, and I’ll get back to you if I have any more kit queries if that’s OK!

    Have a good new year and successful 2013!
    Greg

    1. Thanks! Actually, I’m back again asking! I was wondering if you’d thought about/tried any of the higher end micro four-thirds kit before going for the 5D? As I mentioned before, it was the size of the 10D I had that eventually led to me leaving it at home a lot of the time in favour of my smaller Canon G11 mirrorless camera at the time.

      I’ve also been giving some thought to the Olympus OM-D or possibly the Fuji XE-1/or Pro which are all interchangeable lens systems and get very good reviews (and cheaper) but don’t come with the bulk of the 5D – obviously though the sensors are APSC rather than full frame so you lose on that side of things (but full frame, if it’s going to be left at home much of the time, doesn’t make much difference!)

      Thoughts/experience?!

      Greg

  3. Hi! No, I didn’t look at anything but DSLRs when I first got my 5D. Before the 5D I had a Sony compact (which was pretty good actually!), but nothing near the standard of the ones you’re looking at. My friend uses a similar olympus model and her photos come out beautifully.. so much so that sometimes I wonder where the extra £1000 or so I put into my camera went to!!

    I think the most important thing to consider when getting a camera is what you want it for. What do you want to photograph, why do you want to photograph it, and what is your approach? If you travel a lot, but the photography is second to the experience, then the ease and mobility/portability of a mirrorless camera is perfect. If you travel a lot, but specifically with the aim to take beautiful photographs and produce large prints or even sell them commercially, then the larger sensor and resolution of a DSLR might be more suitable.

    Ultimately, though, great light and great subjects make a stunning photo. I’ve taken images on my 5D3 that are so mediocre you would never have guessed that they were taken with one (and I’d be slightly embarrassed to admit they were)! And many photos taken with compact cameras put mine to shame!

    When things like the 5D3 really do come into their own, however, is when you’re faced with difficult lighting situations – such as at gigs, night time/low light, sports/action, shooting into the sun, etc. As more of an editorial photographer/documenter this happens to me quite frequently – much more so than say a commerical photographer who has more control over the situations they are in. My 5D3 has got me out of a LOT of sticky situations for its ability to shoot well in difficult light, and the main reason why I love it is because of the trust I have in it to be able to handle almost anything that comes its way (and that, I guess, is where the extra £1000 comes in).

    I hope all that rambling helps!

    1. Hi Justine, thanks for the extensive reply again – some interesting and useful points there. Funny the comment you make about taking mediocre images with a great camera – I was thinking that only a day or two ago as I was looking through some shots and wondering how I’d managed to make them so boring!

      As you say it’s about identifying just what you’re going to use it for – and I think the most salient point your raise is in your last lines about having trust in it – I’ve shot stuff on the mirrorless that was perhaps ‘OK’ that I know for a fact I would have absolutely nailed on a DSLR and been able to focus properly and seen what I was getting – as I’m not a professional photographer that doesn’t matter most of the time but there are shots I’ve missed because the focus has been slightly out or I’ve locked onto the wrong part of the image so I don’t have that trust – whether it’s worth spending upwards of £3k to achieve that is another matter though! G

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s