Owen and Mitzy Visit the UK Part 3: Inverness, Loch Ness and Fortrose

After a week in England I took an 8 hour train up to Inverness in northern Scotland. Alison and Bobby Massie were wonderful hosts who took me into their home in Fortrose for my 3 day visit. Here are some photos from our day trip to Inverness, Loch Ness and the Clootie Well and my walk from Fairy Glen and along the Firth of Forth back to Fortrose.

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Owen and Mitzy Visit the UK Part 1: Cambridge and Brighton

Mitzy and I took a trip to England and Scotland this past May. While Mitzy had arrived a couple of weeks earlier, the first leg of our time together was in Cambridge, along with a jet lagged train ride to Brighton.

Picking the right photo equipment was a tough job but in the end I went with the D700, AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G.  Too much weight to carry all together for an outing but not bad if I left a lens or two at the flat.

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Uncle George Runs 100,000 Miles

This morning my uncle George, who has been running since 1967, ran his 100,000th mile. That’s a bit over four times around the world! To celebrate he called on all of his running friends to be with him as he hit this amazing milestone.

You can read a great article here.

Naturally, I celebrated by taking a photo.  Below I show two versions of the same scene. The first is with the Nikon AF-S 18-35mm G at 18mm on the D300s. The second is a panorama of 7 shots with the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC on the D700…. a drastically different perspective.

Which do you prefer?

D300s with Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G at 18mm

D300s with Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G at 18mm

D700 with Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. 7 shot stitched panorama.

D700 with Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. 7 shot stitched panorama.

Ice Storm Engagement Session with Kaitlin and Sean and Alice

On the morning of the recent ice storm I had the pleasure meeting up with Kaitlin and Sean (and their daughter Alice) for an engagement shoot. We first had some fun indoors with some shots in the front window… thanks so much to Kaitlin’s family for letting me dismantle the entire living room (including all the perfectly arranged gifts) to make room. I shot natural light only and used the gold side of a large reflector propped up on a chair to add some fill against the extreme backlight.

After the indoor shots we braved the icy outdoors. These photos really don’t do justice to how absolutely treacherous it was and I give much respect to Kaitlin and Sean for managing to look so relaxed and natural while fighting to stay standing. Also for being so brave despite branches and trees falling in the near vicinity.

I shot with the D700 and made full use of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8. I even managed to squeeze in an icy Brenizer method pano.

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Visiting TRIUMF, Vancouver – November, 2013

During my trip to Vancouver I spent the day at TRIUMF, BC’s Cyclotron particle accelerator. I’d worked at TRIUMF 10 years ago so it was naturally exciting for me to make my first trip back since moving back to Waterloo… and of course I had to bring my camera along. The main building at TRIUMF (the Meson Hall) houses the Cyloctron, under a stack of concrete blocks, and multiple beam lines feeding experiments. As you’ll see, the magnetic field from the Cyclotron is so strong that paper clips stand on end, aligned to the field.

D700 with Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G and AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G Micro.

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A Trip To Vancouver – November, 2013

I recently visited Vancouver, a city that I lived in 10 years ago while on an 8 month co-op work term. I found the whole trip pretty nostalgic and I took advantage of the excellent weather to check out my old house walk around the waterfront, downtown and Stanley Park. On my last day I joined fellow photographer Ilia for a and hike up Quarry Rock in North Van. Thanks so much to Fern and Dave, Lisa and Marianne and Rebecca and Andrew for the excellent dinners!

I took the D700 with me along with the Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G and AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G Micro. Here are some of my favourite shots that resulted.

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Quarry Rock

Quarry Rock

HDR of the view from Quarry Rock

HDR of the view from Quarry Rock

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Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 Show and Tell

In the past month I’ve sold off the majority of my DX lenses. The fantastic Tokina 11-16/2.8. The go-anywhere 35/1.8. The reliable and bullet-proof 17-55/2.8. And the D7000. I just didn’t have the money and space to have redundant systems. What I was left with was four prime lenses covering a range of 35 to 85mm, not exactly a dire situation as these are the focal lengths I have always used the most. Still, I needed something wider than 35mm. My choices were:

  • The affordable, small, light Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 with no VR, no nanocoating, no constant aperture.
  • The middle man Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR N, a lens with mixed reviews but with great build quality.
  • The Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8, a fast and affordable lens.
  • The ultimate. The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 N. This lens truly is the best wide angle lens you can buy for any system. But it’s big, heavy, bulbous.

What I’ve realized in collecting lenses is that the famous saying is completely true. The best lens is the one you have with you. Sure, I could have invested the money and bought the 14-24. But it’s size and weight would keep it out of my camera bag for most of the times I would want a wide-angle lens: when traveling or hiking.  Instead I chose the new 18-35, a lens that costs and weighs less than half that of the 14-24. And I have no regrets.

The 18-35 weighs less than my f/1.4 primes and it’s about the same size. It’s as sharp as I would ever want. AF is fast enough and completely reliable. The negative features of the lens, some distortion and vignetting, are easily fixed in post processing. Chromatic aberrations are negligible.

This is a lens that I can keep in my camera bag without feeling weighted down. I can see bringing it with me on every adventure I take.

Here are a few shots with the D700.

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