Thanks, Judy. 🙂 I want to do some more work like this…haven’t had a chance lately due to work. The day I took these, it was’t really windy, a storm had moved in and it was getting ready to rain. I was hoping to test out the full dynamic range of the A7r compared to my 5D III (the A7r has a lot more, better for high contrast scenes that might need more highlight and shadow recovery)…but the storm dulled everything up and reduced contrast. I had rented the A7r, and did not want it to go to waste…so I went out hunting for a different kind of subject to photograph. That’s when I found Picnic Grove, and all these rusted old tractors and everything. The light was very diffuse because of the clouds, which resulted in all the amazing shading on everything.
Picnic Grove| 13 images
A couple of weeks back, I visited my parents up in the Rocky Mountains. They live well back, a short distance from the Indian Peaks range in the Colorado Rockies. I finished off my teen years in that house, over a decade ago now. It’s a beautiful area up there, one which, sadly I did not see much of when I was younger. (I was a die-hard computer geek, and I spent 90% of my life playing around with computers…ah, what I would give to go back to that time and start photography back then!) Living up there for so many years, I never knew about the picnic grove just 15 steps down the road from my parents drive way. I’ve driven past it many hundreds of times over the years, and always assumed the space was an empty lot.
Well, a couple weekends ago, as the light was fading and a storm was racing in, I was looking for things to photograph, and I discovered the grove. I first noticed one of those old tractors…the really old, rusted ones with spoked wheels and interesting machinery and mechanics. The stuff you sometimes see arrayed outside a ranch nestled deep in rural country. The grove was packed with tiny little baby Aspen trees, which gave for an interesting contrast. So I started taking pictures, of the tractors at first, then eventually some of the interesting little bits of scenery strewn about.
The pictures are in full color, however as I was processing, I just sort of ended up with the faint duotone grayscale version. I don’t do black and white very often, however I thought it was a particular compliment for these images. Once all color is gone, you have a lot more freedom to play with contrast, at many levels. The nuances of detail and contrast that can be found in small spaces is nearly endless.
On another note, I should point out that these photos were not taken with my usual cameras. I rented a Sony A7r to give it a test run. A MetaBones adapter was used to allow the use of my Canon EF lenses. These photos were all taken with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens. All of these photos benefited from that camera’s superior image quality, pixel count, and sharpness. The soft shadow falloff is a particular trait I really love…smooth and clean.
The 6D is a fairly capable camera. It’s actually a bit more capable than the 5D II, but it lacks the nice AF features of the 5D III. That said, I picked up my 5D III off the Canon refurb store for $2600. It’s in perfect shape, and the reason I went with it was I’d asked a couple other photographer friends about the quality of their Canon refurb stuff…apparently gear from there ends up getting more rigorous testing and vetting than most brand spankin new products right off the assembly line, so they tend to be in top-notch shape. With the 5Ds announced, and the 5D IV rumored to be arriving sometime third or fourth quarter, you should be able to find really good deals on a 5D III. For birds, the AF system is really, REALLY nice. It’s probably it’s best feature. The high ISO performance is also very good (although the 6D actually performs even better at high ISO).
The A7r is definitely more of a landscape camera than a bird camera. It is a very, very nice camera for that purpose, and it obviously does very well on most kinds of still photography. When it comes to action, though, I would actually explicitly warn you away from the A7r. To actually get maximum performance out of the A7r’s AF system, you need Sony lenses. To my knowledge, they do not (yet) have anything really well suited for birds or wildlife. I don’t think it would be an ideal camera for you, since birds are one of your things. I would say the 5D III or 6D would be better for you, and wouldn’t require any extra investment in lenses. (Plus, you wouldn’t have to break your loyalties….yet. ;P)
I just think these pictures a terribly fine! I think texture shots look great in black and white or toned treatments. And these are really interesting. You said it was very windy?