Sunday, June 05, 2022

Spring Trees, Long View

Woodbury, Connecticut

For years I've loved to photograph the onset of the Spring season. There are wonderful contrasts between the delicate new foliage and flowers against the stark, bare, trunks and branches of the trees that bloom later.

This is one of the rare times that I use longer than normal lenses. It's not so much that the trees are difficult to approach closely, but that the effect I want comes from backing away and using a long lens for a compressed perspective. I have a Lumix 35-100 Varifocal II (this is for Micro 4/3s and so roughly equivalent to 70-200 in traditional 35mm format) which is a stunning performer and produced most of the spring trees pictures I've been posting here. But I've wanted to push the compression effect farther.

I also have an older Lumix 45-200 (~equivalent 90-400), a relatively inexpensive lens that punches far above its weight class with some subjects. However, when I've tried to use it for the spring trees, it doesn't pan out. The whole point of these pictures is the picky detail, and that's where it fails. The tight pattern of detail looks totally "digitized" and shows almost a paisley pattern. I think the problem is that the lens has all sorts of aberrations which are automatically "fixed" in software. This just doesn't work for picky detail.

Some weeks ago, thinking about Spring, it occured to me that my 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, bought in the early 80s, would be an e~360mm f/2.8 used on 4/3s format. A visit to the B&H website showed that I could get an adapter for $35. I'd never gotten adapters for my M-4/3s cameras to use my Leitz and Nikkor lenses before this, because almost all the time I want a normal or shorter focal length. The converted short lenses would be no use to me with their focal length effectively doubled. I'm happy with this small investment. The 180's resolution is right up there with the pro 35-100, and the bokeh beyond the point of focus is smooth. This is one of my test shots with it.

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