The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

hung about

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More experimentation with my new lens, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal, Jiminy the Parrot, is a ham. He’s also a great and cooperative subject when I’m trying to crack out some shots. Jiminy also hosts a wealth of fine detail in the green suit he always seems to be wearing, which makes him an excellent subject as far as testing out how a lens might perform as as far as rendering detail and color. It seems every piece of glass that you stick on your camera sees the world in its own way, and learning the way that my new Sigma 50-100 thinks and visualizes things is integral to the decision about whether or not it is a permanent addition to my kit.

At the moment, I’m loving the thing although it is damned heavy and there has been a bit of a learning curve as to how to best employ it. The lens itself weighs nearly four pounds, which is the equivalent of at least a couple of parrots. Add in the camera, and I’m waving about 5-6 pounds of gear around for hours at a pop. Doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of an average day – it adds up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, the Sigma “art” series lenses have a real predilection towards rendering colors in a hyper saturated manner which can be somewhat reminiscent of the four color world of comic books. This fits my visual sensibility, but for those of you out there who prefer muted color and heavy saturated blacks in your shots, this might be a deal breaker. That’s Astoria’s Broadway in the shot above, just east of Steinway Street, if you’re curious. The lens isn’t “all the way” open, instead it’s at f2.8. I could have doubled the ISO and narrowed the lens down to f5.6 to create a bit more of an “infinite” hyper focal range, but wanted to see what a shallower depth of field would do.

Going back to the “heavy” issue, I had been carrying the thing around all day and noticed that a slight fatigue tremor was present in my right arm. The good news, of course, is that I can use the extra exercise. The bad news is that my right arm is going to tone up to accommodate the extra carry while my left hangs there uselessly and will end up looking like a little tyrannosaur limb in comparison. Guess I’ll have to just carry around a gallon of milk or something with the left as I wander about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The virtue of this device, of course, is in the wide open side of it for usage in low light situations. The shot above is handheld and captured at ISO 800 at f1.8. It’s also Broadway in Astoria, and depicts the corner that HQ is found on. Since the night shots are what I’m interesting in pursuing this fall and winter, rather than brightly lit daytime shots of Jiminy the Parrot, the shot above is pretty promising as far as what this piece of glass is capable of.

Weather permitting, I’m planning on making a late night pot of coffee pretty soon and putting on one of my orange safety vests in preparation for an “all nighter” wandering around the industrial zones and concrete devastations surrounding that legendary exemplar of Municpal neglect known as the Newtown Creek.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

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