More From The Forty

The more photos I edit from Thursday’s jaunt down to the antique district, the more I understand why people over at Phoblographer are enthusiastic about the Canon 40mm pancake lens. I also had to get past the boredom of going over the shots from this particular part of town because, as I think I mentioned last time, good deals to be had there or no, it isn’t very photogenic:

See what I mean (and how did I miss cropping out that pole)?

The feature of this lens that gets the most raves (aside from the light weight and unobtrusive size) is its clarity, something I wasn’t particularly looking for when shooting candids of people at my nieces’ graduation party, but I admit when looking over the photos from this set I was struck by how sharp they came out:

Every time I go to Historic Rosenberg I take a photo of this wall 

Another oft-photographed and nicely-detailed building; too bad I managed to turn the sky brown when color-correcting it 

I did come across a store I hadn’t photographed a million times already; it’s a new store that sells contemporary furniture and clothes rather than the antiques (ie, junk) most of the other stores sell. I popped in to see what  they had going on, but it didn’t interest me – lots of big metal Stars of Texas and slogans burned into driftwood and clothes with rhinestones, that kind of thing.

Oh, and cowhides.

The area all around these few blocks of shops is pretty run-down, and although it tries to make itself presentable, there just isn’t much in the way of foliage or character to give it panache. The historical society is always doing things to promote the area, though, including restoring this historic home:

Pretty, no?

Well no, actually.

I’m not sure how this home will be used once it’s completed, but if it’s going to be residential they’ll have to seriously watch the kids when they’re in the backyard. That’s how this area has always been: come across one pretty structure and you’re sure to find something industrial and/or run-down right next to it. But they keep trying. And if you ever get tired of it and don’t know how to get out, they also sell these at a reasonable price:

Click your heels together and a bunch of sequins fall off.

So, this ended up being a post more about Rosenberg than my 40mm lens, but the two have some things in common. They’re small, they’re functional, they’re good deal-oriented, and they have more going on beneath the surface than you might think. Suffice it to say I like both of them just fine.


11 thoughts on “More From The Forty

  1. I like the red/green quality of these pictures, which I assume you emphasized in processing? And, I assume also that the 40 mm pancake is a prime lens (and I get that it is small and light)? I am beginning to appreciate prime lenses. We were out yesterday and I had the Nikon with the 35 mm, which at first I thought was limiting.

    But now I see the advantage of it. For one thing, I was picking up light better, without the flash, on Manual. And, the photographs (at least on the viewer) looked really clear and vivid, both indoors and out. The pancake probably makes it easier to slip into your purse, when that is an advantage. The weight is germane because I know I walk around with the camera on my neck all day and when it has a large lens, like the telephoto or the fish eye, weight becomes an issue.

    • I did a quick color-correction but that’s it. And yes, the 40mm is a fixed focal point, which is one thing that throws me in walkabout situations. I generally find life easier with a zoom, but that adds weight, so I have been trying to get used to working with such a standard length. It really is super-light on the SL1 – I could shoot steadily with one hand.

      • Now that I think of it, very few were out of focus even though I was shooting very quickly and one-handed. It’s a pretty fast lens at f/2 so that helps and of course there was plenty of light. And the kicker, of course, is this lens was a whopping $150! So cheap for such a good lens! So yeah I am starting to see the benefits of it. At least I know enough not to trust my instincts sometimes about these things, LOL.

      • Well, here is something that just clicked in my head: our computers and WordPress or Flickr may be distorting the colors. We were out yesterday shooting with both cameras and I was really thrilled with how the Nikon with the 35 mm did – no yellow, totally vivid and sharp indoors or out, on auto focus without any flash. So, none of the problems I saw when I loaded those interior store shots to WP. Perhaps in parallel, on my end, this batch of pictures you put up here, lean red. I am wondering, after we go to all this trouble (and my RAW pictures took up a whopping 25 gigs on my current hard drive, so Geoffrey is out right now getting a 3 terabyte external drive for my photograph, because we can see the future now), we load it to Flickr or WP and those programs along with people’s varying monitors/the internet, reduce the quality anyway. What are your thought? (btw, I am always wordy.)

        • I do think the best way to avoid that is to calibrate your monitor on occasion to be sure you are seeing the most accurate image on your screen. But I don’t know that this means others will see what you intend. I think it’s a part of the digital world to accept that it might not be the case? I have only calibrated my monitor once and probably should do it again – I admit that I am weird enough to only care about what I see on my screen and not worry about what others see – pretty stupid really. BUt I have viewed my photos on other people’s computers and they always look fine. Still I should figure out how to calibrate again.

      • OK, well, now I just realized, duh. We have other computers. My ultrabook, Geoffrey’s laptop and the new computer, which is coming next week. I can just look at my Flickr page there. And you are looking at your pictures on other computers, so I guess it is not a big issue. I just can’t understand why everything was yellow the other day on WP and not one out of about 1000 pictures we shot yesterday had that problem. I put Geoffrey on the Canon (he did a mixed job, some of it rather humorous — he also said it made him very tired, lol) — neither of us had anything too yellow.

    • When editing the RAW file (although Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop will allow you to do this as a JPEG file too) there is a program in Photo Ninja that allows me to take a little dropper tool and click on either a white or gray part of the photo and it will “correct” the color using that data to get as close to the actual colors the eye sees as possible. Auto White Balance within the camera is always trying to do this, but especially in mixed-light situations (like anywhere indoors) it often fails. I can get WAY too obsessed with proper white balance, given that most people end up putting a filter on their photos that turns everyone green anyway…sorry if I just said way more than you needed, I am feeling wordy today for some reason.

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