Writing with Light

Sunday Reflections & Lessons Learned

I learned something this past week which I think merits a share. My go to, everyday lens has been, for the last few years, my Sigma 18 – 200mm. It’s served me well. In the last month or so I’ve been somewhat disappointed with some of my images. They’ve been soft and at times completely out of focus. In a lot of instances I had been shooting with the camera on a tripod and I attributed the softness of the images to windy conditions. I was convinced I needed a sturdier tripod. A couple of weeks ago I took pictures during a family gathering. I downloaded the images to my computer and started processing them with the intent of emailing them to family. Most of them were not sharp. I then thought that my eyesight was getting poorer…I would need to make an appointment to get a stronger prescription for my eyeglasses.

Last weekend, as you know, I went out for a sunrise shoot in High Park. I shot early with the camera mounted on my tripod using my 18 – 200mm lens.  Later that morning I changed to my new Tamron 90mm Macro lens. When I was processing my images later in the week the first set taken with my zoom lens were a disappointment.  The images taken with my Macro and my wide-angle lens were fine. Finally the bell in my head went off. Maybe it wasn’t my eyesight after all, maybe I hadn’t lost it as a photographer…maybe it was the lens. On Thursday I brought my Sigma in to be checked out. As soon as the technician started to examine the lens he showed me that with the zoom extended the front barrel was loose. It seems that one of the internal rollers was probably cracked. He asked if I had dropped my camera…nope! Had I dropped the lens…nope. I had not. He indicated that this type of thing could happen even if you knock into something with the camera over your shoulder. I don’t recall but anything’s possible. The good news…I wasn’t loosing it. More good news the lens can easily be fixed and I should have it back in about 2 weeks. Lesson learned? Don’t jump to conclusions until you rule out all avenues.

On to today’s image. Taken last Sunday (yes with my Tamron lens) at High Park. Aside from a sunless sky there was not window and the water was perfectly still which helped produce this beautiful reflection. Because of the dull grey sky I envisioned a much more dramatic scene which I tried to create using a texture overlay. If you haven’t tried this yet you can create some very dramatic effects using textures with different blending modes and opacities in Photoshop. One of the best places I’ve found to get full resolution textures is Joel Olive’s site. He has an incredible collection of textures, presets and actions available.

Click on the image to enlarge or purchase a print.

27 responses

  1. Edith
    Good observation and solution. I, depend on my Nikon 18-200 mm lens. When Nikon released the lens, everyone rushed to purchase one. Then the pros began to say that the zoom range was too much for the lens glass to compensate across that range. They have me believing that the $1350 Nikon f2.8 17-55 mm lens is the way to go. Happy to not be a professional photograher, my shots get me to where I want. I’m glad your Sigma will be fixed and that your vision remains sharp.


    April 23, 2012 at 7:15 am

  2. Wow, this is beautiful Edith, the reflections are perfect, and your processing is spot on! Sorry to hear about your lens, but glad to hear that it can be fixed!


    April 23, 2012 at 7:17 am

  3. Fantastic picture, and great effect too, good luck with the lens.


    April 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

  4. I’m glad it was a minor thing for you. I love the image… great use of texture, and I appreciate the reference to Joel’s site.


    April 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

  5. Glad your lens can be repaired! That’s a good lesson to not discount equipment failures. Love your shot today, I’m just starting to work with textures and this is a great one!


    April 23, 2012 at 7:52 am

  6. Len

    This is wonderfully processed Edith. I have never used textures but have been meaning to if this is the result. Glad to hear that it was the lens and not you. It can be really frustrating when you can’t figure out what is happening when the images are not what you expect.


    April 23, 2012 at 7:58 am

  7. chrisnitz

    Nice texture work, Edith. They do a lot in making this look like a piece of fine art!


    April 23, 2012 at 8:50 am

  8. Very interesting information about your lens. I absolutely LOVE this photograph. The tones are so subtle and the silhouette of the tree is spectacular.


    April 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

  9. Great news on two fronts, your eyesight is fine and the lens soon will be.
    Very nice textured image, Edith. I was just talking about doing more of these at Curt’s site. Will check out Joel’s as well.

    Nice work!


    April 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

  10. doephotog

    wow Edith, this one is awesome!


    April 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

  11. Beautiful art, Edith. This image has a beautiful, soft effect. I really like it. I’ve started a series of weekly photoshop “how to do stuff” posts for more artsy images. And, it’s nice to know that your vision is still good. That’s something we all already knew. 🙂


    April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

  12. leadinlines

    Love this image. The texture is perfect. Well done for finding your lens problem!


    April 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

  13. cfrailey

    Simply beautiful image Edith. Love, love the processing.


    April 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

  14. Mark Summerfield

    Seems this is the week of the texture blend. I am currently working on one for my Wednesday blog post. Great reflections and an interesting look to the final image.


    April 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  15. Beautiful photo, Edith. Sorry to hear about your lens., hope you get it back really soon.
    I’ve also recently been playing around with textures on photoshop, and I have to stay, I love that it.


    April 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

  16. Another outstanding one..Edith!


    April 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

  17. very happy it isn’t your eyes


    April 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  18. I really love the texture that you added, the gray sky was perfect for that purpose. 😀 Hope it didn’t cost too much to repair your lens.


    April 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    • Thank you so much Anne. Believe it or not the roller itself is an inexpensive piece. The labour will be about $100 which all in all isn’t too bad.


      April 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm

  19. Rick

    Glad it wasn’t your eyes! I like the way your processed this image. Nice vintage feel to it.


    April 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  20. myallegro31

    Nice write up Edith. I realized my 70-300 was pretty sorry about a year ago and have since stopped using it. The 28-300 seems to be very clear though. This is a wonderful shot. Makes me want to start experimenting with textures again!


    April 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

  21. I like the texture effect. I have a 28-300 Sigma lens which is OK but not fantastic. However it’s a good lens if you want a lens to cover most eventualities. The problem is that the little catch on the lens barrel that locked the lens at it’s 28mm setting no longer works and if I wander around with the lens attached then the zoom creeps out until the lens is at its maximum extension. I don’t think this can do any good for the bearings or rollers in the lens as the lens is at risk of wobbling around on the front of the camera. Hopefully I will move up to a Nikkor equivalent this year.


    April 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

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