Thursday, January 31, 2008

Saying Goodbye to my (second) favorite lens

I had a heart-stopping moment during our Christmas trip through California. Well, maybe it didn't stop but it did break a little. Let me splain. Photography has been an on again off again love affair for several years, but in the past 2 years it's started to get serious. in 2005 I got a Canon EOS digital Rebel XT (350D) and the affair took a step towards a serious commitment. After a few years of taking photos of EVERYTHING, I decided I was ready to actually get some equipment. For my birthday last year my husband and friends bought me a Tamron 18-200mm wide-angle zoom lens. It was my first (non-kit) lens. And we always remember our first, don't we? We had a good year together before it all fell apart (literally..).

I was at my cousin's house in Genoa, Nevada. It's a beautiful little town nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just down the mountain from Lake Tahoe.

I was up early (mountain air and jet lag) taking photos of the rural landscape. I had put my new camera (Canon Digital Rebel XTi -EOS 400D) with my 18-200mm Lens on a tripod. I was just putting the dogs away when a big gust of wind came and blew the tripod over. I watched in horror as the camera landed, Lens first, on the frozen ground and broke in two. I ran over, picked up the pieces and held them above my head, shouting 'Why? God! Why?'...... well, ok, not quite so dramatic. I did pick up the pieces of my broken heart, uh, Lens and walked inside to show my actual favorite husband (who's called Lens).

I carried my grief around with me on the rest of my trip. Sighing dramatically when photographing a blue sky- as the polarizing lens filter I had didn't fit on my kit lens... or because the 18-55mm kit lens didn't zoom to 200mm like my, sigh, Tameron did. Well, you get the picture.

But life goes on, and, like most things that happen, we learn things about ourselves in retrospect. As in some commited relationships, I realized that I was outgrowing my lens (not my husband, thank god!). After taking a photography class I realized that the lens I had was a good one, but I was ready to move one, to develop myself, and that my Tameron 18-200mm was a bit slow on the aperature side (F3.5). It just wasn't enough for me anymore (thank goodness that due to it's early demise, we never had to have THAT conversation).
When I look at the photos I took on my trip, I began to realize that some of the best photos I took were with the kit Lens. I started to understand that maybe it was ME taking those amazing pictures and not just my Lens.
Everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot from my Tameron Lens and it was there for me at a crucial stage in my photographic development. But I've moved on. I am waiting for a Canon EFF 50mm 1.8 and I've already purchased a Tameron 11-18mm wide angle lens with the insurance money I received for my broken Lens. But I won't forget it. We always remember our first (uh...Lens, that is...I mean to say, first zoom lens that wasn't in the kit)

In the meantime I still take photos of my muse...the furball in action. I can't wait for spring!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I have just returned from a 3 week whirlwind trip through California. During that time, I think I visited almost every person I am related to in California and Nevada! Fortunately I had the change to take a few photos on the way.

Before flying back to the US, I took a 10 week photography course (here in Amsterdam) and an important lesson I learned was...If you don't stop to take pictures, you will never get better. Now, I don't mean snapshots of your family alone, I mean seeing something beautiful and trying to transpose that image on to a digital chip.

Did my photography course help? Absolutely. But then so did the location and the practice. Knowing how my camera works helps me technically, but California provided the rest. The buildings, the beaches, the sunsets, the mountains, it was all so....majestic. And I think a few of my photos turned out ok...

Huntington Beach Pier at Sunset

The Disney Concert Hall

Tess and Rosie in Genoa, Nevada

Taking beautiful photos in California isn't much of a challenge. There is so much to work with, you just have to point and click. Literally.

This photo was taken from inside a car

Holland does have beautiful nature, but it's not as gracefully present as it is in California. Now my challenge is to see the Netherlands in all of it's natural beauty and capture that on camera. Will I find what I am looking for?