Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Morning Tea on a Big Sky Day

Biggest Morning Tea/Mad Hatters Tea Party event

This morning some of the Robertson folks associated with the Robertson Heritage Railway Society and the Fettlers' Shed Art Gallery got together for a very small, but very pleasant instance of the Australia's Biggest Morning Tea.Even Lena (the scruffy Schnauzer) got into the party, looking for scraps of sandwiches and Fairy Bread to finish off.
Those of you who know me, know I wear a mad hat most of the time, to cover my lousy regrowth of hair, following two rounds of extreme chemotherapy treatment. I am doing fine, and happy to say so.
I have assisted Penny Levett in putting together the photographs and some information on weird local fungi - which Penny wanted to include as part of the Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatters Tea Party theme of her latest exhibition at the Fettlers' Shed.

So I figure I qualify to be involved in this event on just about every basis possible (except I am not a Cheshire Cat).

My personal award for the Maddest Hat goes to Lynn, who unfortunately turned up just as I was leaving. I was too shy to ask if I could photograph her wonderful hat - a tall piece of fabulous quilted material, in bright colours. Her "Mad Hat" made her stand out from the (small) crowd. Her hat might have excelled, even at a Melbourne Cup crowd.
After the event, I went home, and took some wide angle photos with a new Sigma Lens which I have bought from Alan at Fletchers Fotographics at Mittagong. The lens is an 18 - 200mm zoom.
It gives me far greater width of view than I had before, with the standard Nikkor 35 - 80 lens I had before, which was carried over from my previous Nikon SLR (film) camera. From a rough comparison of equivalent shots, I calculate that the new lens gives me about 30% wider view than the old lens (a technical person could tell me precisely, just from the mathematics of lenses). Sure, the old lens makes the image appear "closer", but if I want to get closer, I now have far greater flexibility of zoom than I did before (200 mm compared to the 80 mm).Following the last few weeks of hectic activity, in preparing seemingly endless "objections" to the SCA's Environment Assessment on the Upper Nepean (Kangaloon Aquifer) Borefield proposal, which has been on public exhibition for the last month, I decided that I needed some "retail therapy". So I took myself off to my local Fletchers Fotographics Shop, in Mittagong. Alan looked after me very well, and even tried to tempt me with some wonderful long lenses (a huge "Prime" 500mm lens, and a 200 - 500 zoom lens), which would have been great for photographing birds. Alas, that was not to be - not at this stage, anyway.

However, I did look at some more modestly priced lenses. It came down to three different 18 - 200 lenses - a choice between a very nice Nikon Image Stabilised Lens (pricey, but very sweet) and a Tamron and the Sigma which I eventually chose. Alan took a series of comparable images (out the door of the shop), and then printed the images so that I could choose the one I preferred. There were subtle differences in the way the blue light
in the sky and clouds were presented, and in one lens, the bright patch of sunlight on the road was accentuated, in away I did not like.

As I have a "Big Sky" view out my back door, and it is my favourite subject for photographing, I decided to choose the Sigma, for I preferred the way it captured the intensity of the blue in the sky and the details of the clouds.

The upper photograph is taken with the new Sigma 18-200 mm lens. The lower photo is with the old Nikkor lens. Both are nice, but I like the flexibility of the new lens (going from a far wider image to a much greater zoom than on the old basic lens). And, importantly, I like the way it feels and operates. Very "clean" feel, and very reliable.

Thanks to Alan for his patience with the slowest customer in the shop. At least I knew I was not in a hurry, and allowed Alan to get on with serving the other people who knew exactly what they wanted.

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