New genre or new gear?

Heres a question: new genre or new gear?

As one who has little interest in the new Nikon mirrorless offerings (or any full frame for that matter) it occurred to me that some people maybe spending too much effort thinking about gear.

Instead how about a new genre. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy new gear. What I’m suggesting is whether a new genre could be more stimulating to your photography than a new camera.

Fancy macro?

How about exploring macro? There’s a fascinating world to look at when you get close. You could start off with a raynox adapter which will yield very respectable results for little outlay. See told you I wasn’t against buying gear 😀.

If you decide to pursue the macro bug you may want to consider a specialist macro lens. I’ve achieved some great results with a 60mm Nikon micro lens. Yes Nikon confusingly call their macro lenses micro. Most other manufacturers call them macro. Anyhow… I would suggest a lens no shorter than 90mm if your going to photograph insects and the like. They will spook  if you get too close to them.

How about Astrophotography?

With the nights drawing in now I thought that’s it even less hours for photography. But…. why not take advantage of that. Explore the Astro scene. Of course that is weather dependent, but we do get clear skies in the winter. Now and again.

My first attempt – may not win any prizes but it’s certainly got me interested.

Are there better ways than spending a dark cloudy evening curled up in front of a wood burner with a hot chocolate and an iPad searching for astrophotography on safari?😀

Go on then what do you fancy – new genre or new gear?

I decided to go the Astro route this winter and see what would happen. I already have some suitable lenses and a decent tripod that I can use. There we are – minimal or no outlay for a whole new interest.

It also renews a long dormant interest in astronomy that I had since looking through a telescope as a kid. Boy that was a long time.

Anything else?

Well now you mention it…. when people ask me what sort of photography I do, my immediate response is landscape. Fair enough loads of photographers enjoy shooting landscapes.

Crummock Water
Clouds and shade – Crummock Water

When I go through my images on the computer, which I do quite often, I could say that actually I do a lot of macro as well. The amount of macro photos I take compared to landscapes is a lot closer than I thought.

Close up of a wasp
Example of one of my macro shots – Close up of a wasp

Should you specialise in a particular genre? Some people do and some don’t. You might find something  that takes you in a completely new direction.

I’m currently considering what I should do. I live in a beautiful part of England that naturally lends itself to landscapes. To get the best of that your really looking to be up early (I’m not a morning person) or catch the golden and blue hours at the other end of the day.

I quite like macro work and it’s not always about bugs.

I’m going to try to do some Astro ( or maybe some night landscapes) at least until next Spring and see if I end up with stars in my eyes.

So new genre or new gear?

 

Edit: it appears this scheduled post has unintentionally overlapped with the release of The Astronomy Photographer of the Year results. You can find the overall winners of the competition at rmg.co.uk.

 

Nikon 1 V1 macro

I’ve added a Nikon 1 V1 macro picture to the macro gallery. The image below was taken with the 30-110mm Nikon 1 lens with attached Raynox DCR250 adapter. A previous article here gives more examples of what this setup can do. It’s a lot lighter and more portable than my dedicated DSLR  lens and can give some amazing results.

 

OK…. so I clipped the wing on the right hand side a little, but I did manage to get a reasonable amount of eye detail. If you’ve ever tried getting this close to flies you’ll appreciate how difficult it can be. They don’t tend to stay still very long 🙂

 

Heads up

After a few cloudy days the weather has warmed up, the sun makes an appearance and I take the opportunity to look for dragonflies at the local reserve. The last couple of years, warm days in September resulted in some decent dragonfly activity so I was quite hopeful.

Sure enough they were out and even with the breeze, fairly active. If you’ve ever tried to photograph dragonflies in flight you know how quick they move. Out of all my dragonfly shots I’ve only got two or three decent in flight captures. Today I went for the (slightly) easier resting poses.

I like to try and capture dragonflies at different angles if I can. While a decent head shot is nice the wings and body can also be quite interesting.

Talking of wings the shot below shows some detail. I found it covered in dew on top of a post. Don’t know what happened to the body.

 

More dragonflies and other insects appear in the macro gallery here.

 

All images taken with a Nikon 1 V1, 30-110mm lens and Raynox dcr250 adapter.

 

 

Macro with the Nikon 1 V1

Not many people do macro with a Nikon 1 V1. Not many people have or like the Nikon 1 series full stop. I ‘m a bit odd ( as my  wife will testify), in that I quite like the V1. It’s a shame Nikon messed the 1 series around so much. With the right marketing they could have achieved so much more. It didn’t help that Nikon couldn’t decide what body style the V series should take. Three very different body versions was the last thing the V series needed.

Anyway, I tend to take my V1 all over the place. I get a body and the equivalent focal range of 27 -300mm in my pockets quite easily.

I’ve mentioned before I use a Raynox close up adapter. Fit this onto a 30-110mm Nikon 1 series lens and you have a nice little macro capable setup.

The day I captured the images on this page I was actually looking for dragonflies. Although the weather was warm with no wind, the dragonflies weren’t cooperating.

 

Instead I turned the camera to these more accommodating chaps.

 

Just for good measure here is a third one:

 

All these were taken with the Nikon 1 30-110mm lens and the Raynox 250 adapter:

 

The image above shows the Nikon 1 V1 with 30-110mm lens. I removed the Raynox adapter from its normal adjustable holder. Fitting a 40.5 to 43mm step up ring instead. The whole setup measures about 6″ or 150mm in new money.

Not too shabby for a kit lens and relatively cheap (compared to a dedicated macro lens) adapter.

 

 

(This post has sparked my interest in  flies. If you can positively identify these would you be kind enough to  email me here. 

Many Thanks.)