[singlepic id=2 w=534 h=400 float=left]This Spring in Cape Town I got back into serious photography after a lapse of many years. My focus in the last 10 years or so has been in compact cameras – following the incredible recent technology curve of sensors and lenses. My main interest was in capturing mountain panoramas, like the Karakoram one above. Although this is not a bad snap, the panorama method flattens and distorts the perspective. It didn’t look like that in real life, since the shot represents a 180 degree swing around a central point. To solve the problem, I started taking video pans of the vistas. This led me into making videos, with soundtrack and fades and all the effort that involves. Having to make a video for every trek became a real bind.
Casting about for a solution, I came across the wonderful Sony Nex-5. This has a function called ‘panorama sweep’, which with a single continuous press of the shutter button, will create a high-res panorama, both in 2D, or in 3D. It’s still flattened, buts its a lot of fun to play with, and can generate some interesting effects, as can be seen from the ‘Previous photos’ header pics link on the right. An interesting aspect of the Nex-5 is that with suitable adapters it can mount an enormous range of lenses from SLR and DSLR cameras. I happened to have some Nikkor lenses from the estate of a sadly departed friend, so tried them on the Nex-5. They were a revelation compared to the world of compact cameras. In particular they enabled a range of focusing effects impossible on small sensor cameras.
This shot was taken with the Nex-5 and a 200mm nikkor prime – at least 40 years old. It’s a classic lens, with very nice ‘bokeh’ or background defocussing effects. The flower was in our garden, and lasted in this brilliance of bloom for only 3 days. I saw it the day we arrived, and set up the system in the evening. For a period of 20 minutes or so, the setting sun dropped below a tree and backlit the flower in a soft but interesting glow. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s the first of a series I took down there, and it rekindled an old (and expensive) interest, so I am rather fond of the image. Click on it to see a fuller sized version courtesy of Nexgen Gallery.