Posts tagged photography
Mini Berlin

When you’ve never been to a place, everything about it seems small and dreamlike. As a child, I used to go to Six Flags - Astroworld in Houston and was overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Flash forward ten years and walking across the entire park only took 15 minutes. Not only had my height changed, but so had my perspective of the world, even though Astroworld stayed the same.

As we prepare for our trip to Berlin later this year, that same feeling has hit me. Every bit of Berlin I’ve experienced has been second hand through books and film. The thing is, I’m eager to keep that childlike wonder about me as I roam Kruezberg and Potsdamer Platz. Sure I’ve been to other places in Europe, so the scale of the city won’t surprise me, but I want other things to.

I ran across this new video from filmmakers Efim Graboy and Daria Turetski that uses tilt-shift lenses and photography to picture a mini Berlin, people teeming about like toy models. It reminds me of watching a Wes Anderson movie and only makes me want to visit the city sooner.

You can see more from Efim Graboy and Daria Turetski here.

Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series Lens: A Travel Review

When I packed my bag for four days in London this summer, I limited myself to a pretty small camera setup. It wasn’t quite as small as my trip to Paris and Amsterdam where I only took a 50mm lens with my Nikon D750, but it wasn’t far off.

Into my bag went a Sony a7RII, a Sony 50mm 1.8, and the new Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series lens. Actually, I picked up the 24-105 specifically for this trip. I’m not the biggest fan of zoom lenses in general, but the versatility and small build of such a long lens intrigued me.

Luckily, it arrived two days before I took off. Thanks, FedEx.

Look and Feel

The first thing I noticed was the build quality compared to the 50mm I owned. Every bit of it felt high quality and able to withstand a tough day of shooting anywhere in the world. When attached to the a7RII, it looks like it was built to be an upscale kit lens. The focus hold button midway up the barrel is also a great addition that doesn’t get in the way when not being utilized.

Weight

So the tradeoff with a zoom lens is usually in the weight department, you gain more focal length and lose portability. For the 24-105mm I feel that the tradeoff is more than fair. After lugging it around the streets of London pretty much every day of the trip, the extra 1.46 lbs (663 g) didn’t bother me at all.

Sure it’s not as light as the newer Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, which is a fantastically light 1.2 lbs, but the Sony 24-105mm makes up for that lost weight and aperture with some fantastic images, a longer focal length, and ease of use.

Images

Like I said before, I’m generally not a zoom lens fan, but when you need to be out all day taking photos, a lens that can cycle through focal lengths quickly and without having to change aperture can be invaluable.

Sony 24-105mm at 87mm, 1/320 sec. at f/7.1. ISO 100.

Sony 24-105mm at 87mm, 1/320 sec. at f/7.1. ISO 100.

One of the first things that drew me to the 24-105mm was a review on PetaPixel where photographer QT Luong talked about how he doesn’t usually shoot with wide open aperture. I’m pretty similar in that way, especially when it comes to traveling. At only f/4, the 24-105mm is slower than the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 but having that extra 25mm in focal length was what really hooked me.

When I take travel shots, the majority of them are outside and don’t call for stopping down my lens to f/2.8 or below. Sure I don’t always get that smooth bokeh when staying at f/4, but I do get more control over what is shown in the image. For me, that’s the critical part.

Sony 24-105mm at 75mm, 1/320 sec. at f/4. ISO 100

Sony 24-105mm at 75mm, 1/320 sec. at f/4. ISO 100

The Sony 24-105mm f/4 allowed me to walk around and take some beautiful portraits, landscape shots, and medium-range street-style photos without having to change lenses once. The in body image stabilization also comes in really handy when shooting at the longer focal lengths.

Sony 24-105mm at 51mm, 1/40 sec. at f/4. ISO 400

Sony 24-105mm at 51mm, 1/40 sec. at f/4. ISO 400

Travel

When I went to Paris and Amsterdam in 2015, I took my Nikon D750 and only a 50mm lens as a way to challenge myself photographically. Since that time I’d switched to a much smaller Sony body and wasn’t as concerned about the weight factor of carrying around more than one lens. The 24-105mm fit perfectly in the bottom of my Peak Design 20L Everyday Backpack, attached to the Sony a7RII.

Sony 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/500 sec. at f/9. ISO 200

Sony 24-105mm at 105mm, 1/500 sec. at f/9. ISO 200

With the weightiest piece in the bottom of the bag, I rarely felt it as I walked around the British capital. My camera setup was actually slightly more substantial than when I did the 50mm challenge, but the smaller form factor made it easier to hold on my body all day.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a lens that can do it all right out of the box but is still an upgrade over a kit style lens, the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series might be precisely what you’re looking for.

After working with the 24-105mm for almost six months, it’s easily one of my best purchases for the Sony E-mount ecosystem.

You can view more about the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G Series lens here and purchase it on Amazon using the button below.

The Itinerary: Movie Fonts, European History and Banksy

It's still hot here in south Texas. I feel like I could write that sentence every week and it'd be true for a good 8-9 months out of the year. We're gearing up for a trip to see the fam and this is what we're reading/watching/laughing at to prepare. Enjoy!


This Histomap of Europe gives you a pretty detailed look at the borders and population of Europe starting from the year 400 B.C. Come for the history, stay for the ridiculously epic musical score.

National Geographic's 2018 Travel Photography Awards are out and this year's crop of winners is exceptional. Check them out here

By far the most famous street artist of the modern era, Banksy has popped back up in Paris, this time with a pretty overt political message. 

Ever wondered about the fonts on movie posters? Well, wonder no more with this video from Vox that looks at why we keep seeing the Trajan font on movie posters. (via Uncrate)

Watch the video below for a bright and quick way to go all over America from Kevin Parry. (via PetaPixel)

Sony a7 III: The New King of Travel

Boasting touch screen controls, fast tracking eye autofocus, a new full-frame 24.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and dual SD-card slots, the new Sony a7 III may just be the best camera for travel enthusiasts. 

At only $2,000 for a body-only model, Sony has jam-packed its supposed "entry-level" full frame mirrorless camera with most of the bells and whistles found on higher end models like the a9 or a7R III that start at $3,200. Chief among them is the ability to shoot Ultra HD video in 4k at up to 30fps and 120fps images at 1080p for those buttery smooth slow motion shots. All of this comes wrapped in a small, mirrorless body, perfect for fitting in a suitcase or carry-on. 

The best thing about the new a7 III is that Sony has rethought the battery. One of my chief complaints about my Sony a7R II is that the battery dies way too quickly. With the new NP-FZ100 batteries for the a7 III,  Sony has dramatically increased capacity to 710 shots per battery life, more than enough for a long day out sightseeing. 

You can preorder now for an early April release date. Also, skip the kit lens version and go body only and pair it with a nice 50mm prime to start, you'll be happy you did. 

A Glimpse at the Mystical

I've always been fascinated by the sacred arts of religions from around the world. From the Sufi whirling dervishes to the intricate prayers of Shintoism, the dedication and beauty is something to behold. The Asia SocietyTexas Center recently hosted Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India as they constructed a White Tara (Buddha of longevity and success) mandala sand painting. the event was part of the 2017 Mystical Arts of Tibet tour. Formed with millions of grains of colored sand, the art of mandala is intricate, painstaking and ultimately breathtaking. Accompanied by ceremonies of sacred dance and chants, the construction of the mandala took four days before being deconstructed to symbolize the impermanence of life. 

The word mandala comes from Sanskrit meaning sacred cosmogram. Although they can be performed in different media, including watercolor and woodcarving, the colored sand mandala is  widely known as the most popular form. 

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