Final Reflections Before I Jump… to FX.

So a year some went by since I realized that I wanted to man a camera seriously with 48032 clicks on my D5100 (via camerashuttercount.com).

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This thing was a real trooper and survived more than your average camera gets put through these days- various lenses, traffic slalom, snow, poorly lit conditions, and not that much rain due to its lack of weather sealing (snow doesn’t count since its magical substance that simply shakes off before getting inside of anything).

It saw the kit lens days, including 55-200 that quickly made me realize that I DO want a long telephoto and I want it in a much better quality than ‘5-200 had to offer…

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Not that I didn’t take some neat snaps with this one,

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But it really does not compare to my realistic tele-zoom dream- 70-300 VR.

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But this thing came much, much later on since I went through a dirt-poor photographer stage and couldn’t event squeeze enough cash out of my pockets for this guy. I did get weary of kit quality, despite upgrading to a much more capable 18-70 DX along the way, and fiddling around to fix its busted manual focus ring (that I honestly seldom used anyway)…

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So budget days brought about the biggest revelation and my best to-date photography teacher: Nikkor-H 50 f/2.

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This was a true, full-manual bargain that also came with an extension tube that I didn’t fully and properly break in until way, way later.

This lens required me to truly learn aperture as a whole and rewarded me with a realm of speed being an f/2 lens, which IS miles better than kit 3.5 and up. Not to mention its sharpness that really impressed me given that the 50 survived all the way from 1966 (via some internet serial number sleuthing) and that it only cost me ~$45 with postage.

And drove my enthusiasm through the roof, making me try crazy stunts like shooting bees using an ancient piece of glass coupled with some insanity.

This combo (or rather, mostly the 50 since I neglected the 18-70 hence after) lasted me until my decision to invest into some fast auto-focusing glass for the sake of night-time action shots.

Did I like this $200 worth of plastic and silent focusing? Even despite it leading to my discovery of chromatic aberration that I’ve never seen prior to shooting this little guy? Given the power to trust my 5100 to focus for me third of a stop faster, it was quite refreshing indeed.

And the round bokeh! This lens became the new workhorse given the season for DC road skating and me not wanting to have to worry about poor aperture vs manual focus.

Consistent and terrible CA in direct light still bugs the heck out of me, but I just can’t deny the usefulness of this little guy.

Eventually the 18-70 found a new home and has been treated and treating the new owner very well from what I hear, feeling right at home on another D5100 to boot.

I finally mustered up the funds for the glorious 70-300 and it became my primary workhorse of a lens unless I absolutely needed a wider angle than it offered. I absolutely abused it at the National Zoo, which eventually led to some collaborations with a good new friend.

I worked my stubborn, natural-light mentality towards a proper flash that changed the game very substantially towards a positive new level and started to miss <50mm kind of field of view since my 18-70 was no longer at my side. I’ve also come to miss having a mid-range zoom since the flash took care of having relatively low aperture and having a zoom would have been much more convenient indoors than dancing around with my primes. My solution? Another bargain hunt- Sigma 24mm Super-Wide II f/2.8 for a whopping $40 shipped, and it even came with the original leather case!
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This guy had surprisingly awesome color rendition and plenty of angle for me to work with too.
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Somewhere in between all of that I got lucky with my research tendency and actually narrowed down a dream lens, that I got lucky enough to be able to find and afford around past October- Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 AI-P pancake. The modern remake of the old one, and pretty much the only duo of true pancake lenses Nikon ever made. It sported uncanny thin profile and the oldest, Zeiss-like Tessar lens design.
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And once this went into action, I would rarely take it off despite being forced to use manual focus and only having f/2.8 as my highest aperture. This lens simply felt perfect for me, and this is speaking with the DX field of view, so of all others I can’t wait to use it as it was intended to be on a FX body.
The ghosting/flare rendering is extremely unique thanks to the Tessar design and I love having something that produced unique images. A lovely flower of light instead of the standard straight scatter.

I’ve done some odds and ends with this thing too, like mounting it onto my neglected macro extension tube and using a ring light on its front via step-up rings.

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With surprisingly decent results to boot.

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And so, now I’m ready to enter a whole new world of full frame sensors and plethora of useful settings to help me fight my ideas and framing more than the ISO and shutter speed on the camera. D5100 has been a solid starter, with pretty capable video capability, but it’s simply not a body I want to trust with small things and feel confident in its judgement of my idea of utmost quality. Hopefully my D600 that should be here in couple of days will rise to the challenge with confidence and quality. Based on all the reviews I’ve watched and read, as well as user opinions, it should be able to do just that for where I am on my learning curve.

Perhaps From Rocks To Diamonds

I’ll begin with the fact that human mind is like an uncut and unpolished diamond. It can be hacked at an infinite amount of times, but unless those cuts are made with precision, it will never take its perfect form nor even manage to shed all of its impure sides in the process. And just like cutting diamonds, it is a painstaking, careful process. Those who manage to finish themselves perfectly, will shine and be seen by others, but only if the others are at least somewhat just as polished themselves.

Our life-long natural hierarchy took quite a dip from its spiritual aspect, and values were placed on the material goods to somehow help further the society as a whole rather than the individuals its made up of.

Simply overcoming a hardship may mean nothing if the lessons it offered are learned the wrong way. Perhaps though, I would be more accurate to say, in the optimal way rather than a wrong way.

So with every cut you make to yourselves, try to see yourselves from all the different angles first and make that cut; regardless of its difficulty, make it to a side that needs it the most.

Just remember, the reality is that not every rock ends up making the cut, so to speak, in the end. The power to bring yourselves closer to that undeniable radiance, however, is in everyone’s own hands.

And If It Sounds Offensive, Just Learn From It

Oh how insecure and feeble people are today, its astounding. There are always lots of somebodies that always take everything to heart, as if they always feel that they’re beneath the stereotypes. Many take offense when they think it infringes on their pride; when they feel a racial comment applies to them deeply; when they just give the undeserved reputation to their offender.

In fact, I already outlined my point for those who may or not have caught it right above- somebodies. Individual. Unique meat-bag compared to all the others around them. But the masses, they forget these simple base concepts more often than they breathe just to stay alive.

So much to say, so lots of time…

I want to encourage the current and the slightly-behind-current generations to rise above the rather silly societal standards our ancestors established for us. While most will helplessly follow them, I hope that you won’t. Why? Because you know better than that. You have evolved beyond making the same mistakes, both mental and practical. Even if you follow some religious guidelines, don’t forget what you can actually see, smell, and feel right before you. Morals are excellent guidelines to use as such, but always with a grain of salt called critical thinking.

Taking offense to anything you see or hear is but admitting that the source is right to some level and degree, and that their statement could actually apply to you. Is it actually so? Once again, everything depends on your reaction to it. Take it too seriously or as far as to heart, and you give that source credit that they don’t necessarily deserve. While stereotypes certainly hold some general truths, they are that of the past today. Most of you weren’t even alive when a good deal of those were formed and held at least some truth to them. At the same time, most cultures back then were millennium times more narrow-minded and stubborn than where we all stand today.  So why would any of you take ANY personal offense in things said and based on the past? With your knowledge and understanding today, are you really willing to credit the mentality of the past?

On a personal level, the same rules apply. Who is anyone to tell you that you are beneath either them or some norm that they deem acceptable? Just because you live a different life than they do does not make them an authority over yours. When a particular case overlaps enough to actually apply on some level, instead of allowing yourself to be brought down by it, why not let it roll off your shoulder and use it to improve yourself? Become better. Become that much better, on your own terms, to render that statement completely false and irrelevant. Be strong, believe in yourself, and recognize your own flaws only in your own mind, not the minds of others around you.

By nature, most of us are egoistical, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Everyone has their own image and ideals of right and wrong. Remember this though, you’re not alone in this world. You have to reach agreements with others in order to survive. So I’ll encourage you to better yourself with every possible perspective in mind, but at the end, yours being the best-fit to your own life.

Defy the established rules if and only you understand them, where they came from, and why they should be changed with respect to both yourself and those around you.

 

To prove a point- I bet many of your are noticing some poor grammar used in the block of text above. It is indeed so; however, it doesn’t make my message any less than what it is. I don’t promote nor illiteracy nor improper grammar, but it was done here to prove the same old point. Hidden corrections were made based on feedback I received.