Pray for George

I’m a big fan of Sigma lenses and my bag is full of them, I’ve always found them reliable, cheap and good enough for what I needed. Others have had different experiences but Sigma has never let me down. That said after several years I have finally made the leap into Canons L series glass with a late Christmas/Birthday present to myself of a 24-70 2.8 USM. This appears to be the must have lens that everyone raves about and lusts after so after months of contemplation I took a deep breath and went shopping on Saturday. I had thought I’d go with the cheaper option of a Sigma lens but when I went to Gunns Camera shop in Dublin they had the Canon lens for over a hundred euro cheaper than in other shops in town and just about a hundred more than the Sigma so I promised my credit card that I would be nice to it for the rest of the month and handed it over to Mr Gunn (a really nice man who seemed genuinely pleased to have my business, I always try to spend some money in his shop when I’m in the market for gear which unfortunately is rare enough).

Usually I’d be hit by buyers remorse sometime later in the day but that hasnt been the case with this lens. It’s a beautiful solid block of metal and glass. I took it for a walk around the neighborhood on Sunday afternoon and couldnt believe how easy it was to get get sharp focus and keep the shutter speeds to a nice hand holdable speed. For me if the speed falls below 1/100 handheld I know my shots will go down hill rapidly, but not with the 24-70. Yes there was still plenty of light around but I took it into a local church grounds and sports field with lots shadows and had no problems. It wasnt a very scientific or long test but I went home happy.

The above photo is of the water font outside the church asking parishioners to pray for George and his wife. As a test I set the aperture to 2.8 and focused on the O in his name. It came out nice and sharp and only required small tweaks most of which are related white balance and exposure with my old but reliable 40D. With my Sigma walk around zooms I had to apply lots of sharpening in post, not here. I couldn’t help myself and had to apply a bit of sharpening but I think with that small amount, a fraction of what I needed with the Sigmas, I might have over done it since the shot was sharp already, I’ll have to learn that this lens does not need the same after care as the others in my bag. Some may think the depth of field in this is a little shallow but that is what I wanted to test so I’m happy. I’m not a pixel peeper by any means. My attitude is I’m more worried about the content of the shot than the content of the pixels but so far I’m really happy with my new toy and I cant wait to test it out with some family get togethers and a wedding in a couple of months.


It’s been a busy few weeks and I haven’t had a chance to take photos. It’s a shame because I started the year with great intentions of shooting and posting more often. Perhaps I need to be less picky and just take photos of whatever is around and post them. Not that I want to start flooding my blog with daily rubbish pics but some more relaxed ones like this photo taken while waiting for a bus outside Trinity College. One good thing about Dublin Bus is you gave plenty of time to take photos while waiting for them.

Ernest Lights

The Christmas lights are down on Grafton St but some of the side streets off Grafton still have lights up and my favorite every year have to be the lights on Johnson’s Court. The lane has several nice jewelery shops on it plus a little church on the right. It’s completely different from the Grafton St hopefully it will keep some of its character but I fear the shops on it may suffer and close in the recession while international chains move in around the corner.

Samuel Beckett Bridge

Samuel Beckett Bridge

I decided to take advantage of a long weekend and headed into town today to take some photos of the Beckett Bridge and play around with my ND110 filter which has gotten very little use since I bought it last year. I stopped to take some photos from further away and noticed that the it was possible to walk down the edge of one of the old dock buildings near the bridge. Someone has already been down there and sprayed some graffiti and the combination of the old brick work on this side of the river with the new construction on the other made for an interesting shot in B&W.

Remains of Christmas

Christmas Tree Light

Today is the first day of 2011 and my first full day back in Dublin since the Christmas vacation so I decided to head into town to spend some vouchers I’d received. Unfortunately I forgot that since it’s New Years Day most of the shops were closed so I took some photos of instead. The Christmas decorations are still up in town though they are beginning to look a little worn as the season draws to a close. Still I got this photo of the Christmas tree at the St Stephens Green end of Grafton Street. Thankfully they still put up real trees there unlike that disco ball thing on O’Connell Street. Hopefully I’ll get into town again tomorrow or monday (a holiday here in Ireland) to take more photos.