Shooting the Light

It has been a couple of years now since I shot At WindPoint so it seemed like it was time to check out the old Lighthouse once more.

Usually when I head to WindPoint, the weather is gray, which makes shooting a white lighthouse quite challenging! This time was no different, but what the heck, I went anyway. I wanted to ensure my chosen equipment for the upcoming England trip would work together, a lot of it new...
  • Sony A7r
  • Zeiss FE55 f1.8
  • Zeiss FE35 f2.8
  • Canon 24 TSE II f3.5 L
  • Canon 24-105 f4 L
  • Canon 17-40 f4 L
  • Metabones EF-Emount Smart Adapter III
First time shooting this far from home without a Canon body. Sign of the times maybe. I ventured up to WindPoint with two good photographers and friends, Mark Baldwin and Mark Kinsman. Nothing new there, but what was interesting is there wasn't a Canon camera between us, this is a first in the five plus years we've shot together. Cameras on hand... Nikon D800e, Fuji X-E1, Olympus E-M5, Sony A7r.

Mirrorless may not be taking off in the US yet, but I don't think it would be inaccurate to call the three of us early adopters (possibly a stretch for Mark.B :-) ) and given that there were three mirrorless bodies out of the four, sporting between them the fastest AF, most compact, the highest resolution and most retro, a glimpse of the future maybe?

Back to shooting, we knew we were driving into a snow storm as we drove north from Chicago so as we got close to WindPoint the snow began to fall. It is amazing how different the weather can be just an hour north of Chicago. It looked like they had had almost a foot of snow. Snow mobiles are the preferred method of transport up there at this time of year, and it was noticeably colder!

Eventually as forecast the snow subsided... and well, that's all that really happened, it remained gray, there was some directional light for about four minutes, still I liked what I was seeing along the lake front, some nice moody color tones. Definitely about tones and textures, colour would have to wait for another day.

As for the equipment, everything worked well, I shot quite a bit with the Canon 24-105 mounted, it is noticably sharper on the Sony than it is on its native Canon 5D mark II. I shot a little with the TSE, not a lot though. I didn't shoot at all with the 17-40, I just didn't feel the need.

Despite having the focal range of the 35 and 55 covered by the 24-105, I also shot a lot with the 35 and 55, they're very special lenses for sure!

As for the Metabones, AF works on the Canons quite well, but a little leasurely, this is nothing that surprised me, it's fine for tripod work. That said, having shot with Canons predominantly when using a tripod, I am not used to having an autofocus system as good as the Sony, so I still revert to old ways on the tripod and manually focused out of habit. Though I did rely heavily on focus peaking over magnification to check critical focus.

A few snaps…

It was pretty evident that there was not going to be a sunset, so we packed up once everyone had got the shots they wanted and headed toward home. We did take a short detour to stop off at the Kenosha light however. That turned out to be quite worthwhile, a nice backlit red lighthouse with a very moody sky behind it and pancake ice in front. As is often the case with photography, it ain't over till it's over!