miercuri, 29 iunie 2011

santimbru bai - summer

Here are a few facts about Santimbru-Bai:

The village Sântimbru-Bai is situated on the Harghita mountain ridge at an altitude of around 1200 m. It is known especially for gaseous emanations (the strongest in Harghita mountain range), used to treat rheumatic symptoms. In the last ten years at Sântimbru-Bai almost 750 houses were built. The gaseous Mofettes used nowadays for treatment were originally dug by shepherds for their own use.

The gases released here have a high content of carbon dioxide and sulfur and are among the best in Romania due to their positive effects on health. The gases are made up of 99% carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1% hydrogen sulfide (H2S) with a smell that reminds of rotten eggs. The mineral water here is primarily indicated for the treatment of rheumatic and loco motor problems. Gas which is rich in sulfur (containing radon) invigorates the body's metabolism and regulates the central nervous system functions. The therapeutic effects of this place are used in an organized manner since 1920. Mofettes were built in 1960, and saunas five years later in 1965.  Over the past 230 years thousands of disabled, people suffering with rheumatic problems, arthritis and arthritic pain have improved their health in this place.

The place lacks a viable infrastructure. Accommodation is possible only in villas and private homes and the access road is a gravel one. Only a few small shops are open during the summer.

A deposit of mercury was exploited during the 1970-1980. The mine of cinnabar (sulfurous rock from which mercury was extracted) is closed now, but still poisoning the soil and water, this being a telling example of the reckless industrialization from communist times, leaving scars on the land for today's generations. Nature is recovering slowly from these man-caused wounds.

The village is located in a beautiful scenery where dense coniferous forests alternate with mountain meadows.

You can find some more pictures from this place in my older posts here and here

The pictures were shot with nikon D90 body and the nikon 18-200 vr lens. In some cases I also used a Kenko polarizing filter.

sâmbătă, 11 iunie 2011

short review of nikon 180 f2.8

 It is a great lens. Even though it is pretty old it still delivers stunning pictures. I can only recommend buying this lens to everyone who is willing to deal with manual focus.

 As soon as you put your hand on it you realize it's a high quality lens. It is all metal and glass with a rubber grip on the focus ring. Both the focus ring and the aperture ring operate so smooth that it is a joy to rotate them (at least it is the case with the lens I have). It also has a built-in retractable metal hood. This is very convenient as you don't have to worry about the hood. You cannot loose it or brake it and it is very easy to get it out of the way. I wish all the lens could have this hood design.

As far as optics are concerned, even at wide open (f2.8) the images are sharp corner to corner. You can notice some chromatic aberrations around the contrasty edges at f2.8. For instance you will notice some purple fringing around the edges if you shoot an object against the bright sky. Anyway if you don't shoot against the sky you should have no trouble using it wide open. Personally I only use this lens at f2.8 as the quality of the images is great. The images below are shot at f2.8. You can notice the shallow depth of field and the great bokeh. It has the smoothest bokeh out of all the lens I've used. The optics also have superb resolution.

nikon 180 @ f2.8

nikon 180 @ f2.8

 The only downsides of this lens are its weight and the lack of AF.  You have to give it a little time if you want to get a clean focus on the eye (when shooting a portrait), so that the model should be a little patient. 

I should mention that the focus confirmation light is not very helpful. Looking at the focus confirmation light while shooting doesn't work for me. I tried out entry level Pentax cameras and they also have a beep focus confirmation alongside with the confirmation light. The audible focus confirmation makes much more sense while composing a picture rather than have another thing to look at. So the lack of the audible focus confirmation is not the greatest feature of the nikon D90 body. On the other hand the viewfinder is pretty big and this is helpful when focusing with this lens.

Compared to it's performance the lens can be bought pretty cheap. Having no electronics and being all metal and glass, there is really very little that can go wrong with this lens.
It's good to have it around in the woods as you can hurt a bear with it, but than you have to also be willing to carry around another 880 g.

 Some other pictures taken with this lens here and here.

luni, 6 iunie 2011

sunny day on Lempes hill

nikon 35-70 @ f2.8 macro setting

nikon 35-70 @ f2.8 35mm

nikon 18-200 @ f5.6 18mm

nikon 180 @ f2.8

nikon 180 @ f2.8

nikon 18-200 @ f5.6 120mm
nikon 18-200 @ f5.6 52mm
nikon 18-200 @ f5.6 18mm
some older photos from Lempes hill here