Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Flowers at the U.S. Capitol Building

Capitol Dandelions

The gardeners at the U.S. Capitol building always do a nice job with floral displays in the gardens surrounding the building and Spring is particularly nice.  After a long, cold, and stark winter which turns Washington DC nearly colorless, the flowers of spring are a welcome splash of color.

So the subject of the photographs in this post will be tied by the theme of spring flowers at the U.S. Capitol Building.  However, I will talk about my new Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens as promised in an earlier post.  First I will acknowledge that all of today’s photography was taken with this lens.

Spring Flowers at the U.S. Capitol Building

I have long had the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L on my wish list.  However, it is a costly lens and I resigned myself to the fact that it may be some time before I could add this lens to my collection.  In place of the 24-70, I instead opted for the 24-105 f/4.0L – another great general purpose zoom lens at a much lower price.  Just last week I decided to put my 100-400mm f/4.0-5.6L on Craig’s list because I just was not using it (bought it for the camel races and have barely used it since).  I was approached by a gentleman with the 24-70 and he proposed a trade.  I think it worked out well – we were both able to trade an infrequently used lens for one we wanted.

I am very pleased with the performance of this lens.  It is super sharp all the way down to f/2.8 and maintains that sharpness out to the edges with a barely noticeable fall off in sharpness as you head toward the longer focal lengths (above 50mm).  However, if you are not pixel peeping, you will never notice the minutely soft corners.  Color, contrast and saturation are terrific, and the 8 blade aperture produces a very pleasing bokeh.

Spring Flowers at the U.S. Capitol Building-1

My only surprise with this lens was the size and weight.  I really don’t mind lugging around large lenses, but I honestly thought this might be a bit smaller than it turned out when I snapped it onto my Canon 5D.  At nearly 34 ounces, this lens is much heavier than all others in this neighborhood of focal length.  Like I said, the size and weight are not big issues to me and only make note of it due to my surprise.

This lens is a favorite of wedding photographers.  It is a fine portrait lens and is also wide enough on a full frame body that group and environmental shots are within it’s repertoire.  It is also a fast piece of glass that can be helpful in lowlight or indoor situations when lighting your subject is impractical.  One final point that is often overlooked with this lens is it’s short minimum focus distance.  At one foot, it is not capable of the maximum magnification of a 1:1 macro lens, but it does a darn good job.  This capability makes the 24-70 good for applications such as food photography, flower shots, and product photography.  I have already played with some flower shots and food photography and will post these soon.

Capitol Dandelions-1

Have fun and go make some great photography.


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