Monday, August 4, 2008

Lotus Blossom

The rice fields in the western part of Taoyuan county were converted to lotus ponds recently, both for tourism and for lotus seeds and roots. They are gastronomical delights in Chinese cooking. The area is actually not far from the Taipei's International Airport. The county government promotes every July as Lotus Blossom Festival Month.

We arrived at the area about lunch time of a very hot July summer day (2008/7/19).  Our photographic session lasted over one hour. The temperature was close to 35 degree C. The photographs are here. We tried to compose the lotus flower pictures following the composition of the famous lotus flower painter 張杰. He gave a painting for our wedding 34 years ago, sadly it was lost. Grace now has another two, also gifts from him, hanged in her office in Taipei.

Bradley: Nikon D300, 12-24 DX, 24-85 D, 70-300VR lenses
Grace: Nikon D40, 18-200 VR lens

We set both our camera's Picture Control to "VIVID", "JPEG + FINE" for Bradley's D300 and "JPEG + LARGE" for Grace's D40. Only minor adjustments have been done on some pictures using Nikon Capture NX. How the camera can capture every high light and shadow detail under the bright sunshine was amazing.

The wide angle lens gave a very different prospective of the flower field. The high power telephoto zomes brought us closer to the flowers.  For close up work, the 70-300 VR lens could not focus too closely. The old 24-85 D lens, on the other hand, worked well in this set up. The pictures from it needed some contrast enhancement (10%) using Capture NX. On DX camera, it gave a macro-ratio of 1:1.3, almost life size (1:1). On the other hand, the 18-200 VR lens could do close-up very well. Can you tell the three close up photographs of lotus flower seed pods, which one are from which lens?

200 mm and 300 mm lens on the DX camera means 300 mm and 450 mm. We would never be able to use telephoto lens this long hand-held without the VR (vibration reduction) elements of these lens. Technology does make a difference.

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