Old School Photo Hack

Mixed Emotions


Blue hyacinths in the snow
Central Maryland (March 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM

Our latest winter storm blew through late this past Monday night, and the image above — taken the day before yesterday — is what it looks like after a lot of the snow has already melted.  The dichotomy is striking, but the damage to the blooms and buds in our area from the wintry mix of ice and snow — plus the unseasonably cold temperatures — is going to go deep this year.

Below is what this same plant looked like on March 5th last year.  Oh, and don’t think we couldn’t have more wintry weather yet this season; you can see more snowy images in the posts I shared of a very late winter storm back on March 30, 2014, both here and here.

Blue hyacinth on my way into work
Central Maryland (March 2016)
Sony RX1R II + Zeiss Sonnar 35/2.0

We checked the local apple and peach orchards — which are within walking distance of our house — and found that the early white peaches were pretty much wiped out… maybe even some of the early yellow peaches as well.  The apple trees bloom later, so they may not be as badly affected.  The flowers, bushes, and trees were all covered by heavy sleet and snow in the neighboring region surrounding us, but just 10 miles north of here they were covered by about a half-inch of fluffy snow, then topped with up to two inches of ice.  Sadly, as bad as it was for us, it’ll be a lot worse for others above the Mason-Dixon line.

Magenta hyacinths in the snow
Central Maryland (March 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM

And what of the cherry blossoms down in DC?  A couple of weeks ago I shared an image from the early blooming indicator tree here, but the majority — some 50+ percent — of the remaining buds and blooms around the Tidal Basin have been devastated by the ice and below-freezing conditions, as you can read here.  So if you were hoping to see them at peak this year, well… you may want to try to get a refund for your air travel and/or lodging.

DC and the National Park Service are trying to paint as bright of a picture as they can, stating that the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin aren’t the only ones in town, that many of the other species that bloom later are still viable, and will be equally pretty to view and enjoy.  But those other trees aren’t in a setting as picturesque as the Tidal Basin, so it remains to be seen what this will do to their March and April tourism figures.

30 thoughts on “Mixed Emotions

  1. sustainabilitea

    I understand your mixed emotions, Mitch. Our daffodils and day lilies, while well up, were nowhere near blooming when the several inches of snow and the five days and nights below freezing arrived. I hope that we’ll be able to enjoy their flowers this year, but we’ll have to wait and see.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Most of the blossoms that were exposed while they were covered in snow have had it, but those not yet blooming appear to be pulling through just fine, at least so far…


  2. Pingback: Mixed Emotions — Exploratorius – Site Title

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Thanks! I may go down to see them again when the remaining blossoms reach peak, but I’m not sure; we have lots of things coalescing into the next several weeks and something will have to give.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      A recommendation for a new camera, eh?

      I truly wish I could recommend the Nikon DL18-50 — which I actually had on order at one point — but Nikon killed their entire DL line of cameras before a single unit had been sold and took an enormous write-off as a result (the April 2016 earthquake in Japan that damaged the Sony sensor factory was the culprit). Also, Nikon is in deep financial trouble at this time, probably the worst in their long illustrious history — so add that to your buying equation.

      It would help to know a little bit more of what you’re looking for, what gear you have already, what subject matter you like to shoot, etc.

      Other camera vendors that you didn’t mention (Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, and Leica) also have good to superb offerings, but I’ll leave them out of this discussion unless you have a specific question about one of them.

      If you’re a Nikon fan and don’t want to lose your investment in the lenses you already have, then the Nikon bodies, the Fuji XT-10, and the Sony alpha line (a7 series, a6000 series, a5000 series, and NEX series) can all use the Nikon glass, although the Fuji and Sony cameras will need a special lens adapter to do so. My brother-in-law let me borrow his manual Nikon glass at one point and I was able to shoot with it on my Sony NEX-5R with no problem at all.

      If you’re a Nikon fan and really like how their cameras handle while shooting with them, then the Fuji cameras should appeal to you, as they spent a lot of time getting the haptics and build quality right (Fuji is highly praised for this in the online forums, while Sony gets a black-eye for their menu driven systems).

      If you’re a Nikon fan and are accustomed to sensors that are great for all around shooting, then the Sony cameras should appeal to you, as they supply many (if not all) of the sensors for Nikon cameras. Fuji sensors have developed a reputation for being especially good with skin tones in people shots (many pros use them specifically for that purpose), but not so much for shooting landscapes and critters. Why is that? The design of the Fuji sensors can result in really weird “squirrely” artifacts when applying heavy post-processing to the images, which Nikon/Sony sensors do not exhibit under the same level of post-processing. That reason alone is enough for me to avoid Fuji, as the image end result is my number one concern and a significant number of my images are heavily post-processed.

      If you are wanting a camera to use primarily for boat and sailing pics, then I would recommend something that has a fairly wide-angle lens, so you can get most of the subject into the frame. For me, that’s a minimum of a 35mm lens, down to as much as a 10mm lens — depending on how I want the final result to look (some people don’t like how ultra-wide-angle images can distort). If you browse my images that are tagged with “sailing” (https://exploratorius.us/tag/sailing/), you’ll see that I really favor the ultra-wide end of the scale.

      My own rig for shooting boats and sailing shots — after several years of testing and comparative analysis — is the Sony a6300 and their 10-18mm lens. I use manual prime 21mm and 50mm lenses for the rest of my images, with an occasional 70-210mm or 560mm shot thrown in for good measure.

      Does that help you at all?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Son of a Sailor

      Mitch, yes this helps. I don’t care about brand, just want a great camera. Was looking at a mirrorless camera, but really don’t care. I will look up the Sony a6300 and the lens right now, thank you for this great article. Not going to buy a Nikon now-


    3. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Here’s info on the Nikon news I mentioned in my prior comment, concerning both the cancellation of the DL series and their “extraordinary loss”: https://www.cinema5d.com/nikon-in-trouble-dl-canceled-loss/

      Here’s some of what I’m talking about with the Fuji X-Trans sensor: https://medium.com/@nevermindhim/x-trans-a-deeper-look-at-the-purple-flare-grid-artifact-567128c167cc#.6bybptv4z

      And here: https://petapixel.com/2017/01/27/x-trans-promise-problem/

      If you want to learn more about that problem, just Google “X-Trans squirrely artifacts”. It’s a polarizing subject for many photographers.

      Here’s the lowdown on the a6300 from DPReview: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-a6300

      And here’s info for the 10-18mm lens: https://www.dpreview.com/products/sony/lenses/sony_e_10-18_4

      If you decide to go with the a6300, I highly recommend that you buy “The Friedman Archives Guide to Sony’s A6300 by Gary L. Friedman”, which will help you get the very utmost out of the camera and shooting like a pro in no time: https://www.friedmanarchives.com/a6300/index.htm

      If you have any questions, just fire away! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. David

    Similarly, we’ve had a fairly easy winter with last major storm at the beginning of February. It’s been extraordinarily dry and have already had numerous red flag days. Today is another high fire danger day, but come late tonight will be winter’s return. But, of course, this how Colorado weather works. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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