Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Only the penitent man shall pass…

I spent the other day roaming the back roads between Berlin and Dresden and, believe it or not, I shot only two sets of brackets the whole trip.  And you know what? It felt great to just enjoy the scenery for once.  I need to do that more often; quite liberating, I must admit. Here is a great old church I found on a country road in former East German, not too far from Dresden.

Rumblin’ down the track…

Had a little time to hit the road today in search of some new and interesting brackets.  Man, was that fun!  Totally care free, with no particular photographic subject.  Just out and about enjoying the great weather, and keeping my eyes peeled for something cool.  On one of the many back-roads I explored, I happened across this old abandoned rail yard.  Jackpot!!  In an effort to get a little creative, I ended up climbing under one of the freight cars to shoot this shot.  I think the fisheye lens worked well for this one, as I wanted to get an interesting look from below.  While working on this shot  I listened to ‘Mystery Train’, as performed by Junior Wells, and as Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Downbound Train’.  Great tunes!

Something fishy this way comes

So last night I was working on the photograph for today’s post, while chilin’ to some ambient tunes on one of my favorite streaming Radio Stations, 12XII:IIX12 Relaxation 24/7, on iTunes Radio.  When I was done with my post processing, I reached out to my good friend Bob Lussier to see if he thought the shot was worthy of posting on my blog, or whether it was… crap; luckily he gave his seal of approval, or it would never have made it into the public domain.  Thanks, Bob!  As luck would have it, Bob noted that he had a similar shot he was working on (is he my long lost twin?), so we decided to post both of our shots at the same time, on our respective sites.  You can see Bob’s fishy goodness by clicking here.  It’s no wonder he is affectionately known as the Stair Whisperer!

Above all

This chapel, upon the hallowed grounds of the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, above the beaches of Omaha, was one of the most beautiful chapels I had ever seen.  Because it was a very small space, and because of the circular architecture, I chose my fisheye lens to photograph it.

Everything but the kitchen sink!!

I don’t know about you all, but I have WAY TOO MUCH camera gear! Ask my wife if you don’t believe me!  And, sometimes, I think it really weighs me down, not just in terms of the weight I lug around with me to an URBEX shoot, but also creatively.  Far too often, I often end up with six or seven lenses in the bag, in addition to my Nikon D700 dSLR, though I rarely use more than three lenses on any trip.  So why drag it all along?  Perhaps it’s because, thinking back to my years as a Boy Scout, I’ve always got to be prepared for absolutely anything? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Truth of the matter, though, is that I’ve found myself far more creative on those trips where I take fewer lenses, which I had hoped to do today.

Today was the day I had intended to do just that, but again I took too much.  And, as expected, I really only used two lenses, for the most part: my URBEX workhorses, the Nikkor 24mm f/3.5 PC-E (tilt-shift) and my Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8.  I have to admit, though, that I was glad I brought along my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Macro Lens (great lens!), as a came back with a great shot of some tiny morphine ampules (still full) I’ll post in the next few days or so.  I also had my Sigma 50mm 1.4 along, which I mounted once, composed with, but did not shoot, as well as my Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 fisheye (which also did not clear leather today).  Were I to do this again next week, I’d probably  pare down to four lenses, leaving the fisheye and macro lenses at home (but dang they’re so small, it’s easier to just take them anyway!).  Lenses aside, I have some essentials that are always in my Domke F-2 Ruggedwear shooter’s bag when I’m on URBEX these days, including: my Gitzo GT-1541T Traveler 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod, a Really Right Stuff BH-40 LRII ballhead, a Promote Systems Remote Control, an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, a Surefire G2 LED Flashlight, a Petzyl Tikka XP2 Headlamp, a Leatherman Wave tool, two cell phones, a GPS and chalk (to mark ingress/egress routes in unfamiliar buildings (basements, tunnels, etc.).  And, believe it or not, it ALL (minus tripod and ballhead) fits in the aforementioned Domke F-2!  Sweet!  Like I said, everything but the kitchen sink!  What do you take on URBEX?

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