Autumnal Swaledale Falls

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Living so close to the Yorkshire Dales there are plenty of opportunities to get out with a camera and hike, especially since moving to a mirrorless system which has enabled me to reduce the wieght and size of my kit. By taking a few prime lenses and a very light and compact tripod I can walk all day.

Swaledale is at the far end of the Dales from where we live and an area less well known to me. However, Fran and I have scouted the rivers in the area years ago when we were keen kayakers, so I had a rough idea of where many of the waterfalls are located, but it was great to find some of the less well known waterfalls during this weekends trip.

I am currently putting together a mini guide to photographing waterfalls in Swaledale which will cover lens focal lengths that we used at the various falls we visited, together with the shutter speeds and the filters we used and time permitting some of the processing tips of the RAW files I edited.

I will also upload a selection of finished images of the waterfalls in the area.



Shooting Action The Old Way

The Samyang 135mm f/2 is a great lens on any of the sony A7 series cameras when photographing things that are static, but i wanted to try and use the lens for fast moving subjects. So, without auto focus, I had to use zone focusing, but on the A7ll or the A7Rl, its not as hard as one would think.

I set the focus peaking level to high and the colour to yellow and by turning the zoom ring I could see a yellow band on the ground, so when a horse entered that area, all I had to do was trigger the shutter. Well it does take a little practice, but it can work very well and this method can create some great images at f/2.

Anyway, here are some samples of images that I did get right at Osberton Horse Trials. The panned shot is not razor sharp, but its passable.

So, if you are looking for a fast lens with nice reach at a very reasonable price, the Samyang 135mm f/2 is certainly worth a look and if you shoot Sony, the focus peaking and magnify really help.

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A Unique Portrait Lens, The Samyang 135mm f/2 For Sony A7 Series


A few months ago I purchased a Sony A6000, after a month of using the A6000 I decided to sell all of my Pentax Kit and go Mirrorless with Sony. With the release of the Sony A7Rll, I have everything I need to meet my photography needs and started looking a new lenses and focal lengths, and the Samyang 135mm f/2 really caught my eye.

The 135mm focal length is excellent for a wide range of applications regardless of the brand of camera one uses, so when I read that Samyang produced this lens in E mount and seeing a great offer on one, a order had to be placed.

After having read some reviews and seeing some examples of what the Samyang 135mm f/2 lens could produce, I was eager to attach one to my Sony A7ll.

Although the lens is manual focus only, using focus peaking and the focus magnify feature on the A7ll makes focusing a breeze, so nailing focus is a lot easier than on a DSLR. After taking a few images outside in the garden and in the street, it did not take long to see just how sharp this lens is, even at f/2, the backgrounds just melted away when shooting wide open and created the look I was after.

I had to wait a few weeks before I had the chance to use the lens for a portrait, but when a musician offered to bring along a few musical instruments to a local park on a late Sunday evening I got thinking about how I could use the lens and some of the images I might be able to create.

I have two Cactus RF60 flash’s and a few Cactus V6 triggers and a selection of various other flash’s, so I decided to pack these into the camera bag, together with a soft silver Westcott Umbrella and head to a local park.

I knew I wanted to shoot at f/2, so I took a few ambient light meter readings and then matched the flash power to f/2. I then just played around with the shutter speed to control the ambient light to create the look I wanted

Anyway here is one of the images I produced with the Samyang 135mm lens and using two flash’s off camera balancing the ambient with flash, which I think shows what can be achieved.

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RAW Image converted in Lightroom, with some highlight and shadow adjustments made, together with HSL slider adjustments. Some basic image processes via Photoshop.

the body of the Samyang 135mm f/2 is plastic. However, it’s is extremely sturdy and has a good feel to it. However, if you are looking for Zeiss quality, you will need to pay Zeiss prices, although optically the Samyang 135mm is far from budget in terms of the images it can produce and gives the Nikon & Canon 135mm lenses a run for their money.

Being a manual focus lens only, the focusing ring is huge, pleasingly grippy, and rotates with a good level of smoothness. The images this lens can produce in relation to its price are remarkable, so if you are looking for a great portrait prime lens on a budget, the Samyang is clearly unique in how it performs in relation to its price.

Drawn By Light

Bradford Media Museum From the 20th March 2015

You can see some of the earliest known photographic images, dating back to the 1820s, as well as work by pioneers of photography such as Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron, shown alongside contemporary works by some of today’s most influential figures, such as Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill, Martin Parr and Steve McCurry.