A personal trip to the West Coast to chase Hummingbirds, Rough Shorelines, Fishing Boats, Light Houses & Elephant Seals!
Yes, it has been a busy year with the start of our workshop schedule! Add into that a knee operation, taxes and other such negative aspects to life we decided that it was time to take a break! So, for 2 perfect weeks we ventured out to the San Fransisco area to explore the rough West Coast!
I know that it has been a long time since I did a post here but the workshop and teaching schedule has been brutal. It seems as quick as one year ends that another begins and we are busy again! The good news is that the photo schools are moving along and this years workshops are moving forward. I have had NOT had any time to work in the darkroom this year yet but hope to fix that soon as well. Plus the knee repair is finished and I am starting to feel a little better after that!
So, we decided to take a break from it all and flee to the West Coast to get lost in the rough shore, wildlife and the continued search for old fishing boats! It was a wonderful trip and I am sorry to say that it is all over and done with but with great photographic results!
This trip was centered on the new Sony A7rii 42 mpex camera body. As you know I am a dedicated mirrorless shooter and in my quest for the perfect camera I have settled on this system. It has amazing functionality, SUPER wide dynamic range (14) and a review from DXO as the best and most advanced image sensor ever tested! I also added the Sony/Zeiss 24-70 f/4, the Sony 70-200 G f/4 and the Tamron 150-600 A lens with the Sony adapter which allows full lens control and auto focus. I also have adapter for all of my Leica and Contax glass as well but for this trip it is the 3 lenses listed above!
We based our home plate in San Jose and then traveled around for the 2 weeks. Spend most of our time in Santa Cruz because the hummingbirds were there in vast numbers building nests and laying eggs, but more on that later. We also went north to Point Reyes specifically to photograph the wrecked fishing boat Point Reyes. But while there spent time with the lighthouse and Elephant Seals!
We also went south to Monterey for whale watching and a trip along the 17 mile drive! The image above is from the Lone Cyprus along the drive. The drive costs $10 per car but is very much worth the cost. It is full of wildlife such as birds, deer and seals. The rugged coast has to be seen to be believed!
So then this image I am sharing above is the Point Reyes, a boat washed ashore a while ago. This boat was suggested to me by my friend Jennifer Hunter who lives in Santa Cruz and was one of my main location visit requirements. This is in a National Sea Shore North of San Fransisco and was about a 3 hour drive from San Jose.
The WEEK we arrived this boat was burned on its stern by a STUPIDLY UNCARING PHOTOGRAPHER who put his own agenda above the preservation of the scene. He was doing spark photography with flaming steel wool and destroyed the back. I hope that the Federal Government (National Park) throws the book at him for this. I feel very lucky to have walked away with this wonderful shot of this local landmark…
Also visited was the Point Reyes Lighthouse! What a wonderful subject and location. It is high on a cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean. It is full of color, depth and wonder!
So as you can see, I have LOTS of time to relax and shoot with the new Sony system. To say that it is an amazing system is an understatement of Biblical proportion! All of the lenses are flawless and gave great results!
But Wait! I have not shared my several trips to the Arboretum at the University of Santa Cruz! There were hundreds of Allen’s and Anna’s humming birds there deep into the fury of mating season! They were amazing subjects and since I did NOT bring along my hummingbird flash setup I was forced to shoot the “bird on a stick” portraits. Still, the results were stunning. ALL of these shots were taken on the Tamron 150-600mm A mount lens with the Sony A to E adapter. Yes, it did and would auto focus, but with the birds against the green vegetation it had a difficult time picking them out to focus on.
So I shifted to manual focus (yes I said manual…) with white focus peaking. To say that I was stunned at the ease of focusing with this at high speed still leaves me breathless with wonder!
The Sony manual focus with peaking is simply the BEST manual focus system that I have EVER used! It was fast and DEAD ON…
I will let the results speak for them selves…
I hope that you enjoyed this update and info on the new Sony system. Please let me know what you think!
Hi Mark, I enjoyed your images with a special purpose, as I am going to Big Sur in 2 weeks with my new a7rll and my new, yet unused Tamron 150-600. Which adapter did you use, the 3 or the 4? I have gotten conflicting answers so far, but from people who have not actually used it.
Thanks Ross, it is an amazing little camera. I use the 3 A to E adapter. It works great and is the one you need. What other lenses are you getting?
I have the 70-200, the 55 1.8, and the Zeiss 25 2.0. Received my Tamron 150-600 today. I’m thinking about getting the macro also. I took the 1st 3 to Cuba with me last month. Used them all. I have posted a few pictures on FB
Great! I have the 150-600, the 24-70 f/4 Zeiss, the 70-200G. For macro I have the Contax/Zeiss 100mm but the Sony 90 is world class and you will not go wrong with it. I also have an adapter for all of my Leica glass and usually carry 2 of those with me in the bag.
I REALLY LIKE the 24-70, is is small, light and super sharp!
Mark,re you comment about the 24-70. I have read somewhere that Sony is coming/already has come out with a new 24-70 as the old one had problems. I think it is a 2.8. If you had to do it over again would you still get the zeiss or would you get the new Sony 24-70 2.8?
Yes Ross, they came out with a 2.8 but the thing is HUGE and heavy! I have great results with my f/4! So no, I would not buy the faster one!
Thanks, that helps, as always!
Mark, Love your work with your new system. Many thanks for all the good details. I’ve been this route in the past with a 4×5 system. Remember, 2 sheets per film holder. You did a beautiful job with the new Sony.
Thanks Steve, loved the trip and camera. I was going to take a 4×5 just didn’t have the room this time!
This is a voice from the past (an Outer Banks Workshop). Great work, but those who know you would have never expected anything less. Last year I too moved on to the Sony system with the a7rII and all its zooms plus the 55 1.8 and 90mm macro. I just came back from 3 weeks on the Island of Vieques off Porto Rico where I continued to use the Sony extensively. Try as I might, I never have been able to get the colors just right for sunrises and sunsets. If you are getting accurate colors at those times, I would like to speak to you.
Nice to hear from you Bob! Not a single camera that I have that shoots raw has proper colors right out the the camera. I takes me about 30 seconds to fix that in post processing after raw conversion. Take a look at the Santa Cruz Lighthouse sunset image in the post. My results match what I saw during the image capture!