Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Photographic reflections from shoot
at Umstead State Park, N. Carolina

Returning to North Carolina a week before Christmas was unplanned, and it wasn't a trip for leisure or vacationing. Unlike the trip to the coast this summer, December's excursion ended in the town of Cary, which is within the noted high-tech research triangle anchored by North Carolina State and Duke universities and the University of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill).

But there was a sunny day -- Dec. 21 -- when I had a chance to indulge in some leisure photography. I ended up at William B. Umstead State Park, just northeast of Cary. I was going for proximity, and it fit the bill nicely.

The park has three lakes, and I ended up along Sycamore Road and trail, whose parking lot was a few hundred yards from Sycamore Lake. The images in this post were taken in that afternoon outing, when foot traffic was quite minimal ... and the lake still as can be. It allowed for some wonderful reflection compositions, a few shots of the many abandoned (and unlivable) cabins dotting the grounds and a closeup of a bird's nest.

I used my Canon 6D equipped with the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD VC lens for the shoot. Some of you may recall my many posts on how Tamron's piezoelectric drive (PZD) and vibration compensation (VC) technology on this and its small-sensor counterpart, the 18-270mm, which I've used on my Canon 7D for several years now, is of such high-quality that users enjoy high incidence of sharp photos when hand-holding the camera even while bracketing exposures for high-dynamic range (HDR) treatment in post-processing.

Despite this, as it turned out, most of my time at Umstead was spent in the late afternoon, so I was needing to find light (and maintain steadiness) more so than usual, and I found myself wishing I'd have brought along my faster Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens for some of the wide-angle shots. I ended up compensating by boosting the ISO, which I normally don't do when shooting for HDR treatment. I did this time, however, and I'll let you be the judge.

A full gallery of images from the shoot can be found at my site at SmugMug.