Another orchid

I’ve been taking pictures of this orchid off and on for ages, but I never seem to get it quite to my satisfaction: either the lens isn’t right; or I miss that the background is too cluttered; or the exposure is off; or it’s not sharp enough.

This time I took a few pictures and then noticed that I had failed to spot that the window frame was intruding into the picture. How do I avoid this?: move a foot or so to the left and get down much lower (I was taking the pictures at eye level). So that is what I did even though my creaky old legs rebelled a bit at the idea.

I prefer this shot to any of the others.

Taken with a Sony NEX 5N and Minolta MD 50mm f1.4.

Minolta MD 50mm f1.4

I’ve said many times before that my first real camera was a Minolta Hi-Matic 7sii compact rangefinder. For a while I used a Canon SLR (AE-1), but when it came to switch to digital after a period using Canon and Panasonic compact digital cameras, I turned initially to a Konica/Minolta Maxxum DSLR (5D) and when Minolta got out of the camera business, to a Sony Alpha 500. So I’m a bit biased. I’ve always had a fondness for Minolta cameras, and particularly for their lenses. It should be no surprise then that when I started using legacy lenses (with an appropriate adapter) on my Sony NEX 5N, Minolta lenses were among the first I considered.

I particularly like this one. It feels good in the hand. Solid, but not unduly heavy. It’s also quite compact.

The aperture ring clicks nicely and the focus is smooth and precise. Minimum focusing distance is 1.5ft.

It’s very good optically with seven elements in six groups providing superb contrast and resolution. I love the out of focus areas (I hate the world bokeh). I didn’t notice any significant chromatic aberration and the only flare that was apparent was when shooting directly into the sun.

I think mine cost about $50, which is terrific value for money

I use mine with an inexpensive adapter on my Sony NEX 5N where it’s the equivalent of a 75mm lens.

For a more extensive review see: Minolta 50mm f1.4 – the Ultimate Standard Legacy Lens on Casual Photophile.

For some pictures I’ve taken with this lens see:

Heron Statues
Abandoned Shacks
Thousand Lotus Terrace
Williams Burial Plot


We’ve had some nice, warm, sunny weather on occasion lately, but it’s largely been grim: chilly, often windy, cloudy, rainy etc. The leaves are not yet back on the trees and we’re supposed to get some more snow tomorrow, and – possibly even more next week. So to offset the gloom I thought I’d post something with a bit of color.

We had some people over the other day and after the cooking and cleaning my wife went out to get some flowers and came back with these tulips. I was very impressed by the colors.

Taken with a Sony Nex 5N and Minolta MD 50mm f1.4 lens.

Abandoned shacks

I’ve often noticed these ramshackle wooden shacks just off Route 301 between the Taconic State Parkway and Carmel, NY. I’ve also often thought that we should stop and take some pictures, but until now I haven’t done so.

There are three of them and I don’t know what they are/were or why they’re there. So far haven’t been able to find any additional information.

While taking a picture of the first shack above I decided that I might get a better shot if I was the other side of a stone wall. Unfortunately the only way to get to the other side was to climb over the wall. As I was doing so one of the stones turned under my foot. Luckily it didn’t fall on any part of my anatomy as it was a rather large stone. It did, however, twist my toe, which made walking painful for about a week and rather curtailed my photographic activities.

The view from the other side with the offending wall in the foreground. Unfortunately the picture is not too sharp. I was using an old Minolta manual focus lens and since I was in a fair bit of pain at the time I guess I wasn’t concentrating enough on getting the focus right.

Heron Statues

I’m not even sure that these are herons – I’m not really that good on birds. My instinctive reaction was to think that they were cranes, but then I started to rethink. They’re in a friend’s garden. His house is situated right next to and slightly above a wetlands area. I was sitting with him one day when I noticed that at that time of day the sun was going down and highlighting the trees on the other side of the wetlands. This caused the statues to be silhouetted. I didn’t have a camera with me at the time, but not long afterwards I was back again – this time with my trusty camera.

I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted: a bright background that I would throw out of focus with strongly silhouetted statues standing against it. However, when I came to edit the pictures I changed my view slightly. I didn’t like the statues being totally black and instead decided to try and lighten some of the details. I like the rather wild out of focus areas though.

My friend tells me that the two statues are actually fountains and are even connected to a water supply. He finds the water pouring out to be rather “cheesy” and so never turns it on.

The pictures were taken with a Sony Nex 5N and Minolta 50mm MD f1.4