This week we tried out a new vehicle we purchased while spending the winter in Nice.
There's not much photographic to say about the pretty little Prius except she drives like nothing I've ever driven before, and we've already had a Prius when we lived in Portland. The new version is a Dream Ship. Nothing I've ever driven is as smooth, quiet, nor as well integrated as this. She's a "keeper." It's how we will get around Europe and into the hard to find places.
We have friends who were here in Nice at the same time we were and we'd promised to drive them to Eze to see the jardin exotique that sits at the very top of a huge granite spike.
The only problem was that I'd only driving the Prius once or twice and it'd been at least 9 years since I'd driven on a regular basis. This would be our first trip out and about, or "off leash", as it were. We decided a reconnaissance trip was in order to get the nerves settled and to check out the "lay of the land." We did this the day before we were to meet our friends.
Just before reaching the village of Eze from Nice there is a nice scenic turnout. Turnout we did and I picked up the Sony NEX-7/16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS and made a few images.
When I got home I realized that some of them were slightly soft. What had I done? Was the lens OK? Was something out of alignment? What photographic madness had befallen me?
After thinking for a few moments and slapping my forehead a couple times to get the neurons firing again I realized that I'd done myself in.
This otherwise wonderful image is slightly out of focus. Ugh.
The old fortress at the top of the hill is the high
point of the jardin exotique.
After two years of photographing "stuff" using manual focus lenses, I decided I liked choosing my focus point and then to re-frame a scene to take a photo. In the case of the Zeiss 16-70mm I would set the autofocus in a certain way.
Early Sony NEX cameras have the nasty habit of focusing on a background, particularly if it is contrastier than a subject/object that is closer to the camera. It took me a long time to realize what was going on and even longer to find an adequate autofocus "work around."
My Sony NEX-7 is set up to use the smallest focus point and to activate the back button to perform the autofocus at a very specific point. I know where I want the point of focus and the camera had to learn to trust me, event if I had to beat it into submission.
What I'd done at the turnout was set the focus the first time, and then forgot to focus just before making other images. Silly me, I'd gotten out of the "manual focus" back button autofocus habit. Of course I meant to refocus each time, but I'd simply forgotten to hit the back button focus before hitting the shutter release.
The next day was clear and even more glorious. Our drive to Eze with our friends was quick and easy. We visited the jardin and walked around the medieval village. As I made photographs I forced myself to remember to hit the back button focus before each and every image.
This time when I got home all of my images were properly focused. Not lens problems. No pilot errors. Just plain "goodness."
I really hate making mistakes, particularly after I'd deliberately set the camera up to behave in a specific way. It's a good thing I don't do this for a living.
Here is an album of photos from the trip.