A wide angle lens capturers the massive Hawaii Mars waterbomber in drydock on a sunny February day. The lens allows a photographer to maneuvre in tight spaces such as the Coulson Flying Tankers yard.

DIGI-PIXELS: Photographer discovers small lens comes in handy

Photo columnist smiles when he sees other shooters with long, heavy lenses, knowing his wide angle and 2X converter will do the trick.

Hello, loyal readers. I am writing this column without using a keyboard.

My MacBook Pro now has the new Mountain Lion operating system which comes with the application “Dictation”. This program allows me to speak into a microphone and the good old Mac writes what I say onto the page.

I found out from Andrew (my neighbour) that there is a similar program in Windows 7, called “Windows Speech Recognition”. The more I think I know about computers the more I realize that it could be a lifelong endeavour.

My sister and her husband were traveling by car from Montreal to California. They stopped over in Port Alberni and decided to stay for with us for two weeks. This was mid-February; what is there to do in Port Alberni in February?

Fortunately, Lady Rose Marine Services had a special on for the month of February: $25 per person round trip aboard the MV Frances Barkley to Bamfield. We lined up with about 100 people to board the Frances Barkley, most of them carrying big expensive Canon and Nikon cameras with long telephoto lenses and tripods. I had my trusty Nikon D300 S equipped with an 18-70 mm lens, and in my pocket I had a Tamron 2X converter that I thought I would slip on if I needed a longer 140 mm lens.

Using the 2X converter on my 18-70 mm lens, I would lose two f-stops: therefore the aperture would change from f4.0 to f8. To make up for losing the two f-stops I boosted the ISO up to 800 from 200.

Off we went, me with my camera and lens combination that is easy to shoot.Using the wide-angle lens I could shoot people on board and interesting situations in the restaurant downstairs while the other photographers could not because of their long lens.

Another wonderful trip on the Francis Barkley.

The next day we took my touristas down to Harbour Quay to admire the scenery, and the new breakwater pier. Later in the day we went out to Coulson Flying Tankers, home of the Martin Mars water bombers, where we saw signs proclaiming no admittance, no visiting, no touristas, verboten. However the gate was open so we just went in, strolled around and took photos of these gigantic, wonderful flying machines.

Once again my wide-angle lens serve me in good stead as I went around taking photos in tight places.

There were no other places for tourists to look at or enjoy in Port Alberni: Naesgaard’s Farm Market was closed, the steam mill was closed, there was no train—so we took them to Nanaimo to the Crow & Gate Pub to have a typical English pub lunch.

A few days later we went to Qualicum Beach where we had a great time strolling on the beach even though a light rain was falling.

Back to the main drag walking up and down looking at the stores followed by another wonderful lunch, this time at Gary’s Bistro.

What happened to the hundred or so tourists that were on the boat with us: where did they go afterwards? With nothing open for tourists, Port Alberni was the loser that time.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net or see me online at www.silverstonephotos.com.

 

Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in Port

Alberni.